California Bills Designed to Turn Back the Will of the Voters Reach Gov. Jerry Brown’s Desk

1 September 19, 2011  School Construction, State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

With two of the three bills designed to kill California voters’ rebellion against project labor agreements (PLAs) reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk on Friday afternoon, this is a good opportunity to again urge Gov. Brown to veto this obvious and appalling handout to Big Labor.

This is also a good opportunity to review the numerous times that California media availed itself of the opportunity to can the entire package.

For those not following this issue, California State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez changed two bills unrelated to construction or labor issues and through a “Gut and Amend” process, transformed them into vehicles to overturn the will of both local elected officials and taxpayers in a number of communities throughout the state.

The legislative leadership took a bill about tuberculosis screening (Senate Bill 922) on the Friday before Labor Day and turned it into a bill that nullifies current and future bans on PLA mandates by local governments and cuts off state funds for charter cities that ban government-mandated PLAs.

Two other bills were amended at the last minute and without much public scrutiny to meet Big Labor’s demands.  The first, A.B. 436, requires certain local governments to pay fees to the state for labor compliance, unless these governments require their construction contractors to sign a PLA, in which case they don’t have to pay the fees to the state.

Another, S.B. 790, includes an unrelated tack-on provision that allows utilities to pass through to ratepayers the costs of mandatory payments in PLAs to Labor-Management Cooperative Committees, mysterious and unaccountable slush funds authorized by an obscure federal law from 1978.

These bills are designed to undercut the eight California communities to ban PLA mandates on taxpayer funded projects.  Several of these communities adopted these bans through ballot initiatives that were overwhelmingly approved.

Here at, we urge Gov. Brown to veto these bills.  That is pretty obvious.  But we aren’t the only ones.  State and local media has covered these, and other bad bills on their way to the governor’s desk, extensively.  It turns out that other people are concerned about some of the garbage coming from the California Legislature also.


(Cartoon Credit: Bakersfield Californian)


Here is a round-up of media coverage on this issue:

News Media Coverage of Senate Bill 922 Since Passage in the California Legislature:

1.      Raft of labor-backed bills are a challenge for Jerry Brown– Sacramento Bee – September 12, 2011; in Fresno Bee – September 13, 2011

2.      Bills that Need to be Vetoed – Modesto Bee (editorial) – September 12, 2011

3.      EDITORIAL: Meet the boss – North County Times (editorial) – September 13, 2011

4.      Not every bill warrants that signature – Merced Sun-Star (editorial) – September 13, 2011

5.      Four bills need Gov. Brown’s veto– Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, other San Francisco Bay Area local newspapers (editorial) – September 13, 2011

6.      Brown Ought to Use His Veto Pen Without Mercy – Sacramento Bee (editorial) – September 13, 2011

7.      Follow the Yellow Brick – September 14, 2011

8.      FORUM: Legislature cares little about local control – North County Times (powerful opinion piece by Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern about his personal experience at the state capitol opposing Senate Bill 922) – September 15, 2011

9.      Late amends leave advocates punched in the gut – Capitol Weekly – September 15, 2011

10.   Proposed legislation could cost cities millions – North County Times – September 11, 2011

11.    California Legislators: Gut and Amend is Gutless and Abusive – California Political Review – September 14, 2011

12.     Brown would be wise to veto many of the bills before him – Fresno Bee (editorial) – September 15, 201

13.     600 bills on Jerry’s desk – Sacramento Bee – September 17, 2011

14.     Senseless Bills – Riverside Press-Enterprise (editorial) – September 17, 2011

15.    Four Bills the Governor Should Veto – Woodland Daily Democrat – September 16, 2011

16.    Four for Brown’s veto pen – Vallejo Times-Herald – September 18, 2011

17.   New Initiative Sets Stage for Latest Labor, Business Battle – – September 21, 2001

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