Last week, the California Chamber of Commerce came out with its annual list of Job Killer bills. In putting together this list, the Chamber wanted to call attention to the negative impact these 21 bills have on the state’s job climate and economy should they become law. But are Californians even aware of many of these bills?
I took this list of 21 bills and did a quick Google “news” category search for each bill on Tuesday, April 15, 2018. I plugged in the name of the bill and the bill’s sponsor. In a few cases, I plugged in key words like “single-payer” or “California” just to narrow the search. I know my little project wasn’t exactly scholarly or scientific, since there’s no guarantee that Google’s search engine was able to catch all the news items. So while I admit it’s not perfect, still, no one does Search better than Google.
The results? Three bills received 95 percent of the coverage. Sixteen of the 21 bills got media hits in the single digits. Half received only one hit or no media coverage at all according to my Google news search. These bills could kill tens of thousands of California jobs, and for the most part, the media is hardly covering them.
What got all the attention? The top three were SB 562, the single-payer health care bill; SB 49, the bill that allows California agencies to adopt regulations on environmental standards that could “trump” federal rules – pun very much intended; and ACA 22, a constitutional amendment that raises the corporate sales tax to a whopping 18.84 percent.
I asked my colleague Tim Anaya, an 18-year veteran of the California legislature in various communications positions, what he thought about all this. He told me that drama and intrigue always make good copy, not the nuts and bolts analysis of the merits of bills. I would have to agree. None of the top three bills are likely to pass – they are too extreme or too expensive even for many California legislators. But Trump v. California does make for lively reading. Meantime, 18 job-killing bills are lurking in the halls of the Capitol, and if not for the attention brought on by the Chamber, some might sail through passage without the knowledge of most Californians.
Rowena Itchon is Senior Vice President of the Pacific Research Institute