And the Bills Just Keep on Coming

CalTrade Report, CA
March 10 2004

And the Bills Just Keep on Coming…
California Senate, Assembly bills cover a broad spectrum of
trade-related activities

SACRAMENTO – 03/10/04 – A juggernaut of trade-related legislation is
ponderously clanking a path through California’s Democrat-controlled
legislature as Sacramento continues to re-define its role as a trade
facilitator and promoter in a post-recall environment of dramatically
reduced budgets and a new Republican governor at the helm.

With the mismanaged and now-defunct California Technology, Trade &
Commerce Agency a bitter memory and the state’s overseas trade
offices shuttered, Sacramento is taking a fresh look at the impact
global business has on the state’s economy and what part, if any, it
should play in positioning the state in the global business arena.

On the Senate side, almost a dozen bills covering a broad range of
issues from promoting agricultural exports and tourism to trade
promotion and maritime security are up for consideration, while the
Assembly is pondering legislation affecting port congestion,
environmental controls, export development, and food labeling among

A sampling from the Senate and the Assembly…

SB 1261 is a wide-sweeping, generic bill sponsored by Sen. John
Vasconcellos (13th District) that would provide that the Department
of Food and Agriculture “is the primary state agency for the
promotion of California agriculture, fish, and forest exports, and
for the administration of federal-state export programs for those
products;” mandate that the Business, Transportation and Housing
Agency fill a similar role “with respect to foreign investment,
international public infrastructure projects, and support for
California businesses in accessing international markets.

The bill also directs that the state Air Resources Agency and the
California Environmental Protection Agency assume the mantle of
promoting “the international exchange of environmental protection
technologies and the promotion of the transfer of environmental
technology to and from the state.”

Authored by Sen. Jackie Spier (8th District), SB 1390 – the
California Tourism Marketing Act – would budget at least $7.3 million
a year to establish a California Travel and Tourism Commission “for
the purpose of increasing the number of persons traveling to and
within the state.” The bill stipulates that the appropriation for the
Commission would be appropriated from the General Fund.

SB 1453 “would require any employer that outsources jobs that would
result in the replacement of 20 or more workers in California to, not
less than 60 days before the employer enters into a contract with a
contractor or subcontractor located outside the United States to
perform the outsourced job functions, give written notice of the
contract to the Employment Development Department and the employees
based in California whose jobs would be affected by the outsourcing.”

The bill was authored by Sen. Liz Figueroa (10th District).

Sen. Betty Karnette, a Democrat whose 27th District encompasses much
of the region adjacent to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, is
the author of SB 1837 which would establish an Office of Trade
Promotion in the Governor’s office “to serve as the state’s primary
resource and focal point for all trade-related activities and
inquiries” and “to faclitate collaboration among organizations that
can provide complementary trade services.” The bill stipulates that
the proposed Trade Promotion Office would be funded from existing
resources in the Governor’s Office.

The most controversial bill – SB 1857 – is an attempt to resurrect
the state’s shuttered network of overseas trade promotion offices. It
calls for the establishment of a California trade promotion office in
Yerevan, Armenia, and authorizes the Secretary of Business,
Transportation, and Housing to “accept private sector moneys made to
the state for the purposes of promoting international trade and
investment, subject to specific conditions.”

The bill – authored by Sen Dennis Hollingsworth (36th District) –
“would declare the intent of the Legislature to provide for trade and
international trade offices on behalf of the state through
public-private partnerships.”

On the Assembly side…

Bay Area Democrat Leland Yee (12th District), seen by some as the
Assembly’s new “flag bearer” on trade-related issues, is the author
of AB 2411, a broad-based bill “that would state the intent of the
Legislature to enact legislation to create and maintain relevant
organizational structures and procedures to support the
implementation and growth of international trade and investment in

Yee’s AB 2524 would “enact” the California Export Development
Corporation (CEDC) law and add provisions to establish the CEDC in
the Business Transportation and Housing Agency. The bill would also
authorize the guarantee of loans by the Corporation through the Small
Business Loan Guarantee Program.

Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (5th District) is the author of several
bills currently before the Assembly that could significantly impact
the movement of goods in and out of California’s deep-water ports.

His AB 2041 would establish an as-yet undetermined charge for the
“privilege” of transporting cargo by commercial motor vehicle into or
out of the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach between the
hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, inclusive, Monday through Friday,
inclusive. All revenues derived from the imposition of the charge
would be deposited in a so-called Congestion Management Fund “and
expended to fund certain projects to help alleviate congestion caused
by scheduling shipments by commercial motor vehicles during the
specified hours.”

Lowenthal’s AB 2042 would “require that the Port of Long Beach and
the Port of Los Angeles ensure that all future growth at each port
will have a zero-net increase in air pollution,” while AB 2043 would
compel the state’s ports to contribute “an unspecified amount of
money” annually to fund a Maritime Port Strategic Master Plan Task
Force tasked with approving ports’ development plans.

Assemblyman Keith Richman’s AB 1911 “requires the Governor to
instruct the Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing to
establish, on a contract basis, an international trade and investment
office in Israel,” while AB 2206, authored by Assemblyman Marco
Firebaugh (50th District), would “require the Secretary, to the
extent that sufficient non-state funds are available…to develop a
statewide collaborative alliance of public / private sector trade
development organizations to achieve specified international trade
and investment purposes…”

The bill would also authorize the establishment of representative
offices in foreign locations “subject to the availability of
sufficient non-state funds for that purpose.”

AB 2887 – authored by Democrat Jenny Oropeza (55th District) – would
require the Governor to notify the Legislature “subsequent to signing
any document involving a foreign government.”

Under existing law, the Governor is the “sole official organ of
communication” between the government of the state and any other
state or of the United States.”