MAY 2015 – President’s Article by Geoff Bonney

President Geoff BonneyTime for an update on a few legislative items we are tracking here at the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.  First off is the ongoing saga of ADA related lawsuits.  At the beginning of the year there were two assembly bills, 52 and 54, that were yet another attempt to curb the frivolous lawsuits.  Unfortunately AB 52 was pulled from Committee by its author Assembly Member Gray.  AB 52 proposed to allow time to remove accessibility barriers and reduce the maximum dollar amount awarded a plaintiff.  The second bill, AB 54, allows for a 60 day grace period to make modifications, but only for violations resulting from code changes in the last 3 years.  It also has a tax credit provision for businesses who hire a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) to evaluate their property.  This will be in addition to an existing tax credit for addressing construction related accessibility code violations.  AB 54 has passed through the Committee on Revenue and Taxation and is on its way to the Judiciary Committee.

SB 8 is the bill proposing significant modifications to the state tax system, including a sales tax on professional services.  The bill has passed the Governance and Finance Committee (no surprise since the committee is chaired by the bill’s author) and is now waiting review by the Rules Committee.  We are tracking this one closely, waiting for the best times to voice our opposition to the services tax portion of the bill.

AB 463 is a relatively new one.  The bill will require pharmaceutical companies to file financial reports related to more expensive drugs.  This will apply to drugs costing more than $10,000 annually or per treatment.  After some discussion, the Redlands Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to support this bill.  Since public money is often used to subsidize expensive medical treatments, it is important that costs associated with developing and producing the drugs are made available to help prevent price gouging.  In many cases a new lifesaving medication is available from only one company.  This bill has been referred to the Health Committee for review.

Congratulations to those of you who managed to stay awake through all this