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Ambassador of the Month Archive

Senate Leader Announces Committee Assignments for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session

Thursday, January 03, 2019

California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), has announced the Senate’s leadership positions and committee assignments for the 2019-2020 legislative session, which reconvenes on January 7. Designated committee chairs and vice chairs will be formally adopted by the Senate when it reconvenes. Senate Leadership Positions Senator Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Senate Majority Leader. Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Assistant Majority Leader. Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Majority Whip. Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Scott D. Wiener (D-San Francisco), Assistant Majority Whips. Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Democratic Caucus Chair.   Standing Committees Agriculture Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), Chair. Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), Vice Chair. Appropriations Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-La...
CalChamber Poll: Optimism on Jobs, Anxiety over Cost of Living

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

California voters are feeling better about the economy, but are still anxious about the cost of living, according to the recently released 2018 CalChamber Poll. Nearly two-thirds of voters say that more new jobs have been created where they live, up steadily from just 43 percent in 2015. Job increases have been noticed in every region of the state, including inland California. In addition to more new jobs overall, voters statewide say that most of the jobs being created lead to higher pay, as opposed to being dead-end jobs. A majority of residents in every region of the state, except the Inland...
State-Run Retirement Savings Plan Gets OK; Mandatory Enrollment Coming in 2020

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

California employers that don’t already offer a workplace retirement savings vehicle will be required to either begin offering one via the private market or provide their employees access to CalSavers, a state-run retirement savings plan, as early as June 2020. The CalSavers pilot program is open for employers to enroll; however, mandatory enrollment and contributions do not go into effect until 2020. Employers need not register until then, or later for smaller employers. Emergency regulations governing the CalSavers program were recently approved by the Office of Administrative Law. CalSavers is the result of 2016 legislation enacting the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program (SCRSP) for...
CalChamber White Paper Recaps New Laws for 2019

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The California Chamber of Commerce has released the list of new employment laws scheduled to take effect in 2019 and later that will affect daily operations and policies of California employers. Three of the new 2019 laws are featured in the latest edition of the CalChamber Capitol News Report. The video provides details about expansion of sexual harassment prevention training requirements and the need to provide lactation accommodations in the workplace, as well as providing information about a mandate requiring that women be placed on corporate boards. Sexual Harassment Training In the video, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank discusses new...
Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel Presents New Drone Program

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel presented an overview of the Irvine Police Department’s new drone program to a room of business and community leaders during the Dec. 6 Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs meeting. Joining Chief Hamel was Lieutenant Bill Bingham who relayed the details of the program, and the various situations in which the drones will be deployed such as search and rescue missions, high-risk operations, and fire monitoring. The presentation from Chief Hamel and Lieutenant Bingham is part of the department’s commitment to remain transparent and inform Irvine constituents of the steps being taken to protect Irvine’s residents, business, and...
Statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Japan Business Council

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Japan Business Council provided a written testimony to the U.S. International Trade Commission on Dec. 10, on negotiating objectives for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. As stated in the testimony, the organizations aimed to “emphasize the importance of any potential U.S.-Japan trade agreement to set high-standards and rules in the Indo-Pacific while noting that others in the region are rapidly pursuing and finalizing agreements that have similar potential and far-reaching implications for American business interests.” The potential agreements include the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership that will enter into force Dec. 30, 2018, and...
Labor Pushes to Protect California Ruling That Redefines Who Is an Employee

Monday, December 03, 2018

Seeking to protect a legal victory they believe is the most important for California workers in a generation, organized labor and its allies will launch efforts to bolster a recent state court decision on independent contractors. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, will introduce legislation to add to state law a stricter “ABC test” for defining employees. The test, adopted unanimously by the California Supreme Court this spring, threw nearly three decades of legal precedent up in the air and generated intense pushback from the business community. The bill would strengthen rules that make it harder for employers to classify workers as contractors and...
US, Mexico, Canada Sign New Trade Agreement

Monday, December 03, 2018

On November 30, President Donald J. Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). President Trump called the new USMCA the “most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country.” At the signing, at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, President Trump personally thanked outgoing Mexican President Peña Nieto, who then concluded the ceremony celebrating the close relationship between Mexico, Canada, and the United States, saying, “We’re ready to begin a new chapter in our shared history.” Next Steps Now that the agreement has been signed, the next steps per...
Irvine City Manager John Russo Speaks to a Full House at Greater Irvine Chamber

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Irvine City Manager John Russo remarked on the master-planned city to a packed room of business and community leaders during the Nov. 1 Greater Irvine Chamber Government Affairs meeting. “This is a city that was built on a vision. This is a city that believes in a vision... It’s a city marked by ambition,” Russo said as he cited the brilliance of the Irvine Master Plan set in place more than 50 years ago. Additionally, he gave an overview and examples of what he sees as the five essential values for good governance: transparency, responsiveness, accountability, fiscal prudence, and decisiveness. As a...
IRS: 401(k) and IRA Contribution Limits Increase

Monday, November 05, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019. The IRS issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2018-83. Highlights of Changes for 2019 The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000. The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), which last increased in 2013, is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to...
CalChamber Issues Vote Record on Major Business Bills 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The California Chamber of Commerce has released a report of California legislators’ floor votes for the second year of the 2017-18 legislative session, focusing on priority bills for the state’s business community. This is the 44th vote record the CalChamber has compiled in response to numerous requests by member firms and local chambers of commerce that would like a gauge by which to measure the performance of their legislators. To help readers assess legislators’ vote records, the charts group bills into 12 areas: agriculture, food and natural resources; corporate governance; education; energy; health care costs, housing and land use; immigration; industrial safety...
401(k) Rule Change Would Ease Small Companies’ Path to Joint Plans

Monday, October 22, 2018

A new Labor Department rule would make it easier for small businesses to offer 401(k) plans, part of an effort to close a retirement-plan coverage gap that affects millions of employees. The proposed regulation would allow companies to band together to offer 401(k) plans sponsored by entities including business associations. Such arrangements, often called multiple-employer plans, are allowed now for employers with an affiliation or connection, such as companies with a common owner or members of the same industry trade association. The regulation—which the department said could go into effect as soon as early 2019 after a period for comments and possible...
Greater Irvine Chamber Receives the Nation's Highest Honor in Exporting & International Trade

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on May 21, presented Greater Irvine Chamber with the President’s “E” Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. “The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with the Chamber’s creation of an International Development Committee. The Chamber’s development of a series of trade opportunities between companies and organizations in Orange County, California and potential buyers and officials...
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