MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1142 and WSJH — April 8, 2016

My bill that addresses Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) abuses, SB 1142, received an unsolicited shout out in the OC Register‘s opinion pages in the first piece below.

You can read more about the bill here. SB 1142 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 26th. Those who have been impacted negatively by ADA lawsuits may want to submit stories and commentary to my staff or to the committee for their consideration.

SB 1142 also made it to California Chamber of Commerce’s list of job creator bills in the second piece below. Both Fox & Hounds and the Orange County Breeze provided CalChamber’s press release on their websites.

The Spring/Summer 2016/5776 edition of Western States Jewish History (Volume 48, Nos. 3 & 4) has just arrived in the mail boxes of its subscribers. This double issue is titled "Pioneer Jews & Their Contributions to the Growth of the Smaller Cities and Towns of Early California."

I am mentioned on page 231, along with the other benefactors, which is done occasionally in its issues. But, I’m also mentioned in the Foreward by Managing Editor David Epstein. Mr. Epstein was kind enough to mention my Foreward for an edition that was published while I was Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. We were honored to recognize David Epstein and Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Gladys Sturman, at one of our Board meetings (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Western States Jewish History — May 25, 2012 may 25, 2012 john moorlach).

The cities mentioned in the chapter titles include: Bakersfield, El Dorado, Escondido, Fort Bragg, Julian, Newman, Placerville, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, Stockton, Temecula, and Visalia.

Mentioned counties include El Dorado, Mariposa, Mendocino, and Tulare

For California historians, like me, this is a paperback book worth adding to your collection. For more information on this outstanding publication, please visit

Making business less a target for exploitive lawsuits


Many of the bills proposed each year in the California Legislature are designed to fix lawmaking mistakes made in previous cycles. In that way, Senate Bill 1142 is no different – patching pesky potholes and litigation landmines caused by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a well-intended piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
But unlike many other bills, SB1142, by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, is worth noting.
Westerners once flocked to our great state with the intent of starting and running a business, profiting from the fruits of one’s own labor, contributing to a bigger community and being handsomely rewarded for doing so.
The landscape now is much different, riddled with legal traps and deterrents that hinder small businesses from becoming an integral part of a local economy.
Here’s why: First, someone visits a business – not as a patron, but as a troll, looking for an opportunity to litigate. Often this someone has a law degree. He or she sees something – something small, but, yes, a technical violation of the ADA. It could be square handrails instead of round ones or a bathroom mirror placed an inch too high. A business owner might think that, because he or she has a handrail or a lowered mirror, the business is in compliance, when, in fact, it is not.
Most business want to comply – it is in their best interests to serve all their customers, whether they have disabilities or not. But the construction-related standards under the ADA and the California Building Code are very specific. If a business is not strictly in compliance with either code, the business and the landlord are exposed to costly penalties.
Whatever the violation, the visitor sues the business owner, seeking on average $5,000 to $10,000. Businesses are often forced to pay whatever is asked or risk being dragged through a lengthy and costly court case. Many of the businesses that have been sued have shut down because it’s simply too costly to stay in business and fight lawsuits – because, where there is one, there are many.
Lawyers will claim they are working in the public interest, but, in reality, these lawsuits damage the public’s perception of people with disabilities – that they are litigious and opportunistic. Attorneys rarely visit the business after a lawsuit has been settled to ensure improvements have been made – they already got what they were after: a hefty settlement check.
This is one of the most pervasive types of shakedown lawsuits in California – lawsuits alleging violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s comparable laws. California is home to about 40 percent of the nation’s ADA lawsuits.
Despite prior reform efforts, lawsuits keep coming. SB1142 offers an alternative. This important legislation by Sen. Moorlach offers small-business owners a “right to cure” any identified noncompliance with the Construction-Related Accessibility Standards Compliance Act or the ADA within 120 days before any lawsuit can be filed. This is a great solution to rampant mistargeted and unfair litigation in our state, a way to protect small business owners and employees and an avenue to ensuring the needs of those with disabilities are met.
Vince Passanisi owns Santa Fe Importers in Seal Beach.

CalChamber Releases 2016 Job Creator List

By Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

(Editor’s Note: the California Chamber of Commerce released its annual list of Job Creator bills in the legislature. The announcement is below.)

The California Chamber of Commerce today released its list of job creator bills, calling attention to 12 bills that will improve the state’s job climate and stimulate the economy.

Since 2008, the CalChamber has identified bills that will encourage employers to invest resources back into the economy and local communities rather than spend them on unnecessary government-imposed costs.

Job creating legislation promotes the following policies:

Keeping taxes on new investment and business operations low, fair, stable and predictable. Reducing regulatory and litigation costs of operating a business—especially when hiring and keeping employees. Reducing the cost and improving the certainty and stability of investing in new or expanded plants, equipment and technology. Investing in public and private works that are the backbone for economic growth. Ensuring the availability of high-quality skilled employees. CalChamber may add more bills to the list in the coming weeks as legislation is amended.

The list of 2016 job creator bills follows:

Reducing Meritless Litigation

AB 1948 (Wagner; R-Irvine) Meal and Rest Period Penalty — Reduces unnecessary litigation by specifying that the one-hour premium pay penalty for a missed meal or rest period is the sole remedy for the violation.

AB 2461 (Grove; R-Bakersfield) Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Reform — Protects against meritless litigation by focusing a representative action under PAGA to four Labor Code sections instead of the entire Labor Code.

AB 2462 (Grove; R-Bakersfield) Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Reform — Reduces meritless litigation costs by allowing an employer 33 days to cure any alleged Labor Code violation before a civil action may be filed.

AB 2463 (Grove; R-Bakersfield) Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Reform — Reduces meritless litigation costs by capping the penalties an employee may receive under PAGA at $1,000 per aggrieved employee.

AB 2464 (Grove; R-Bakersfield) Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Reform — Reduces meritless litigation costs by providing the court with discretion to dismiss a PAGA case if the court determines the employee did not suffer any physical or economic harm.

AB 2465 (Grove; R-Bakersfield) Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Reform — Reduces meritless litigation costs by requiring the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to investigate and review all notices filed pursuant to PAGA and issue a determination as to whether there is a reasonable basis for a civil action within 120 days of receiving the notice.

AB 2827 (Levine; D-San Rafael) Product Labels — Limits frivolous litigation against businesses that include “Made in the U.S.A.” or “Made in California” on labels by providing such businesses with a limited right to cure any alleged minor violation.

SB 269 (Roth; D-Riverside) Incentivizing Disability Access and Education — Seeks to limit frivolous litigation and claims regarding construction-related accessibility violations by providing businesses that have proactively sought to become ADA compliant with an opportunity to resolve any identified violations.

SB 1142 (Moorlach; R-Costa Mesa) ADA Reform — Reduces meritless litigation costs while protecting disability access by providing a business with 120 days to cure any alleged violation in a demand letter before a civil action may be filed.

SB 1306 (J. Stone; R-Temecula) Consumer Legal Remedies Act — Creates fairness in the application of this law as applied to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by amending it to allow a “prevailing party” to recover attorney’s fees instead of allowing only a defendant to recover attorney’s fees when the action was filed in bad faith.

Economic Growth Incentives

AB 2664 (Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks) Increased Innovation and Entrepreneurship — Makes it easier to establish a business by providing 3 years of funding to allow the University of California (UC) and Berkeley National Laboratory to expand their capacity and increase access to their innovation and entrepreneurship centers, which provide incubator space, legal services, entrepreneur training and more for researchers and other individuals looking to develop innovative solutions.

SB 936 (Hertzberg; D-Van Nuys) Loan Access — Encourages creation of small business by expanding their access to loans, which helps them grow.

Cumulative Job Creator Signatures
13 job creator bills identified, 5 sent to Governor, signs 2;
2014: 14 job creator bills identified, 5 sent to Governor, signs 5;
2013: 16 job creator bills identified, 2 sent to Governor, signs 2;
2012: 34 job creator bills identified, 9 sent to Governor, signs 9;
2011: 5 job creator bills identified, 0 sent to Governor;
2010: 16 job creator bills identified, 4 sent to Governor, signs 4;
2009: 18 job creator bills identified, 2 sent to Governor, signs 2;
2008: 3 job creator bills identified, 2 sent to Governor, signs 2.

Most articles about California Jewish Pioneers written in our 48 years of publication focus on the two largest cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Here the Jews made up a significant part of the cities’ population. According to the Census of 1870, San Francisco’s Jewish population exceeded 10% and Los Angeles had over 5%.
What is notable about these two figures is that the Jewish population of the United States was then less than 1%. Lots of Jews in a city meant lots of good stories about their contributions to the growth of this great state.
However, in the outlying smaller cities and towns of the state, the Jewish percentage was far smaller — often just a family of two — yet, in almost every case, these "Isrealites" made important contributions to the betterment of their adopted areas.
Not only were these more rural Jewish pioneers merchants, farmers and ranchers, but more often than not, the Mayor, Treasurer or member of the City/Town Council.
Their stories deserve to be told and remembered.
This volume of Western States Jewish History is an archival study of the pieces written in our first nine years of publication, the late 1960s and early 1970s. Few, if any of our current subscribers have ever read any of these articles.
Our founder, Ribbi William Kramer taught us that the good works of our past have to be revived from time to time, to allow our current subscribers to "catch up."
We’ve done this before with other special Archival Issues.
Our first was "Jewish Women of the American West" which tells the often neglected stories of Jewish Pioneer women who made important contributions to the development of the Wild West. [Volume 35, #3/4]
Most notable was "Pioneer Jews of Los Angeles in the Nineteenth Century [Volume 38, #3/4] which revived the history of our Pioneer Merchants, Community and Spiritual leadership.
"Jewish Pioneers of Orange County" [Volume 44, #3/4] was acclaimed by the County Supervisors of Orange County. The then Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, now State Senator John M. W. Moorlach wrote in our foreward, "While some may read management books to become better leaders, I read Western States Jewish History to be motivated on how to lead and live."
In this special double issue, we continue Rabbi Kramer’s sage advice to continually "update" our more recent readership.
The story of the Jewish Pioneers of the American West is an important story for all students of history — for it tells what happened, when a group of people — the Jews, the Hebrews, Israelites — who had been persecuted for over 2,000 years — sometimes a little — sometimes a lot — were let loose in a new area called the American Wild West — where no one cared about their religion — only that they were European and part of a minority destined to build this new part of our country.
The result was a Third Golden Age of Judaism, and one that did not end in tragedy. One that allows us to live well today — thanks to their hard work, creativity, and Jewish values.
–David W. Epstein, Managing Editor


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