The California Chamber of Commerce’s lobbying efforts in the State Capitol are impressive. For decades, the CalChamber has effectively focused some of its efforts to make sure legislation they deem bad for jobs does not become law. And it works – their success rate is about 90%.
The CalChamber reviews hundreds of pieces of legislation each legislative cycle, labels certain ones as “job killers”, then works to defeat them. Other organizations and corporations may also have a strong record of stopping legislation, yet they do not list their victories so prominently on their websites. But the tactic works and legislators hope none of their bills get the label that almost guarantees failure.
On its website, the CalChamber lists 25 years of successful bill killing –the vast majority of the legislation they focus on does not even make it to the Governor’s desk. When it does, many are vetoed even by Democratic Governors. Republican Governors have held office 9 out of the last 25 years. Most of those years, Democrats have held a majority in both houses, most recently they have held supermajorities. Yet, the CalChamber, whose members are arguably more conservative than the average California voter, has continued its string of successes.
Although the CalChamber lobbyists are savvy enough to know which bills they will be able to defeat, and most likely tailor the list so that they will appear effective, this is also an example of the growing divide among Democratic legislators. Looking at how the “Mod Dems” vote versus how the “Liberal Dems” vote explains some of the CalChamber’s effectiveness.
This week, additions to the job killer list were released. Like most people who work in and around the Capitol, Calpeek will be watching to see how these bills fare.