The bill would prohibit a charter city from receiving or using state funding or financial assistance for a construction project if the city has a charter provision or ordinance that authorizes a contractor to not comply with prevailing wage provisions on any public works contract.
League Legislative Director Dan Carrigg testified in strong opposition to SB 7 on a number of points. Most importantly, SB 7 violates the fundamental principle of local control and the charter cities doctrine of municipal affairs. A recent California Supreme Court decision in State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v. City of Vista (2012) 54 Cal. 4th 547 held that prevailing wage issues are subject to a charter city’s ability to manage its “municipal affairs.”
Carrigg also argued that the Legislature was seeking to achieve indirectly what the Court said it could not do directly, and that while many charter cities require the payment of prevailing wages on local projects, the League was protecting the flexibility of local agencies to make the decision. In closing, Carrigg also questioned why the bill had not also been referred to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over local government and charter authority issues, and pointed out that similar previous legislation was referred to that committee.
As of March 13, opposition to SB 7 includes:
The League of California Cities;
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Associated Builders and Contractors of California
Air Conditioning Trade Association
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California;
Western Electrical Contractors Association; and
The cities of: Arcadia, Cerritos, Folsom, Glendora, Grass Valley, Indian Wells, Norco, Petaluma, Pico Rivera, Roseville, Selma, Shafter, Solvang, Torrance, and Wasco.
City officials, even those from general law cities concerned about local control, should submit letters of opposition immediately. The issues at stake are far broader than prevailing wages, If it becomes law, SB 7 would establish a new state tactic of withholding funds from charter cities in an effort to force them to alter their valid local charters and policies to comply with various state edicts.
The League’s opposition letter and a sample opposition letter are available on the League’s website
typing “SB 7” into the search box.