Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov 5 Issue

NOTE: New Jersey anti-owner operator bills threaten model.

November 5, 2012 Issue

Exercise Your Civic Responsibility- VOTE
Tomorrow morning I am going to line up bright and early coffee cup in-hand and beat the crowds. No, it isn’t a new iSomething launch or opening day of hunting season. Like millions of others in our country tomorrow, I get to vote for the next President of the United States and all the way down the ballot to the next county or local sheriff. It is our American right and civic responsibility to choose one our peers to represent us on city council and in the state legislature as well decide pending state ballot issues. Having worked in an elected official’s office I know first-hand that no matter who wins it is their responsibility to work for every person that lives in their district of the city, county or state. It is a role that those elected individuals do not and cannot take lightly. So be sure to spend some time tonight and read your voters’ guide pamphlet on not just the candidates but also the other ballot initiatives and questions. If you have not received your voters’ pamphlet go online to your Secretary of State’s web site where an electronic/PDF version should be available.

Anti-IC Bill Advances in New Jersey
On Monday, October 15th, the New Jersey Assembly Committee on Labor passed five measures that relate to employers, three of which concern independent contractors. The first bill, Assembly Bill 1578, establishes that trucking services performed in the drayage trucking industry or parcel delivery industry by an individual are deemed employees by the same over-bearing ABC test that is used in Massachusetts. This bill had been considered “dead in the water” after a letter writing campaign by MCAA and the NJ Motor Truck Association nevertheless, AB 1578 was moved favorably out of the Labor Committee and awaits vote on the Assembly floor before going to the Senate.

Assembly Bill 3310 would create a payment process including that independent contractors must be paid the compensation earned in accordance with the agreed work terms as well as outlining penalties for the employing company if the agreed work terms are not followed.

The third measure, Assembly Resolution 79, demands that Governor Chris Christie (R) make the state of New Jersey participate in the joint State and Federal initiative and Memorandum of Understanding against misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Although this Resolution is not legislation that would change regulations or enforcement in itself, it is an official plea by the legislature (once passed by both chambers). As a Resolution moves through the legislature it shows the opinion of lawmakers, much like a barometer, for other current or future legislation.

As a result of this renewed activity MCAA is reinvigorating its efforts in the state. A group of active MCAA members that are headquartered or operate in the state of New Jersey are pulling together resources to form a state association. If you operate in the state and would like to participate in the efforts please contact me at sswearingen@mcaa.com and let me know.

Are Department of Labor Audits Increasing?
MCAA has learned of an increase in audits from state Departments of Labor (DOL) targeting the same-day delivery industry. States that we are included in this trend are:  New York, New Jersey, Kentucky and California. In order for MCAA to monitor this trend and advocate effectively to DOLs and Capitol Hill, please contact us if you are experiencing an audit; your information will remain confidential.  MCAA is working with our network of state associations to address issues when they are brought to our attention.

ADA Lawsuits Reform Bill Enacted in California
From MCAA California Lobbyist Chris Micheli

One of the major reform bills passed at the end of the Legislative Session was Senate Bill 1186. The measure is intended to curb abusive lawsuits, while promoting increased compliance with disabled accessibility building codes throughout the state of California. After months of negotiations, those changes were added to SB 1186. The major provisions of this important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reform legislation are:

1. Reduced statutory damages and litigation protections for defendants who correct violations
2. New provisions to prevent "stacking" of multiple claims for the same violation to simply increase statutory damages
3. Ban on demands for money and new rules for demand letters
4. New pleading with specificity requirement for demand letters and complaints
5. State Bar review of demand letters; violations of the demand letter and demand for money provisions would be grounds for attorney discipline
6. Mandatory evaluation conference at the option of either defendant or plaintiff
7. Mandatory notice to property tenant of Certified Access Specialist (CASp) status of the property
8. California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) to receive copies of complaints and demand letters, and tabulate data on the top ten types of alleged violations
9. CCDA to promote and facilitate accessibility compliance
10. Required information regarding disability access compliance to businesses upon renewal of business license
11. New add-on fee of $1 to business licenses to strengthen CASp program and develop educational and training resources at the State and local levels to promote compliance

An interesting fact is that California has 40% of the nation’s ADA lawsuits, but only 12% of the country’s disabled population.  Unfortunately, a small number of enterprising attorneys have utilized the laws to garner financial settlements that do not often result in increased ADA compliance.  Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed this important reform legislation into law.

SOURCE: Messenger Courier Association of America
on the web at www.MCAA.com

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