Small Business Relief Bill Gains Support of Nearly One-Third of California Legislature

Bipartisan Coalition Co-Authoring Keep California Working Act Grows

The Keep California Working Act garnered more momentum in the Legislature with new co-authors announcing their support for the bill within the last week. With the new additions, a total of thirty-seven legislators are now supporting the measure. This milestone signifies an opportunity for the Legislature to work together on small business relief efforts.

The Keep California Working Act, otherwise known as Senate Bill 74, is a bipartisan small business relief package spearheaded by Senators Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) and Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), and Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). The bill invests $2.6 billion (or 10% of California’s projected windfall) in grants for small businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19.

New co-authors include Senators Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), Richard Roth (D-Riverside), Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), Tom Umberg (D-Orange County), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), and Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) as well as Assembly Members Suzette Martinez Valladares (R-Santa Clarita) and Mike Gipson (D-Carson).

Senator Borgeas, Senator Caballero, and Assembly Member Petrie-Norris provided the following statements regarding the growing support for the Keep California Working Act:

“Our small businesses and employees need help now,” said Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), joint author of SB 74. “The fast-growing, bipartisan support for the Keep California Working Act in both houses demonstrates the political willpower for California to step up and protect our local economies. This is an issue on which Republicans and Democrats at the state level can all agree. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues on advancing this critical measure through the legislative process.”

“The impact of the pandemic has devastated small businesses, nonprofits and employees,” said Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), joint author of SB 74. “The bipartisan support for SB 74 speaks to the importance of providing relief to them. We all have businesses in our districts who are hurting and need help. I am proud to join my colleagues in both houses to work to ensure that small businesses and their employees get relief.”

“When local businesses prosper, our entire community thrives,” said SB 74 Principal Co-Author Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “Investing the State’s budget surplus directly into main street will keep businesses open and retain jobs for those on the brink after the devastation of this pandemic.” 

Other legislators also shared their support for SB 74:

“The pandemic has taken a serious toll on small businesses,” said Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger). “Many have shut down or scaled back to protect our communities, but employers and workers still have to pay rent and support families and children. A targeted state relief package can ease their burden until we get California moving again.”

“Our response to COVID-19 has required immense sacrifice from our small businesses and non-profits,” said Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside). “The Keep California Working Act recognizes these sacrifices and the integral role small businesses and non-profits have in our communities. As a co-author of SB 74, I look forward to working with my Legislative colleagues to ensure the Californian Dream remains a reality for small business owners and non-profits beyond these difficult times.”

"Throughout the pandemic, California has asked for help from its small business community, and time and time again they have heeded the call,” said Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). "It is incumbent on us to return the favor and give them immediate support while we work to further address the economic devastation brought by COVID-19."

“The Legislature must help struggling workers and businesses in a way that is fiscally responsible,” said Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel). “The Keep California Working Act does both and would be another essential lifeline for our economy. I look forward to working with Senator Andreas Borgeas and our colleagues to help get this measure enacted as soon as possible.” 

“This global health crisis has devastated our small business community like never before, and California business owners and employees struggling to stay afloat are relying on our support,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella). “We owe it to our communities to step up and invest in additional small business relief. I am proud to join Senator Borgeas and a bipartisan coalition of legislators working to improve our state’s economic response.”

"As California looks towards economic recovery, strategic funding must be earmarked for small businesses and non-profits," said Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson). "They are the lifeblood of our cities and communities. Small businesses hire locally and recycle money within their communities. Their success or failure directly impacts the lives of those who depend on them for income or vital services. Non-profits have stepped up and filled in gaps for individuals and families, providing food, shelter and basic needs when safety nets have failed. I am proud to co-author SB74 and believe it will lift up our businesses and non-profits so that they can, in turn, begin to recover and lift up California.”

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy," Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (R- Escondido) said. "Helping these businesses survive these tough times is good for both workers and owners. Right now, it's important to help get people back to work and keep those who are working employed."

“Any surplus revenue should immediately be invested in our small businesses and non-profits that have been decimated by this pandemic,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield). “The Keep California Working Act ensures we prioritize our tax dollars to help rebuild our economy by getting people back to work.”

“Small businesses and nonprofits are the backbone of our community,” Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) said. “Immediate relief is urgently needed to prevent them from closing down permanently.”

“California’s small business and their employees have been hit hard by the COVID-19 shutdowns,” said Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine). “SB 74 will provide much needed relief to California’s job creators and our essential non-profits who are providing critical services to our communities.”

“California small businesses are the heart and soul of our Orange County communities,” said Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel). “I’m proud to co-author the Keep California Working Act to help empower our small businesses and nonprofits and give them a fighting chance to succeed after a year of economic hardship and uncertainty.”

“The state has decimated small businesses with one-size-fits all restrictions, and must play a significant role in helping them recover,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City). “This is the right thing to do for California’s small businesses, their employees, and our communities.” 

“Our small businesses, and more importantly, the people and the families behind them, are collapsing under immense financial pressure during this unprecedented time of economic uncertainty,” said Assemblymember Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta). “They are the foundation of our communities and they deserve better. SB 74 offers a lifeline, investing over $2 billion in grant money into our small businesses and non-profit organizations without raising taxes. I am proud to join the bipartisan effort to support the Keep California Working Act.” 

“The COVID shut-downs have devastated our local small businesses that we can’t afford to lose,” said Suzette Martinez Valladares (R-Santa Clarita). “They employ our family members, our neighbors, and keep the economic engine of California running strong. I’m signing on to The Keep California Working Act which will invest $2.6 billion in grants so we can keep small businesses alive and running.”

“Senator Borgeas and I represent overlapping districts covering the Central Valley so we have seen first-hand how many lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 on so many levels,” said Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon). “I’m happy to co-author SB 74 to help the Central Valley and the rest of California safely re-open the economy before it’s too late.”

Below is a complete list of legislators who have signed on to the bill:

Senators Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) and Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) have joint authored the measure, and Senate co-authors include Senators Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), Richard Roth (D-Riverside), Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), Tom Umberg (D-Orange County), Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Brian Jones (R-Santee), Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), and Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) is a principal co-author of the measure, and Assembly co-authors include Assembly Members Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), Phillip Chen (R-Brea), Steven S. Choi (R-Irvine), Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel), Heath Flora (R-Ripon), Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), Thurston “Smitty” Smith (R-Apple Valley), Randy Voepel (R-Santee), Suzette Martinez Valladares (R-Santa Clarita), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).

For the current text of the Keep California Working Act, click here.