A group of about 20 Santa Clarita Valley business leaders recently met with legislative leaders in Sacramento to advocate on issues relevant to local businesses, including independent contractors and workforce development.
In late March, Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, introduced members of the SCV Chamber of Commerce and other business professionals during an opening session of the California State Assembly to kick off the group’s “non-partisan advocacy discussion” at the state capitol to highlight “events and happenings important to this group.”
John Musella, president of The Musella Group, whose businesses conduct the chamber’s everyday operations, said Smith took the lead in setting up multiple meetings for the SCV business leaders for discussions with Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, Sen. Henry Stern and Sen. Bob Hertzberg.
“It was a good roundtable discussion with local business leaders on a variety of topics like workforce development and how to train our existing and future workforce to make sure they have the skills to attain jobs that will become vacant in the future,” said Musella. “This will require assistance from the state.”
The recent laws revolving independent contractors was also one of the most pressing topics the group brought up with the state. Those pieces of legislation have changed the definition of who is and is not an independent contractor.
“This is also affecting the modern workforce as more people are working independently,” said Musella. “AB-5 (Worker status: independent contractors) is going to be the legislative vehicle to take care of some of these issues but we are working with the ‘I’m Independent’ coalition to fix this so that independent contractors can work as independent contractors.”
SCV business leaders also had the chance to meet at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the California Chamber of Commerce with Jennifer Barrera, the executive vice president of government relations, to talk about homelessness, water, land use and education as it relates to the SCV.
The chamber plans on returning to the state capitol later this year to meet with public affairs officials and talk about issues important to local public affairs officials, said Musella.
These trips, overall, he said, offer a “real value because (legislators) are getting a chance to talk to business owners and business executives face-to-face in a personal, authentic way,” he said. “We believe that the chamber is the voice of business and speaking firsthand is the most effective way to advocate for business.”