Employee Relations 07/22/2013
SB 556 (Corbett) - Oppose
As Amended on July 1, 2013
Senate Bill 556, by Senator Ellen Corbett, would prohibit entities contracting with public agencies for labor or services from displaying any seal, emblem, brand name or insignia on a uniform or vehicle that could reasonably be interpreted to imply that the labor or services are being provided by a public employee unless the vehicle or uniform “conspicuously displays” a disclosure statement of, “NOT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.” SB 556 defines “conspicuously displays” as displaying in a font size that is at least the same size as the largest font size on the uniform or vehicle.
Counties will recall that the previous version of SB 556 would have made public agencies that contract for services jointly and severally liable for any damages caused during performance of the contract if, at the time of the damage, the contractor was authorized or required by the public agency to wear a uniform or operate a vehicle that by its similar appearance would have caused members of the public to believe that the contractor was an employee of the public agency.
While the amended version of SB 556 removes that liability, CSAC continues to oppose the bill as it as it would continue to place a significant financial burden on private businesses that contract with public agencies; we remain concerned that this cost will likely be shifted to the public entity that contracts for the service. Any kind of cost shift to public agencies would be detrimental, especially at a time when our agencies are struggling to provide the most basic services. Further, CSAC is unaware of any problems – in general or specifically related to wage and labor issues – associated with a private contractor wearing a similar uniform or having a similar vehicle that cause confusion for the public and necessitate a need for this change in law.
SB 556 is awaiting a vote on the Assembly Floor. An editorial in the Sacramento Bee regarding SB 556 can be found here.