SCGA Public Affairs


Monday, October 31, 2022


We haven’t reported much if at all on the following subject, but there is more at stake in California’s 2022 election than most have been led to believe. Not in terms of continued Democratic domination of statewide offices and both Houses of the Legislature, but in terms of whether Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) continues as Speaker of the Assembly or Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) displaces him.

We did report briefly on Rivas’ failed attempt to oust Rendon over the summer, but we didn’t report on why we found that to be potentially troublesome – “potentially” because it wasn’t certainly problematic then, and it may not prove problematic should a Rivas Speakership come to pass in the 2023 session.

We should know who the 2023 Speaker will be immediately after the results of the November election are tallied. Thirty (30) of the Assembly’s 80 members will be new members, and the composition of this huge freshman class will be the dispositive factor. Like so many matters in California, virtually all of the political action is not between the two major parties, but rather within the one party that dominates the California body politic, something we discovered writ large during last year’s AB 1910 exercise, where it was golf’s support among legislators representing politically similar (and often contiguous) districts to AB 1910 author Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) that spelled the difference – that and certain Committee Chairs mostly from Southern California.

Speaker Rendon has differed from many of his predecessors in giving great leeway to those he appoints Committee Chairs, and with Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), and Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Oceanside) chairing Appropriations, Budget, and Sports/Entertainment respectively, golf was well positioned to get a fair and complete hearing re AB 1910, which was all golf needed to make its case that while housing is indeed a critical need, Garcia’s bill was a particularly bad and ineffective way of mitigating it let alone meeting it. Add to that the hard truth that organized golf has been working hand in glove with municipal golf systems in Southern California for years, and it is easy to understand why golf would be concerned that a shift of the Speakership northward along with a more northern tinge to certain committee chairpersonships could represent a loss of traction to the degree to which bills like AB 1910 might crop up in future sessions. “Could” is not “would,” and fears are often discovered to have been unfounded. Time may or may not tell, but whatever it tells us, golf won’t hesitate to positively engage.

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Those who read these “updates” know that we put much greater stock on tracking public opinion than we do specific legislation or regulation. The latter follows the former. And for that reason, we are paying close heed to certain local elections in Los Angeles County – three (3) in the City of Los Angeles and one in a County Board District that is dominated by the City of Los Angeles (3rd District). In all four (4) cases we hope to find out whether a trend that began a couple of years ago in which traditional labor/liberal Democrats lose out to what we’ll term for the purposes of this communication younger/more activist/more “progressive” Democrats continues. Why? Because the former generally find municipal golf courses and the green/recreational spaces they provide to be beneficial land uses for the communities they represent, while the latter often find bills like AB 1910 attractive. However, this is not to suggest that with outreach, education, and direct experience with the golf courses in the districts they find themselves representing, these more “progressive” newcomers won’t come to the same conclusion about the social and environmental benefits of golf to their constituents.

Indeed, if organized golf had ever paid the slightest attention to the history of municipal golf’s great expansion in 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s California, it might understand that it was precisely a previous generation of traditional “labor/liberal Democrats” that was largely responsible for building and buying golf properties in California’s urban cores and operating them as affordable, accessible municipal golf courses – in the specific case of Los Angeles, the 2nd largest city and largest golf market in the United States, the ONLY public golf courses still in existence. The daily fee facilities that once dotted that city have all given way to the “creative destruction” that is the hallmark of all market economies.

Golf would be well pressed to begin appreciating that record of support while at the same time reaching out and developing relationships with those whose views about the social utility of golf in urban environments may not be positive but are not fixed in cement either.


Most of what happens at the federal level both in terms of legislation and regulation matters little in California – with respect to the golf community, that is. The same goes for the most part with respect to the Biden Administration’s recent directive to the Department of Labor (DOL) to reverse the previous administration’s Rule regarding independent contracting. It’s a directive that presages a much more restrictive test to distinguish employment from independent contracting – restrictive in terms of creating a much stronger preference for employment over independent contracting. But it’s also a directive that emphatically rejects California’s ABC test in California Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision and the legislative codification thereof (AB 5 / AB 2257), and this could provide the opening many sectors can use to add more exceptions and exemptions to AB 2257.

Golf doesn’t need the opening to add or create exceptions. The game did very well for itself with a “business to business for professional services exception” that provides a clear roadmap for PGA golf professionals to ply their trade as independent contractors and a generic exception for all “youth sports coaches” that accommodates the business model of most junior golf programs. A semblance of independent caddying survived due to an anomaly in California’s Unemployment Insurance Code regarding unemployment compensation.

However, to the degree to which one of the 12 prongs of the test in that “business to business for professional services exception” is too ambiguous for golf’s comfort, the Biden Administration’s categorical rejection of California’s ABC Test may have given the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) an opening to refine it. This has been a goal of the Alliance since AB 2257 was passed, and maybe now with COVID and AB 672/1910 behind us, the game can take the effort up in 2023.

Archived Updates

Opposition to Assembly Bill 1910

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CGCOA Golf is Good Ambassador Program

Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.

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FORE - Public Affairs

FORE - The magazine of the SCGA. Find archived Public Affairs articles on the website of the SCGA's award winning quarterly publication.

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Last Friday was the last day of the 2023 session for bills to pass their houses of origin and move to the other house for consideration.

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In light of the Lower Basin states’ conservation proposal, the Biden Administration has announced that it is temporarily withdrawing the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) published last month so that it can fully analyze the effects of the proposal under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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We had the joy of participating in a meeting of the Duarte City Council a couple of weeks ago in which a very preliminary proposal to repurpose a daily fee 9-hole executive golf course cum driving range as an RV Park / storage facility was all but killed by a City Council that made clear that the rezoning necessary to repurpose the property would not be in the offing.

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Yesterday was National Golf Day. Three hundred (300) golf course superintendents, PGA golf professionals, golf course owners, and leaders of the game’s national organizations descended on Capitol Hill to share 1) the game’s national legislative agenda with Senators and Representatives, and 2) the social, philanthropic, and environmental value golf courses provide for communities across the nation.

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The “suspense” round of legislative Appropriations hearings is scheduled for next week. That is when the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees speed through hundreds of bills that have cleared their committees of reference to see which among them move to their respective floors and which are put on “suspense,” otherwise known as all but dead for the year.

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To live in Southern California is not only to understand how it is possible to be on flood watch and drought watch at the same time, it is to understand also how it is possible to live during the greatest growth period in the game’s history in the most golf starved market in the United States while losing golf courses of all types and sizes.

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Major Coastal Resorts Environmental Accountability Act AB 1590 [Friedman; D-Burbank]

Introduced as a spot or placeholder bill on the final day to file bills in this year’s session (February 17), AB 1590 was populated with substantive content subsequent thereto that among many other things would “prohibit the use of any nonorganic pesticide, as defined, or fertilizing material, as defined, at a major coastal resort.”

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