Last month, Senators Andreas Borgeas and Anna Caballero introduced Senate Bill 74, which would create the “Keep California Working Act,” which is a proposed grant program. SB 74 would add Section 12098.8 to the Government Code.
SB 74 would establish the Keep California Working Grant Program and require California’s Small Business Advocate to administer the grant program and award grants to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have experienced economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 74 would also appropriate $2.6 billion dollars to the Office of Small Business Advocate for the grant program. The bill is proposed as an urgency statute.
Section One of the bill specifies that the is to be known as the Keep California Working Act.
Section Two of the bill provides three legislative findings and declarations about the adverse impact on COVID-19 on California’s economy, and particularly the impact on small businesses. Also, “California has an obligation to support these businesses and nonprofits in reducing their financial burdens as they are forced to alter their operations in order to comply with state mandates.” In addition, “Now more than ever, California should provide relief to small businesses and nonprofits, or we risk losing a fundamental component of our communities.”
Section Three of the bill would add Government Code Section 12098.8 It defines the terms “small business” and “program.” The term “small business” is defined to be an independently owned and operated business that has fewer than 100 employees. The Keep California Working Grant Program would be established under the administration of the state’s Small Business Advocate for the purpose of helping small businesses and nonprofit organizations continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the bill would specify that the Small Business Advocate would be required to awarded unspecified grant amounts to applicants that meet two criteria: (1) The applicant is a small business or nonprofit organization, and (2) the applicant has experienced economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would require the Advocate to award these grants up to a maximum amount (which is not yet specified in the bill) on a first-come-first-served basis.
SB 74 would require the Advocate to adopt, as necessary, application procedures, forms, administrative guidelines, and other requirements for purposes of implementing and administering the program. All application procedures, forms, administrative guidelines, and other requirements developed by the Advocate would be exempt from the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Finally, $2.6 billion would be appropriated from the General Fund to the Office of Small Business Advocate for the purpose of administering the grant program.
Section Four of the bill provides an urgency clause so that the bill would go into immediate effect once signed by the Governor and chaptered by the Secretary of State.
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