Business

Gov. Brown signs package of 18 business-friendly bills

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation that was heavily lobbied by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and aimed at boosting sales of high-tech goods and services.

Four measures, part of a package of 18 business-friendly bills approved Friday, seek to ease the regulatory burden on developers of smartphone-based payment systems; reverse a retroactive tax hike on investors in small start-up companies, and create a "Made in California" program to help market innovative, locally manufactured consumer products.

"This bill package underscores our commitment to strengthening the state's business climate," said Brown spokesman Evan Westrup.

AB 786 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) makes changes to the state's Money Transmission Act and removes some regulatory barriers for companies that come up with new, cheaper ways for people to send money and pay for purchases. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also swept away cumbersome provisions cited by firms such as PayPal Inc. and Square Inc.

"Technological innovation within the money transmission and payments industry has skyrocketed in the last few years," Dickinson said, "yet California's regulatory framework has lagged behind this innovation."

Two other bills, AB 1412 by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and SB 209 by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), restore a $120-million tax break that had been granted to 2,000 investors, only to be struck down by a state appellate court. Affected taxpayers, outraged that they were suddenly dunned for back taxes, protested to lawmakers after receiving official notices that they owed the back levies.

"It's simply unfair to punish people for following the law, even if it was later overruled," Lieu said.

Legislation by Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) creates a "Made in California" label that would piggyback on the state's reputation for designing and producing innovative products such as electronics and biotech medicines. The program will be run by the governor's Office of Business and Economic Development and is based on a successful "California Grown" label for fruits, nuts and vegetables.

"This ... marketing effort will clearly capitalize on California's cutting-edge work and product excellence," she said.

Corbett's bill, SB 12, was supported by various small-business organizations and by Tesla Motors Inc., which makes luxury electric cars.

marc.lifsher@latimes.com

Twitter: @MarcLifsher

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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