How Election Results Will Impact Safety

Dan Glucksman
ISEA Director of Government Affairs

Six states to go! At this point, it’s unclear how President Trump’s legal challenges would be structured, but they are expected. Once again, the Key Stone State is the keystone of the election.

Update on the Senate

The Senate was looking similar to what it looked like before the election when GOPs had a 53-47 majority.  Then, two GOPs lost (Gardner and McSally) to put the ratio at 51-49. But the GOP candidate, Tommy Tuberville (R) won in Alabama, putting the new ratio at 52-48; but right now, the two GOP senators in Georgia both in run-off elections! 

If both GOPs lose both races, the Senate will be at a 50-50 ratio with the majority going to the party in the White House, as the vice president is the tiebreaker. Given the unknowns, it is no wonder Senate Majority Leader McConnell is itching for a COVID-19 deal as soon as Congress returns for its lame duck session. It may be the only opportunity to include COVID-related liability protections for employers.

The two US Senate elections that hang in balance are:

  • GA 1 – Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) will face a run-off against Sr. Pastor Rafael Warnock.

    Raphael Warnock (D), Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., might be the biggest surprise.  His strong showing, 32.8% is forcing a run-off against Kelly Loeffler (R), who was appointed to fill out the remainder of Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. She received 26%.

    Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) also ran for the Senate seat and got 20% of the vote.  National Republican Senatorial Committee endorsed Loeffler, viewing Collins as too conservative for national tastes.

    The run-off is on January 5.

  • GA 2 – Sen. David Purdue (R-GA) failed to clear the 50% threshold and will face his challenger, Jon Ossoff also on January 5.

Note on South Carolina: Jamie Harrison, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), raised more than $100 million. But look out.  Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is up for re-election in 2022, and Mr. Harrison has a sizable war chest – and there are going to be two critically important elections on January 5.

Update on the House

As is being reported, the Democrat-Republican split is surprisingly narrower than many expected. However, the current story is dissatisfaction within the Rank-and-File about Speaker Pelosi’s leadership. This echoes in 2016 and 2018.  Rep. Pelosi has fended off these challenges and is likely to again.

Of note, Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), who led ISEA’s PREP Act bill, both won re-election; Bacon won narrowly.

Other Election Issues

New Privacy Law adds teeth to CCPA enforcement.
Remember the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)? (Here’s a link to the presentation on it.) The new California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, which was presented to voters as California Proposition 24, amends key portions of the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect earlier this year.

The CPRA gives additional rights to consumers and places additional obligations on businesses. The new law expands CCPA’s opt-out rights to include new types of information sharing and requires businesses to provide additional mechanisms for individuals to access, correct, or delete data, with a particular focus on information used by automated decision-making systems.

The new law is scheduled to become operative in 2023.  ISEA is seeking experts, who can break it down for you.

More states legalize marijuana and other drugs.
If the opioid crisis wasn’t bad enough for workplace safety, a few states have relaxed state laws regarding the possession and use of drugs previously classified as narcotics.

Oregonians, by voting for Measure 110, largely decriminalized possession of heroin and other street drugs.  The measure also provides funds for drug addiction treatment.

New Jersey voters approved the recreational use of marijuana for those over 21; Arizona’s Proposition 207 was a similar measure.

Prop 22 in CA – “gig” workers remain as independent contractors.
This proposition asked California residents if app-based drivers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, should be treated as employees, rather than independent contractors. They will remain as independent contractors. The proposition was approved. A “yes” vote supported this ballot initiative to define app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers as independent contractors. So, the measure was approved.