STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Independent Contractors – California. Once again, Republican lawmakers are attempting to repeal the rigid ABC test for determining if a worker is an employee or independent contractor in California. On December 7, Rep. Kevin Kiley (R) introduced AB 25. The bill would generally repeal provisions relating to the more limiting ABC test and would, instead, require the determination of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor to be based on the specific multifactor test set forth under the formerly long-standing Borello standard, including whether the person to whom service is rendered has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired, and other identified factors. The Borello standard generally provides greater latitude for recognition of a worker as an independent contractor. Read more.
STATE - REGULATORY: Oil and Gas Industry Support – Wyoming. (Update to 11/16/20 Weekly Report) The oil and gas stimulus program launched in Wyoming last month may be accomplishing what it intended, according to follow- up reports. “Though applications were only open for about one week, the Wyoming Business Council received 65 eligible applications, with demand for the government relief far outstripping available funding.” According to Josh Dorrell, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, “The results of this program show the willingness of the oil and gas industry to put people to work in Wyoming, once they get some capital to get them going.” For background, on November 10, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced that Wyoming would allocate federal COVID-19 funds to aid the oil and gas industry in the state. “These funds will have a direct impact on Wyoming’s employment rate and put people back to work in our oil and gas sector," said Gov. Gordon, announcing up to $15 million in assistance through a new Energy Rebound Program. The Program will utilize federal CARES Act funding “to provide business relief targeted towards drilled, but uncompleted oil and gas wells, wells that were unable to be re-completed, and plugging and abandonment projects which could not be finished due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”Read more.
INDUSTRY NEWS: U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts higher crude prices. On December 8, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast higher crude oil prices next year in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. This “reflects EIA’s expectation that while inventories will remain high, they will decline with rising global oil demand and restrained OPEC+ oil production.” Read more.