BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  August 25, 2015


                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY


                                  Mark Stone, Chair


          SJR  
          11 (Leyva) - As Introduced May 26, 2015


          SENATE VOTE:  25-12


          SUBJECT:  UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE


          KEY ISSUE:  SHOULD THE LEGISLATURE URGE CONGRESS TO RESTORE  
          POSTAL SERVICE STANDARDS AND OPPOSE ANY LEGISLATION THAT FAILS  
          TO CONTINUE THE CURRENT SIX-DAY DELIVERY MANDATE AND  
          DOOR-TO-DOOR DELIVERY SERVICE?


                                      SYNOPSIS


          In 2012, after years of losses, the United States Postal Service  
          (USPS) began reductions in postal services, closing mail  
          processing facilities across the country.  These closures  
          represent the loss of thousands of jobs across the nation and  
          here in California.  The USPS is now considering further service  
          reductions, including closing more mail processing facilities,  
          including several in California, eliminating six-day a week  
          delivery services and reducing door-to-door deliveries.  Two  
          resolutions have been introduced in Congress this year seeking  
          to reverse USPS service cuts, but neither resolution has been  
          scheduled for a hearing.  (H. Res 12; H. Res 54.)  Instead, a  








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          House committee passed legislation last session to reduce  
          door-to-door USPS deliveries. (H.R. 2748.)  This resolution  
          urges Congress to prevent any further degradation of postal  
          service and to restore service levels to those that existed  
          before the cuts.  This bill is sponsored by the California State  
          Association of Letter Carriers and supported by other labor  
          organizations.  It has no known opposition. 


          SUMMARY:  Urges Congress to restore services of the United  
          States Postal Services and to oppose additional service  
          reductions.  Specifically, this measure:  


          1)Declares that on January 5, 2015, the USPS implemented lower  
            "service standards" to virtually eliminate overnight delivery  
            of first-class mail and periodicals, and further delay most  
            other mail.


          2)Declares that delayed mail negatively impacts businesses,  
            residents, communities and the economy, resulting in lower  
            revenue and damaging the financial situation of the USPS.


          3)Declares that robust service standards implemented by the USPS  
            are essential to providing prompt and timely delivery of all  
            mail.


          4)Declares that planned shutdowns of mail sorting centers would  
            seriously affect hundreds of employees, over 22 percent of  
            whom are United States military veterans, many with  
            disabilities.


          5)Declares that at least one of these mail sorting facilities,  
            located in Eureka, California, is planning to shift its mail  
            distribution to Oregon, which contradicts the obligation of  








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            the USPS to protect voting by mail throughout California,  
            which is now commonplace and will remain essential to our  
            democracy.


          6)Declares that the USPS has the authority to reinstate  
            overnight delivery standards in order to hasten mail delivery  
            and to prevent shutdowns of mail sorting centers.


          7)Urges Congress to require the USPS to restore service  
            standards in effect as of July 1, 2012, and place a moratorium  
            on planned shutdowns of mail sorting centers, and further  
            urges Congress to oppose any postal reform legislation that  
            does not continue the mandate for six-day delivery service or  
            does not protect door-to-door delivery as it currently exists.


          8)Urges the Secretary of State to publicly oppose changes in the  
            USPS that negatively impact the rights of California voters  
            who vote by an absentee ballot. 


          EXISTING LAW:   


          1)Provides, under the U.S. Constitution, that Congress has the  
            power to establish post offices and post roads.  Establishes  
            the USPS as an independent establishment of the executive  
            branch of the U.S. government.  (U.S. Constitution, Art. 1,  
            Sec. 8; 39 U.S.C. Sec. 201.)


          2)Provides that the USPS shall be operated as a basic and  
            fundamental service provided to the people by the U.S.  
            government and shall have as its basic function the obligation  
            to provide postal services to bind the nation together through  
            the personal, educational, literary and business  
            correspondence of the people and to provide prompt, reliable  








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            and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall  
            render postal services to all communities.  (39 U.S.C. Sec.  
            101.)


          3)Requires the USPS to provide a maximum degree of effective and  
            regular postal services to rural areas, communities and small  
            towns where post offices are not self-sustaining.  Provides  
            that no small post office shall be closed solely for operating  
            at a deficit, it being the specific intent of the Congress  
            that effective postal services be insured to residents of both  
            urban and rural communities.  In determining all policies for  
            postal services, requires the USPS to give the highest  
            consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious  
            collection, transportation and delivery of important letter  
            mail.  (Id.)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  As currently in print this measure is keyed  
          fiscal.


          COMMENTS:  This measure, sponsored by the California State  
          Association of Letter Carriers, addresses recent actions by the  
          USPS that have resulted in closures of distribution centers,  
          losses of jobs and degradation in the quality of postal service  
          provided by the USPS.  According to the author:


               The USPS is seeking ways to cut costs to its operations  
               in disregard to the service it is mandated to provide.   
               Most of the unfunded costs they are facing are due to  
               actions taken by [C]ongress to restructure their future  
               retiree health benefit program.  Due to these financial  
               issues they are moving to close processing plants across  
               the state.  These plant closures would further slow down  
               the already delayed mail delivery provided by the USPS.   
               Furthermore these closures would seriously impact vote by  
               mail delivery across the state.








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               Additionally, being proposed by the USPS are cuts to  
               Saturday delivery and replacing door to door delivery  
               with cluster boxes for all residential customers.   
               Providing fewer services and less quality will cause more  
               customers to seek other options.  Rural Americans,  
               businesses, senior citizens, and veterans will be hurt  
               the most by ending Saturday mail and removing customer's  
               direct home delivery.


          Quick Background on the USPS.  On a typical day, the USPS  
          processes and delivers 512.8 million pieces of mail to  
          residences and businesses throughout the U.S. including rural,  
          urban, and suburban communities.  (USPS, One day in the life of  
          the U.S. Postal Service?by the numbers  
          .)  Helping to deliver this mail are the 617,000 USPS  
          employees.  (USPS, Size and scope  
          .) 
            In some rural places, it is the physical presence of the post  
          office that defines the community.  In other more urbanized  
          settings, the post office provides important special services  
          such as facilitating passport renewals and providing post office  
          boxes and reliable shipping options for young entrepreneurs. 


          As the USPS works to redefine its role within the shipping and  
          mail delivery sector, it faces very real fiscal challenges.  In  
          federal fiscal year 2014, the USPS registered a loss of $5.5  
          billion, down from a loss of $15.9 billion in fiscal 2012.   
          (Josh Wikes, Postal Service lost $5.5 billion in 2014 despite  
          more gains in operating revenue, Washington Post, Nov. 14,  
          2014.)  There are a variety of contributing factors that affect  
          both the revenues and expenditures of the USPS.  On the revenue  
          side, the volume of first class mail continues to decline as  
          more individuals and businesses turn to the Internet to connect  
          socially and economically.  Much of the mail delivered to homes  








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          and businesses are flyers and other low cost advertising.  On  
          the expenditure side, costs continue to rise and the USPS has a  
          limited ability to impact its fixed costs. 


          USPS Cost Cutting Initiatives.  Since 2012, the USPS has  
          instituted several initiatives aimed at reducing expenses in its  
          mail delivery and processing systems as part of a broader effort  
          to address its fiscal challenges and move towards financial  
          viability.  Some of these initiatives include changing its  
          delivery standards to increase the expected number of days that  
          it can take to deliver some types of mail, consolidating mail  
          processing facilities and realigning its operations to capture  
          potential savings.  It is estimated that 35,000 jobs were  
          eliminated in the first phase of consolidation.  (Angela  
          Greiling Keane, U.S. postal service to cut 35,000 jobs as plants  
          are shut, Bloomberg Business, February 23, 2012).  The second  
          phase seeks to close an additional 82 processing centers, which  
          could impact up to 15,000 USPS jobs nationwide.  Four processing  
          plants are slated for closure in California: Eureka, Redding,  
          Petaluma and City of Industry.  The USPS predicts that the  
          California plant closures will result in a net job loss of  
          approximately 700 California jobs.  (Eric Katz, One map to show  
          where USPS will cut 7,000 jobs, GovExec.com, September 8, 2014).  
           The impact of these closures to consumers is slower mail  
          delivery.    


          Additionally, there have been efforts in Congress to eliminate  
          door-to-door mail delivery.  The USPS has begun strongly  
          encouraging new developments to use cluster boxes as it seeks to  
          reduce door-to-door delivery.  (Lisa J. Huriash, Postal Service  
          ending door-to-door delivery to new developments, South Florida  
          Sun Sentinel, January 31, 2014).  Further efforts in this  
          direction can be seen with the introduction of H.R. 2748, the  
          Postal Reform Act of 2013, which sought to end "to the door"  
          delivery in favor of curbside service or neighborhood cluster  
          boxes.  That bill passed the Committee on Oversight and  
          Government Reform during the 2013-14 Congress.  








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          Legislation Introduced in Congress to Address Reductions Has Yet  
          to be Given a Hearing.  Two resolutions have been introduced in  
          Congress this year seeking to eliminate USPS service cuts and  
          continue six-day delivery, both issues that are addressed by  
          this measure.  First, H. Res. 12 expresses the sense of the  
          House that the USPS should continue six-day a week mail service.  
           That resolution has 212 bipartisan co-sponsors, including 38  
          members from California.  Second, H. Res. 54 expresses the sense  
          of the House that the USPS should restore service standards in  
          effect on July 1, 2012.  That resolution has 198 bipartisan  
          co-sponsors, including 40 from California.  Both resolutions  
          have been referred to the House Committee on Oversight of  
          Government Reform, but neither measure has yet received a  
          hearing.  


          Prior Legislation:  SJR 15 (Hancock), Res. Chap. 122, Stats.  
          2013, urged Congress to pass legislation that reflects the value  
          and intent set forth in the Postal Service Protection Act of  
          2013 in order to ensure the modernization and preservation of  
          the USPS.


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:  In support of the measure, the California  
          Rural Letter Carriers' Association writes:  "We fully believe  
          that this resolution is needed to address the United States  
          Postal Service's plan to shut down mail sorting centers across  
          the California state.  It is a great concern for all of us that  
          their ongoing plans to eliminate 6-day delivery service and  
          phase out door-to-door mail delivery as it currently exists  
          would cause great impact not only on the postal employees by  
          negatively [a]ffect businesses, communities and the economy.   
          Not only does this affect us, but the US military employees who  
          represent 22% who come back to work for the United States Postal  
          Service after duty."










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          Adds the California Labor Federation:  "Protecting mail services  
          protects California workers and ensures stability for the  
          millions relying on the direct [mail] delivery."


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          California State Association of Letter Carriers (sponsor)


          California American Postal Workers Union


          California Federation of National Active and Retired Federal  
          Employees Association


          California Labor Federation


          California Rural Letter Carriers' Association


          National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association


          National Association of Postal Supervisors


          National Postal Mail Handlers Union











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          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Leora Gershenzon and Estevan Villarreal /  
          JUD. / (916) 319-2334