CSAC Legislative Update
August 25, 2022
The legislative session is winding down to a close with less than a week to determine the fate of several hundred bills. As the August 31 deadline draws closer, the Senate and Assembly continue to debate and amend bills with significant potential impact on California counties.
Below is an update on key bills of interest to counties:
AB 1608 (Gipson)— OPPOSE. This bill prohibits the consolidation of the county sheriff and coroner office, which impacts 48 of our 58 counties that have combined the duties of the coroner and sheriff’s department. CSAC and the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) are jointly opposed to this bill as it would create significant one-time, and increased ongoing costs to counties, while removing the existing authority of our boards of supervisors. CSAC has been engaged throughout the year with the Legislature, but to date, the author and co-sponsors have been reluctant to make changes to address county concerns. AB 1608 is currently on the Senate Floor.
AB 1951 (Grayson) — OPPOSE. This bill would exempt the local share of sales tax for manufacturing companies that buy equipment for the next five years. AB 1951 would cut local budgets by over $2 billion over five years, reducing revenue for fire protection, anti-poverty programs, behavioral health, and other critical local services. Notably, because 1991 Realignment and Proposition 172 funds are distributed through statewide formulas, every county would experience cuts, regardless of where in the state the manufacturing investments are made. AB 1951 is expected to be considered by the Senate in the coming days and, if passed by the Senate, will be returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. Update: AB 1951 has passed both houses with a number of legislators withholding their votes. The bill now goes to the Governor for his consideration.
AB 2201 (Bennet) — OPPOSE. AB 2201 started as a bill to require a groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) in a critically over-drafted basin to establish and implement a process to issue permits for groundwater extraction facilities by July 1, 2023. CSAC engaged with the author and committee to discuss implications of shifting well permitting away from the counties. However, amendments prohibit local governments from approving a new well, or alterations to an existing well unless specific conditions are met. CSAC opposes AB 2201, which is awaiting action on the floor of the Senate.
AB 2234 (Rivas) — OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED. This bill would establish time limits for approval and requires online permitting of postentitlement permits. It would create practical concerns for the ability of local governments to effectively review applications and would impose costly mandates for electronic permitting on large counties and cities of any size within those counties without providing state funding to offset these costs.
Specifically, this bill requires local agencies to complete review, either return in writing a full set of comments to the applicant with a comprehensive request for revisions or return the approved permit application, and electronically notify the applicant of its determination within 30 business days of the application being complete for housing development projects with 25 units or fewer; or 60 business days of the application being complete for housing development projects with 26 units or more. AB 2234 would mandate costly electronic permitting, but it would not provide any state funding to accomplish this goal, despite the significant costs identified in the Statewide Housing Plan. This bill is on the Senate Floor on the Third Reading File.
AB 2550 (Arambula) — OPPOSE. AB 2550 would remove local control from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District by transferring responsibility to regulate stationary pollution sources to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB already has the authority to oversee local air quality management activities, and works closely in the development of air pollution plans. CSAC opposes AB 2550, which passed the Senate and is awaiting action by the Assembly.
SB 262 (Hertzberg) — WATCH. This bill would require the Judicial Council, by January 1, 2023, to adopt a statewide bail schedule for criminal offenses; establishes requirements of the court for an arrestee’s ability to pay when a court sets money bail, as well as circumstances when a court must order money or property paid to a bail bond company to be returned; amongst other requirements. SB 262 was recently moved off the inactive file and is on the Assembly Floor. There are likely forthcoming author amendments to the bill, which must be adopted by today’s amendment deadline (8/25/22).
SB 284 (Stern) — OPPOSE. This bill would expand an existing industrial injury presumption for a diagnosis of a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for peace officers and firefighters to additional safety and non-sworn personnel including public safety dispatchers, public safety telecommunicators, and emergency response communication employees, along with a number of additional state agencies. While recognizing that both sworn and non-sworn personnel need access to the workers’ compensation system, CSAC, along with a large coalition of public employers and advocates, are opposed to this expansion on the basis that SB 284 lacks any relevant data that the current system is inaccessible or not working appropriately to provide California employees with fair access to the workers’ compensation system. SB 284 was passed by the Assembly on August 22, 2022, and is expected to be considered in the Senate for a concurrence vote shortly.
SB 848 (Umberg) — CONCERN. This bill extends the sunset date authorizing remote court appearances in civil cases. Recent amendments prohibit remote proceedings for specified juvenile delinquency and civil commitment proceedings. CSAC has expressed significant concerns with the amendments and the impact it will have on court proceedings, county staff, and those who will be required to appear in-person. SB 848 is currently on the Assembly Floor.
SB 897 (Wieckowski) — OPPOSE. Amongst a variety of provisions, this bill seeks to increase the height maximum of accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) from 16 to 18 feet for parcels with an existing multistory building or 20 feet for a multifamily or single-family parcel located within a half mile of transit. This bill also adds a provision that sets a minimum height requirement of 25 feet for ADUs that are attached to a primary single-family residence. Finally, this bill places many restrictions or prohibitions on county abilities to enforce existing building code requirements on the types of ADU’s impacted by this bill. This bill is on the Assembly Floor on the Third Reading File.
SB 928 (Wieckowski) — SUPPORT. This measure, which was signed by Governor Newsom last week, increases the fee a county Public Administrator may charge for managing estates and making final arrangements for descendants without known or willing relatives. The minimum compensation threshold of $1,000, which was set nearly 20 years ago, will be increased to $3,000 beginning on January 1, 2023. SB 928, while modest, will help Public Administrators recover some costs, where appropriate, associated with managing the estates and probate process for decedents.
SB 1127 (Atkins) — OPPOSE. This bill would reduce the timeframe for employers to investigate workers’ compensation claims, increase penalties on employers for “unreasonably” denying claims, and significantly increase the duration of temporary disability for cancer presumption claims. Although recent amendments to the bill partially reverse some of the shortened timeframes for employers to investigate workers’ compensation claims, CSAC, along with a large coalition of public and private employers remain opposed to SB 1127 due to the financial burden and liability it would place on counties. SB 1121 is expected to be considered by the Assembly in the coming days and, if passed by the Assembly, will be returned to the Senate for a concurrence vote.
SB 1186 (Weiner) — OPPOSE. This bill was amended with the intent of improving access to medical cannabis, however, CSAC has serious concerns about the preservation of local control. The language would require all jurisdictions to allow for delivery sales of medicinal cannabis and prohibit regulations that would impose “unreasonable restrictions” on the sale of medicinal cannabis. Amendments released this week provide exemptions for jurisdictions that allow cannabis retails as of January 1, 2022, however CSAC remains opposed to SB 1186. The bill is scheduled to be on the floor of the Senate this week, and then will need to be considered by the Assembly.
SB 1302 (Portantino) — OPPOSE. This bill appropriates $250 million from the Mental Health Services Fund to support the school-based health centers through grants issued by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Although the intent of establishing and improving the provision of behavioral health services to students at school-based health centers is meritorious, counties strongly oppose any effort to redirect Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding to other services instead of the local services for which it was originally intended.
SB 1338 (Umberg/Eggman) — CONCERN. Sponsored by Governor Newsom, this measure which creates the new Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) court process, moved off the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s Suspense File with numerous amendments. Prior to the bill’s consideration on the Suspense File, CSAC and county partners submitted a joint letter to the Committee outlining continued policy and fiscal concerns with the proposal, including the lack of funding and resources for counties to support the new duties and responsibilities outlined in the bill which are estimated to cost at minimum in the hundreds of millions of dollars. While the recent amendments do provide improvements to the bill, some operational and implementation issues continue to be discussed. Additionally, significant fiscal concerns remain. SB 1338 is currently pending on the Assembly Floor. Additional amendments, which are not yet in print, were announced and adopted on the Assembly Floor today.
SB 1342 (Bates) — SUPPORT. This bill would authorize counties and area agencies on aging to create aging multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to allow for information sharing among entities providing services to older adults. Modeled off of the homelessness MDTs authorized by 2017 legislation, these aging services MDTs would improve service delivery, increase coordination, and support integrated case management. SB 1342 is sponsored by Orange County and is currently pending a final vote in the Senate.