CSAC Legislative Update 10/15/2013
CSAC staff has been following a number of bills that were on the Governor’s desk right up until the deadline on Sunday. Here are some of the more pertinent pieces of legislation the Governor acted on over the weekend. These are brief synopses. We’ll provide more details and a comprehensive look at the 2013 Legislative Session in the regular edition of the Bulletin on Friday, October 18.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
SB 804 (Lara) – Support
Vetoed on October 11, 2013
SB 804 (Lara), the CSAC/ LA County co-sponsored measure on biomass and conversion technology, was vetoed by the Governor on Friday. As you recall, this bill would have added conversion technologies to the definition of biomass, enabling the use of thermal, chemical and biological technologies to process biomass material, establishing a clear regulatory pathway for these technologies, while providing them the same incentives afforded to traditional biomass combustion facilities in state law. In his veto message, the Governor stated that while he agrees with the intent of the bill, but that last minute amendments made the bill “overly complicated and unworkable.” However, the Governor did direct Cal Recycle to work with stakeholders to develop a sensible approach to apply to all biomass facilities. While discouraged by the veto, CSAC and LA County will continue to work on this issue and are encouraged by the Governor’s direction to Cal Recycle to work with collaboratively with us. CSAC and LA County have already initiated meetings with the Administration and stakeholders to talk about next steps.
The Governor’s veto message is available here.
Government Finance and Operations
SB 594 (Hill) – Support
The Governor signed this bill, which restricts local government associations like CSAC from using revenues associated with conduit bond financing on ballot measure campaigns. CSAC negotiated significant changes with the proponents of the bill and were able to recommend the Governor sign the bill.
Housing, Land Use and Transportation
AB 325 (Alejo) – Opposition removed
Chapter No. 767, Statutes of 2013
AB 325, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, expands the statute of limitations for legally challenging the adoption of a housing element or a number of related local ordinances. As counties recall, CSAC removed its opposition to the bill after negotiating a tolerable statute of limitations and an agreement with the sponsors not to seek further amendments to the statute of limitations for at least three years.
The Governor signed AB 325 on October 12.
AB 1229 (Atkins) – Support
AB 1229, by Assembly Member Atkins, would have affirmed cities’ and counties’ authority to require inclusionary housing as a condition of development. In his veto message, the Governor expressed his belief that requiring the construction of “below-market units” as part of development projects can exacerbate the cost of developing in low and moderate income communities without “meaningfully increasing” affordable housing options. He also argued that adjustments to the law should await the California Supreme Court’s ruling on cities’ ability to require inclusionary housing.
The Governor vetoed AB 1229 on October 13.
Administration of Justice
AB 68 (Maienschein): Medical Parole – Notification to Counties
Governor Brown signed AB 68 into law. This measure, by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, requires the transmittal of pertinent information about inmates being released from state prison on medical parole to ensure that affected jurisdictions are timely informed of parolees’ post-release care plans.
AB 537 (Bonta) – Chaptered
Chapter No. 785, Statutes of 2013
Assembly Bill 537, by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, made changes to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act regarding tentative agreements and arbitration. Counties will recall that CSAC, along with other public agency stakeholders, worked diligently with the bill’s sponsors and the Administration to pare down the bill from its original introduction.
AB 729 (Hernandez) - Vetoed
Assembly Bill 537, by Assembly Member Roger Hernandez, would have established an evidentiary privilege to prohibit the disclosure of confidential communications between represented employees and their union agents. In his veto message, Governor Brown stated,”I don’t believe it is appropriate to put communications with a union agent on equal footing with communications with one’s spouse, priest, physician or attorney. Moreover, this bill could compromise the ability of employers to conduct investigations into workplace safety, harassment and other allegations.”
AB 1373 (Perez, J) - Vetoed
Assembly Bill 1373, by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, would have extended from 240 weeks to 480 weeks the statute of limitations for when a claim can be filed for death benefits for dependents of a firefighter or peace officer who dies of certain occupational injuries (cancer, blood-borne infections diseases and tuberculosis). Counties will recall that Speaker Perez last year carried the same bill, AB 2451, which was vetoed by the Governor. A previous version of AB 1373 did not contain a specific time period for the statute of limitations. Sponsors of the bill maintained that this was to allow for discussions between stakeholders regarding time periods that will fairly compensate surviving dependents while maintaining the interests of public agencies to appropriately plan for potential budget obligations.
SB 313 – Chaptered
Chapter No. 779, Statutes of 2013
Senate Bill 313, by Senator Kevin de Leon, prohibits a public agency from taking punitive action against a public safety officer, or denying promotion on grounds other than merit, because that officer’s name is placed on a Brady list. The Brady list is any system, index, list, or other record containing the names of peace officers whose personnel files are likely to contain evidence of dishonesty or bias, which is maintained by a prosecutorial agency or office in accordance with the holding in Brady v. Maryland.
SB 313 does, however, allow a public agency to take punitive or personnel action against a public safety officer based on the underlying acts or omissions for which that officer’s name was placed on the Brady list, but prohibits the introduction of any evidence that an officer’s name was placed on a Brady list in any administrative appeal of a punitive action.