Employee Relations 02/08/2013
Two New Appointments to PERB
Governor Brown last week announced two appointments to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). PERB is the state agency that administers the collective bargaining statutes which cover public school employees, state employees, employees of local public agencies (cities, counties and special districts), and trial court employees. The Governor appointed:
- Eric Banks, who has been partner at TenPageMemo LLC since 2013 and has served in multiple positions at the Service Employees International Union. He was a policy associate for state government affairs at the New York AIDS Coalition from 2000 to 2001 and worked at the Southern Tier AIDS Program from 1993 to 2000, including director of client services, assistant director of client services and case manager. Banks is a Democrat.
- Priscilla Winslow, who has served at PERB as a legal advisor since 2012. Previously, she was assistant chief counsel at the California Teachers Association and managing partner at the Law Offices of Winslow and Fassler from 1988 to 1996. She was an adjunct professor at New College of California from 1984 to 1993 and was associate attorney at Boltuch and Siegel from 1984 to 1986. Winslow served as legal advisor to the PERB chair from 1979 to 1983. She was staff counsel for the National Treasury Employees Union from 1978 to 1979 and chief counsel for the Clerical and Allied Services Employees Union from 1977 to 1978. Winslow is a member of the American Constitution Society and the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar and earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. Winslow is a Democrat.
Both appointments require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $128,109.
CalPERS Employer Roundtable
Staff of the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS) held an Employer Roundtable this week to provide CSAC and others with updates on initiatives underway at CalPERS. Highlights of the meeting include:
- CalPERS will propose regulations related to the implementation of the Public Employee’s Pension Reform Act (PEPRA). A first round of regulations will be proposed in February and in March the Board will consider regulations around the definition of pensionable compensation. CSAC will provide a thorough review of the proposed regulations once they are made public.
- CalPERS Chief Actuary, Alan Milligan, reported plans to begin a discussion with the CalPERS Board regarding its actuarial policies. Possible changes include asset smoothing and amortization policies as well as acceptable risk corridors. A workshop on this topic will be held at CalPERS on February 21. These changes are important to counties because they will likely result in increases to county pension contribution rates.
- Ann Boyton, Deputy Executive Officer, announced the timeline for new health plan procurement. The CalPERS Board will select a new PPO plan in March and new HMO plans in April.
Finally, there was considerable discussion of the customer service provided to employers contracting with CalPERS. To that end, the CalPERS staff is open to feedback about how counties interact with and receive information from CalPERS. Please contact Eraina Ortega with any suggestions you have to improve communication and customer service to counties.
SB 146 (Lara) – Pending
As Introduced on January 31, 2013
Senate Bill 146, by Senator Ricardo Lara, is a bill intended to provide technical clean-up for last year’s workers’ compensation reform legislation, Senate Bill 863 (Chapter No. 363, Statutes of 2012).
Included in SB 863 was a requirement for the medical billing process, specifically that service providers (including physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, interpreters, copy services, transportation services and home health care services) must include the prescription or referral from the primary treating physician in a request for payment of a workers’ compensation pharmacy claim if the services were performed by a person other than the primary treating physician.
Accordingly, the Division of Workers’ Compensation adopted a new electronic billing standard for pharmacy bills – however, that standard does not currently support the inclusion of attachments (i.e., a prescription). Approval of a claim is at risk if lack of compliance with the inclusion of the prescription deems a bill incomplete, to avoid unnecessarily denied claims, AB 146 proposes to remove the requirement to include a copy of the prescription and give pharmacy providers the ability to re-bill for any claims denied for not including a copy until a correction can be implemented into law.
AB 146 is awaiting assignment to a policy committee.
SB 24 (Walters) – Watch
As Introduced on December 3, 2012
Senate Bill 24, by Senator Mimi Walters, would authorize a local agency public employer or public retirement system that offers a defined benefit pension plan to offer a benefit formula with a lower benefit factor at normal retirement age and a lower normal cost than the benefit formulas that are currently required.
SB 24 is awaiting a hearing date in the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee.
SB 54 (Hancock) – Support
As amended February 7, 2013
Senate Bill 54, by Senator Loni Hancock, would allow Alameda County to implement a new pension tier negotiated with specified county employees.
With last year’s passage of the Public Employment Pension Reform Act (PEPRA), the Legislature set a ceiling for pension benefits provided to new employees. Further, PEPRA recognized that local employers would continue to negotiate with employee representatives regarding cost sharing agreements and further containment of pension costs. CSAC is supporting SB 54, as it is the product of local employees coming together with Alameda County to achieve savings that will protect local jobs and services.
SB 54 will be heard on February 11 in the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee.
AB 11 (Logue) – Watch
As Introduced on January 28, 2013
Assembly Bill 11, by Assembly Member Dan Logue, would amend existing law −which requires an employer employing 50 or more employees to permit an employee who is a volunteer firefighter to take temporary leaves of absence for the purpose of engaging in fire or law enforcement training − to require those employers to permit an employee who performs emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter, reserve peace officer, or as emergency rescue personnel to take such a leave of absence to participate in fire, law enforcement or emergency rescue training.
AB 11 is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.
AB 25 (Campos) – Watch
As Introduced on December 3, 2012
Assembly Bill 25, by Assembly Member Nora Campos, would apply existing law restricting employer access to an employee’s social media to public employers. Counties will recall AB 1844 by Assembly Member Nora Campos (Chapter No. 618, Statutes of 2012) which prohibited an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, to access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or to divulge any personal social media.
AB 25 would extend those provisions to public employers. The bill is awaiting a hearing date in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
AB 151 (Olsen) – Support
As Introduced on January 18, 2013
Assembly Bill 151, by Assembly Member Kristin Olsen, would authorize the governing board of any county or city to grant financial assistance, relief, and support to disabled veterans by waiving service-related fees, including building and inspection fees, charged by the county or city.
It is CSAC’s understanding that the author’s intention for the bill is to allow governing boards of counties and cities to waive building and inspection permit fees for Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) modifications to homes that are owned by veterans with service-related disabilities. This bill is a reintroduction of AB 1592 (Olsen), which died last year in the Senate.
AB 151 is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Local Government Committee.