Employee Relations 05/24/2013
Suspense File Legislation
AB 252 (Yamada) – Oppose
As Amended on April 2, 2013
AB 252, by Assembly Member Mariko Yamada, would, for employees hired on or after January 1, 2014, place restrictions on when they may be represented by their employer as a social worker. The employee must possess a degree from an accredited school of social work to be classified as such.
CSAC believes the cost pressures created by AB 252, including those associated updating classification structures and salary increase pressures associated with re-classification, cannot be absorbed by counties in the current fiscal climate. Counties continue to see pressures on employee compensation from the continued increase pension costs, increased costs to provide health coverage, and a desire by employees to reverse what for most counties has been several years of little or no pay increases. AB 252 will introduce another difficult issue into that local discussion when it may or may not be the priority of the county or its employees.
AB 252 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 537 (Bonta) – Oppose
As Amended on April 17, 2013
Assembly Bill 537, by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, would prohibit employers from restricting communication between local agency representatives and employee representatives as part of labor negotiation ground rules. This change is contrary to the understood ban on “direct dealing” where a member of a bargaining team communicates directly with the members of the union or the agency. The change is one-sided in that it does not prohibit the union from seeking a ground rule that the employer cannot communicate directly with employees. Additionally, the bill would:
Bind a governing body to any tentative agreement reached by the
bargaining representatives. The MMBA currently states that a
tentative agreement is provided to the governing body for review.
Again, this change is one-sided in that the bill would not bind
the employee representatives to the agreement until ratification
by the employees.
Make three changes related to arbitration: 1) Applies the provisions of the California Arbitration Act to the enforcement of arbitration agreements under the MMBA; 2) Prohibits a rejection of a request for arbitration due to procedural challenges (timelines, failure to exhaust pre-arbitration remedies); and, 3) Makes an agreement to arbitrate a dispute enforceable, even if the conduct in question may also constitute an unfair labor practice.
Require “meet and confer” over local rules rather than “consultation” and subjects an impasse over local rules to factfinding procedures.
AB 537 passed the Assembly Appropriations
Committee. Counties are encouraged to oppose the bill.
AB 616 (Boacanegra) – Oppose
As Amended on April 25, 2013
Assembly Bill 616, by Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra, would allow either an employer or an employee representative to seek a determination from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) as to whether the parties have reached impasse during labor negotiations and would extend the timeline for an employee representative to submit a dispute to factfinding.
It should be noted that AB 616 was substantially amended; its original version would have shifted recognition of employee representative and unit determination from local rules to PERB and shifted designation of management and confidential employees to PERB.
CSAC remains opposed to AB 616. Creating a new process for determining whether impasse has been reached, rather than allowing local rules to dictate, adds an unnecessary administrative layer to the collective bargaining process that will result in delays and costs to both PERB and counties. Additionally, extending the time period from 30 to 60 days for the submission of differences to a factfinding panel will do nothing more than lengthen the negotiating period to the benefit of the party interested in maintaining the status quo.
AB 616 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 407 (Hill) – Watch
As Amended on April 1, 2013
Senate Bill 407, by Senator Jerry Hill, would expand to a local agency deputy chief executive officer or assistant chief executive officer existing law prohibiting an employment contract for a local agency executive from providing an automatic increase of a cost-of-living adjustment.
SB 407 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 218 (Dickinson) - Oppose
As Amended on April 10, 2013
Assembly Bill 218, by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson, would prohibit state agencies and cities, counties, and special districts from asking an applicant for employment to disclose information regarding their conviction history, including on any initial employment application, until the agency
determines that the applicant meets minimum qualifications for
the position. The bill would exempt law enforcement positions from this requirement.
Counties will recall that Assembly Member Dickinson carried a substantially similar bill in the 2011-2012 legislative session, AB 1831. That bill, which was held in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee and only applied to cities and counties. Like AB 1831, CSAC opposes AB 218 because it would remove a county’s discretion to design an employment policy that works locally.
AB 218 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee with the intention to amend the bill to delay the operational date of its provisions.
AB 263 (Hernandez) – Watch
As Amended on April 11, 2013
Assembly Bill 263, by Assembly Member Roger Hernandez, would prohibit an employer from engaging in unfair immigration-related practices (which the bill specifies as: requesting different or futher documents than those that are required under federal law, using the E-Verify system in a manner not required by federal law, and threatening to file or filing a false police report or threatening to contact immigration authorities). The bill authorizes a person subject to an unfair immigration-related practice to bring a civil action and recover reasonable attorney’s fees in a prevailing action and stipulates the penalties associated for violations of the bill’s provisions.
AB 263 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 404 (Jackson) – Pending
As Introduced on February 20, 2013
Senate Bill 404, by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, would expand California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act by including “familial status” as a basis upon which an employer cannot discriminate with regard to the individual’s right to seek, obtain and hold employment. FEHA currently prohibits employers from denying an individual’s right to seek, obtain and hold employment based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, age or sexual orientation.
The bill defines “familial status” as an individual who provides medical or supervisory care to a family member and specifies family as: a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild.
SB 404 was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee with the intention of amending the bill to delete from the definition of “family” a grandparent, grandchild or sibling.
SB 770 (Jackson) – Pending
As Introduced on February 22, 2013
Senate Bill 770, by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, would expand the scope of the Paid Family Leave program by extending its benefits to employees that take time from work to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law.
Created in 2002, the Family Temporary Disability Insurance Program, more popularly known as the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program extends disability compensation to employees who take time away from work to care for a seriously ill child, parent, spouse or domestic partner, or to bond with a new child (both biological and those adopted and/or fostered). The PFL program is funded through employee contributions to the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program; that rate calculation is based on the funding needs for both the SDI and PFL programs. Employees may not receive PFL benefits while receiving SDI, unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation benefits; additionally, those employees who are eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act must take PFL concurrently with those Acts. Further, employees cannot be paid more than six weeks of PFL benefits within a 12-month period.
SB 770 was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 638 (Alejo) – Support
As Introduced on February 20, 2013
Assembly Bill 638, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would allow an employee of an illegally uninsured employer to use an accelerated workers’ compensation court timeline for disputed issues of employment and injury. Currently, the expedited process is reserved only for employees with issues of employment or injury who are represented by an attorney.
AB 638 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 809 (DeSaulnier) – Support
As Amended on May 14, 2013
Senate Bill 809, by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, would create the CURES Fund (Fund) within the State Treasury and require licensed health practitioners and pharmacists, prior to providing patients with Schedule II, III, or IV controlled substances, to access information regarding a patient’s history of controlled substance prescriptions. The bill is aimed at curbing workers’ compensation claimants’ misuse and abuse of prescribed opioids, an increasing concern to, and cost for, employers.
The Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), maintained by the Department of Justice (DOJ), is an electronic monitoring system of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances and provides for the electronic transmission of those controlled substance prescriptions data to the DOJ when they are dispensed.
SB 809 would require health practitioners that prescribe or dispense controlled substances and certain drug wholesalers to pay increased licensing, certification and renewal fees to the CURES Fund. The bill would also require qualified manufactures (those making controlled substances and doing business in California), and health care service plans to pay an annual tax that would be administered by the State Board of Equalization and deposited into the Fund.
SB 809 was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee with the intention of amending the bill to delete the requirement that prescribers consult CURES before prescribing controlled substances, and to require the Medical Board to provide certain educational materials to physicians and hospitals.
AB 517 (Achadjian) – Support
As introduced on February 20, 2013
Assembly Bill 517, by Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian, would provide local public entities in the state of California with the authority to seek regulatory relief from civil penalties imposed by the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).
Current law provides Cal/OSHA with the authority to levy fines upon local agencies for unsafe and/or unhealthy working conditions. School districts, the University of California, the California State University and community college districts are able to seek a refund of Cal/OSHA civil penalties once the conditions that lead to the citation have been identified and remedied and there have been no serious Cal/OSHA violations for at least two years. Assembly Bill 186 (Chapter 141, Statutes of 2005) provided this same allowance to public safety entities. AB 517 would permit all local government agencies to seek Cal/OSHA civil fine rebates under those same conditions.
AB 517 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 1277 (Skinner) - Oppose
As Amended on April 18, 2013
Assembly Bill 1277, by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, would revise various provisions regarding citations issued by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the persons or entities who are authorized to participate as a party in an appeal before the Appeals Board, and the procedures that govern the Appeals Board in hearing and deciding appeals. Specifically, AB 1277 would provide the right of due process to an affected employee when an employer seeks a permanent variance from a Cal-OSHA standard. Additionally, AB 1277 would require Cal/OSHA to apply regulations adopted by the Department of Industrial Relations regarding occupational safety and health as well as liberally construe current law when adjudicating appeals. The bill would also set parameters for Cal/OSHA to reduce, in certain specified cases, the penalty below the current statutory minimum $5,000 per violation fine for failure to timely report a workplace injury, illness, or death and to impose enhanced penalties in egregious cases.
AB 1277 would additionally provide that at any time within 30 days after the service of any final order or decision made and filed by the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board, any person aggrieved directly or indirectly may petition the Appeals Board for reconsideration in respect to any matters determined or covered by the final order or decision.
AB 1277 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Public Records Act
SB 570 (DeSaulnier) – Oppose Unless Amended
As Amended on April 16, 2013
Senate Bill 570, by Senator Mark DeSaulnier would, within statute governing the Public Records Act, require public agencies to accept credit cards as payment for a copy of a public record when the record is 20 or fewer pages in length. The bill would additionally prohibits a public agency from charging for copies of records when:
The records are in PDF format.
The records consist of data extracted from a database, if new programming is not required to extract the data.
CSAC believes that SB 570 would be a cost burden for counties
that would need to install a credit card option to meet the
requirements of the bill and for those counties which currently
accept credit cards but require a minimum purchase amount, as
they will be incurring additional costs due to the per
transaction charges most credit card companies impose on
SB 570 was passed off of the Senate Appropriations Suspense File with the intention of amending the bill to delete the provision to require payment by
credit card for requests of 20 or fewer pages of records.
AB 639 (Pérez) – Support
As Introduced on February 20, 2013
Assembly Bill 639, by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, would place on the 2014 state ballot the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act (Act).
Voters approved the Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008, which provided $900 million in general obligation bonds to fund a program that enables veterans to purchase single family homes, farms and mobile homes. Since its passage, the full $900 million remains unspent.
AB 639 would restructure $600 million of the existing bonds to construct and rehabilitate multifamily veterans’ housing with a focus on veterans who are at risk of homelessness or are homeless and in need of services such as mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, job training and who are struggling with unemployment.
AB 639 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 296 (Correa) – Support
As Amended on April 1, 2013
Senate Bill 296, by Senator Lou Correa, would increase by $9 million the amount of state assistance provided to counties to fund the activities of county veterans service officers.
Funding for CVSOs is shared by counties and the state, with counties currently providing 84 percent of the costs associated with services provided by CVSOs and the State providing the remaining 16 percent. The State’s allocation of funding for CVSOs to counties has not changed in 18 years; as many veterans are, and will be, returning to counties from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to expand these services by increasing the State’s share of funding for CVSOs.
SB 296 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee.