Government, Finance and Administration End-of-Session Bill Roundup
September 16, 2021
Both chambers of the Legislature adjourned before 9 p.m. last Friday night, bringing an end to the 2021 session. Following is an update on major bills of interest or concern for the Government, Finance, and Administration policy area that are now among the 800+ bills awaiting action by Governor Gavin Newsom. CSAC staff will continue to monitor and advocate for County priorities during the signing period, which ends October 10, 2021.
AB 14 (Aguiar-Curry): This bill extends the sunset on the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) surcharge from the end of 2022 to the end of 2032 and closes a loophole that allows VoIP providers to avoid the charge, ensuring the burden is not unfairly shifted to other telecom customers. CSAC strongly supports this bill, which was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
SB 4 (Gonzalez): This bill extends the operation of CASF through the end of 2032, increases the annual limit on funds CASF can collect from $66 million to $150 million, and removes the cumulative cap of the Fund. It also includes language to improve permit streamlining. CSAC strongly supports this bill, which was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
SB 28 (Caballero): This bill expands the authority of the CPUC to collect granular data about digital video and broadband networks in the state and authorizes the CPUC to set customer services requirements for cable providers. Despite amendments in the Assembly Appropriations Committee that removed provisions that would have strengthened DIVCA and compiled a list of state properties that could help deploy broadband, CSAC remains in support of the bill because it takes a step in the right direction by ensuring the CPUC has additional data to enforce its cable franchise oversight powers. SB 28 passed and is waiting for the Governor’s action.
AB 339 (Lee): This bill requires Boards of Supervisors and City Councils in jurisdictions with 250,000 residents or more to offer a two-way telephonic or internet-based service for the public to view and participate in meetings. CSAC successfully advocated for the removal of overly burdensome translation and other requirements. However, CSAC remains opposed to the measure, which lacks flexibility for local governments to conduct Brown Act-compliant meetings in the event of technological failure or public disruption, or to manage comments in a way that allows ensures officials can come to a decision on the matters being considered in a reasonable time. It also explicitly requires an in-person location for the public, even during states of emergency, requiring employees to staff that location even in unsafe circumstances. AB 339 was approved by the Legislature, and now awaits action by Governor Newsom.
AB 361 (R. Rivas): This bill provides, for a limited time, exemptions to teleconferenced public meeting requirements for local legislative bodies and certain state bodies during states of emergency that make it unsafe to meet in person. CSAC strongly supports this measure, as it provides counties with the opportunity to continue holding public meetings remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact local agencies’ ability to meet safely in person. AB 361 was approved by the Legislature, and now awaits action by Governor Newsom.
Labor and Pensions:
SB 270 (Durazo): This bill allows public employee unions to file an unfair labor practice charge before the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) against public employers that fail to fully or accurately disclose employee information to public employee unions. The bill also contains the ability for agencies to cure violations three times in twelve months. Despite a recent amendment extending the period to remedy violations to 20 days, CSAC remains opposed. The measure unnecessarily exposes local agencies to compliance and mitigation costs. SB 270 was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by Governor Newsom.
SB 278 (Leyva): This bill requires public employers to reimburse CalPERS and pay a substantial penalty when CalPERS deems part of a pension benefit to be unlawful after a member has retired, even if CalPERS had previously approved of the benefit during an audit or MOU review. CSAC opposes SB 278 as it creates an unfair financial burden on local agencies and insinuates employer are solely at fault for a collaborative process that includes labor, management, and CalPERS. SB 278 was approved by the Legislature and now awaits the Governor’s action.
SB 606 (Gonzalez): This bill broadens Cal/OSHA’s enforcement authority by establishing a rebuttable presumption that an employer’s written policy that violates specified health and safety regulations exists at all an employer’s worksites if certain conditions are met. Additionally, the bill adds the definition of “egregious violation” that, if met, carries specified additional penalties for employees. Although this bill exists in much better form at present because of several amendments championed by CSAC over the legislative session, CSAC remains opposed to the bill, as it adds unnecessary duplication and confusion that could result in burdensome penalties and litigation. SB 606 was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by Governor Newsom.