Government Finance and Administration End-of-Session Bill Roundup
September 2, 2022
California’s legislative session came to a close in the early morning hours this week with hundreds of bills now awaiting action by Governor Gavin Newsom. The following provides an update on major bills of interest for the Government, Finance, and Administration policy area. CSAC staff will continue to monitor and advocate for County priorities during the signing period, which ends September 30, 2022.
AB 2256 (Quirk-Silva): This bill, which is co-sponsored by CSAC, would add two local government officials to the Middle-Mile Advisory Committee (MMAC) – one appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly and one appointed by the Senate Rules Committee. Currently, the MMAC does not include local government representatives. Including representatives from local government is important to ensuring the success of a statewide middle-mile network, providing a perspective different from the many state representatives on the committee, and serving as a liaison between the committee and local officials around the state who know the needs and gaps within their communities. This bill was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
AB 2449 (Rubio): This bill, until January 1, 2026, would authorize members of a legislative body of a local agency to use teleconferencing without complying with the teleconferencing requirements that each teleconference location be identified in the notice and agenda and that each teleconference location be accessible to the public if at least a quorum of the members of the legislative body participates in person from a singular physical location clearly identified on the agenda that is open to the public and situated within the local agency’s jurisdiction. Under this exception, the bill would authorize a member to participate remotely under specified circumstances, including participating remotely for just cause or due to emergency circumstances. The emergency circumstances basis for remote participation would be contingent on a request to, and action by, the legislative body. This bill would also impose prescribed requirements for this exception relating to notice, agendas, the means and manner of access, and procedures for disruptions, among other changes. CSAC remains neutral on this measure, which was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
SB 1100 (Cortese): This bill, which was co-sponsored by CSAC and Urban Counties of California, clearly states in statute that the presiding member of a legislative body can remove individuals who are disrupting a public meeting. Before removal, the presiding member must warn the disruptive individual and give the individual an opportunity to cease their disruptive behavior. This important change to the Brown Act will help local agencies ensure that public meetings are safe and accessible to all members of the public. Governor Newsom signed this measure on August 22, 2022.
Labor and Pensions:
AB 2493 (Chen): This bill would make several changes to the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL) regarding pension calculation adjustments arising from erroneous inclusion of disallowed compensation, including requiring participating county employers to reimburse their respective retirement system for pension overpayments made to peace officer and firefighter retirees arising from erroneous employer reporting of disallowed compensation, and pay affected retirees a lump sum amount equal to 20 percent of the actuarial equivalent present value of a retiree’s “lost” pension going forward due to the system’s recalculation of the retiree’s benefit to exclude the disallowed compensation. This bill would place a significant financial burden on counties and agencies by requiring member agencies of county retirement systems to pay substantial penalties for decisions they did not make and over which they had no authority. CSAC was opposed to this measure, which was held by the author on the last day of session due to concerns raised by counties.
SB 284 (Stern): 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. CSAC remains opposed to this bill, which was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
SB 931 (Leyva): This bill would require the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to impose civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each affected employee, not to exceed $100,000 in total, on public employers if it finds the employers deterred or discouraged employees from exercising collective bargaining rights. Additionally, the bill requires employers to pay attorney’s fees unless PERB finds the claim to be frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless. As part of a large coalition of public employers, CSAC remains opposed to this bill on the basis that this new authority could expose public entities, even those acting in good faith, to significant new liability. Additionally, the coalition notes that SB 931 fails to equitably provide attorney’s fees and costs to either prevailing party, including the employer. CSAC remains opposed to this bill, which was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
SB 1127 (Atkins):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. CSAC remains opposed to this bill due to the financial burden and liability it would place on counties. SB 1127 was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
SB 1313 (Hertzberg): This bill would prohibit the County of Los Angeles from providing an employee represented by an employee organization a health benefit plan that provides fewer benefits than health plans offered to employees not represented by an employee organization. CSAC remains opposed to this bill on the basis that directives such as those included in SB 1313 may create unprecedented costs and create severe downstream effects on future bargaining benefits as counties attempt to balance the collective bargaining process with the unknown aspect that the Legislature may intervene and require a different level or application of benefits not bargained for. SB 1313 was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.
Sales and Use Tax:
AB 1951 (Grayson): 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 public safety, 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. CSAC remains opposed to this bill, which was approved by the Legislature and now awaits action by the Governor.