Governor’s Final Legislative Actions for 2019
October 18, 2019
Sunday, October 13, was the deadline for Governor Newsom to sign or veto all legislation on his desk for the first year of the 2019-20 regular legislative session. According to the Governor’s Office, he signed 870 of the 1,042 bills that reached his desk in 2019. In his first term, Governor Newsom vetoed 172 bills, resulting in a veto rate of 16.5%, which is the same veto rate his predecessor Governor Jerry Brown had in 2018. Below, we have included a synopsis of bills significant to counties from the 2019 legislative year the Governor either signed or vetoed.
Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources
This bill by Senator Bill Dodd requires the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to collaborate with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Conservation, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and others to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages in California’s streams in order to provide better data about California’s vital ecosystems. The data collected from this network of stream gauges would help address gaps in information that could improve management and conservation of freshwater species. CSAC supported the bill because Data collection and accurate measurements are vital to good policy making; you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
This bill by Senator Mike McGuire requires the creation of an organic certification program for cannabis and manufactured cannabis products. In addition, the bill would also require the Department of Food and Agriculture to develop standards for a cultivator to designate a country of origin for its cannabis products. CSAC supported SB 185 because it will help create brand awareness for counties and regions of the state that produce and manufacture high quality or organic cannabis products.
This bill by Senator Anna Caballero allows the regulated cultivation of industrial hemp and cannabis to be treated as agricultural and compatible uses, within an agricultural preserve and thus eligible to participate in the Williamson Act. CSAC supported this measure in conjunction with the Rural County Representatives of California.
This bill by Senator Bill Monning allows County Agricultural Commissioners to include county cannabis crop information in reports to California Department of Food and Agriculture. Specifically, this bill allows County Agricultural Commissioners to voluntarily submit information regarding state cultivator license type, local license type, price tier, production methods, and other pieces of important information in their annual reports. CSAC supported the measure because information provided voluntarily by County Agricultural Commissioners will provide more data to help California encourage a well-regulated and vibrant cannabis economy.
This bill by Senator Anna Caballero allows for the expansion of reusable household hazardous materials exchange programs in a way that protects consumers and the environment. CSAC supported this bill because it helps decrease landfill disposal of potentially harmful products while providing the benefit of access to materials that could be reused in the community.
The AENR team also advocated on several wildfire measures that were signed by Governor Newsom earlier in the month. A list of those bills can be found in this CSAC bulletin article.
This bill by Assembly Member Laura Friedman would have required Cal Fire to establish a statewide program to certify and allow qualified entities, including counties, to support and augment the department in its defensible space and home hardening assessment and education efforts. However, the Governor vetoed the bill due to concerns over the bill’s broad swath approach that did not reflect the individual needs of communities. CSAC supported the bill and will continue to work with the Administration on ways to improve defensible space and home hardening.
Administration of Justice
This bill by Assembly Member David Chiu provides limited immunity from lawsuits and other claims associated with the property owner or public entities’ participation in the lead abatement program. CSAC supported the bill.
This bill by Assembly Member Marc Levine extends the authorization for the use of flash incarceration by probation departments for individuals on probation or mandatory supervision until January 1, 2023. AB 597 was sponsored by the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) and supported by CSAC.
This bill by Assembly Member Mark Stone expands eligibility for the youth deferred entry of judgment pilot program to defendants who are older than 21 years of age but under 25 years of age at the time of the offense with approval of the multidisciplinary team established by the county. AB 1390 was sponsored by CPOC and supported by CSAC.
This bill by Assembly Member Todd Gloria would have adjusted the distribution of civil penalties recovered by governmental entities in Unfair Competition Law actions. CSAC opposed the bill. The Governor’s veto message can be found here.
This bill by Senator Jim Beall would have increased the fee charged to counties to send a youth to the Division of Juvenile Justice. Given that the final decision as to where youth are placed following adjudication is one decided by a juvenile court judge, CSAC argued that this legislation would do little to prevent youth from being sent to DJJ and instead result in significant financial impacts on counties. CSAC, additionally, argued that this fiscal impact, especially in smaller counties, will negatively impact counties and the progress we have made to enhance services and could put programming for youth in jeopardy. CSAC and CPOC opposed this measure. The Governor’s veto message can be found here.
Health and Human Services
This bill by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago expands the authority of current county homeless adult and family multidisciplinary personnel teams (MDT) in seven counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Clara, and Ventura. It allows these counties to expand data sharing activities to include individuals who are at risk of homelessness. In addition, the bill expands who can be included in a MDT. CSAC supported the bill.
AB 1088 (Chapter 450, Statutes of 2019)
This bill by Assembly Member Jim Wood requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to ask the federal government for permission to implement an income disregard for aged, blind, or disabled individual on Medi-Cal who have a portion of their Medicare Part B premiums paid for by the state. CSAC supported the bill.
AB 1301 (Chapter 827, Statutes of 2019)
This bill by Assembly Member Ken Cooley transfers the administration of the Private Adoption Agency Reimbursement Program (PAARP) from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to county welfare departments. Additionally, the bill changes the maximum reimbursement rates for private adoption agencies through the PAARP. Now, county welfare departments may use any unspent funds for additional permanency related activities. AB 1301 was sponsored by the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) and supported by CSAC.
AB 1377 (Chapter 461, Statutes of 2019)
This bill by Assembly Member Buffy Wicks requires CDSS, DHCS, the Department of Education (CDE), and stakeholders to examine ways to increase enrollment for free and reduced meals program participants into the CalFresh nutrition benefit program. The bill requires the departments and stakeholders to identify barriers and solutions to a streamlined statewide data sharing system. AB 1377 was also sponsored by CWDA and supported by CSAC.
SB 228 (Chapter 742, Statutes of 2019)
This bill by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson requires the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency to coordinate with the Director of the Department of Aging to lead the implementation process for the Master Plan for Aging established by Executive Order N-14-19 and identify policy changes needed to prepare for California’s aging population. The Governor released a press release on SB 228 here. The Master Plan for Aging Stakeholder Advisory Committee includes representatives from a wide range of systems; including Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. CSAC supported the bill and will continue to engage with the administration on the Master Plan for Aging.
SB 438 (Chapter 389, Statutes of 2019)
This bill by Senator Robert Hertzberg prohibits local emergency medical service agencies (LEMSAs) operated by counties from contracting with private entities for secondary 9-1-1 dispatch duties unless the local fire agency declines to take over those duties. It allows current joint powers and cooperation agreements to continue, and as amended, preserves the medical control authority of the county medical director. CSAC ultimately adopted a neutral position on the bill.
AB 914 (Holden)
This bill by Assembly Member Chris Holden would have allowed county welfare departments to indefinitely suspend Medi-Cal eligibility for incarcerated individuals under the age of 26, past the one year limitation in current statue. However, the Governor vetoed the bill due to concerns about it differing from current federal law and the potential for state General Fund costs. CSAC supported the bill and will continue to work with the Newsom administration to streamline the Medi-Cal eligibility process for those who are incarcerated to ensure access to health and behavioral health services once released.
SB 10 (Beall)
This bill by Senator Jim Beall would have required DHCS, in consultation with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, to establish a statewide behavioral health peer support specialist certification program for individuals with lived behavioral health experience. However, the Governor vetoed the measure but indicated that he wanted to work with counties on this issue in future legislation and the budget process. CSAC had supported the bill.
SB 428 (Pan)
This bill by Senator Richard Pan would have required the California Department of Education to provide local education agencies (LEA) with evidence-based mental and behavioral health “Mental Health First Aid” programs for training classified school employees who have direct contact with children and youth. However, implementation of the bill was contingent on a future unspecified appropriation in the state budget and Governor Newsom vetoed the bill. CSAC had supported the bill, which was sponsored by the County Behavioral Health Directors Association.
This bill by Senator Anthony Portantino would have required DHCS to convene an advisory workgroup to work on the development of quality standards for youth substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. The Governor vetoed the bill on cost concerns but indicated that stakeholders, including counties, should continue to engage DHCS on the issue to ensure access to youth SUD treatment services. CSAC had supported the bill.
Government, Finance and Administration
This bill by Assembly Member Christy Smith, which CSAC supported, will allow the State Controller to automatically transfer unclaimed property in the name of a county or other local agency, without the requirement that the local agency affirmatively claim that property. This should significantly streamline the return of funds to counties.
Despite CSAC’s advocacy efforts to oppose SB 542 by Senator Henry Stern, the bill still moved to the Governor’s desk and was ultimately signed. The measure creates a new workers’ compensation presumption for post-traumatic stress injury for specified peace officers and firefighting personnel. While CSAC and other local government advocates opposed the bill and requested a veto, it had been considerably narrowed from its original form. Amendments included narrowing the bill to only post-traumatic stress injury, rather than all mental health disorders; removing retroactive provisions; and imposing a sunset date of January 1, 2025.
This bill by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, which CSAC opposed, would have expanded terms used to establish eligible employee orientation activities under release time, unwinding a recently enacted agreement by requiring employers to give release time to employees who serve as the exclusive representative at new employee orientations. As the Governor noted in his veto message, “this issue is best left to the collective bargaining process so that governing authorities and public employee unions can best determine their priorities and needs at the bargaining table.”
This bill by Assembly Member Todd Gloria, which CSAC opposed, would have required public agencies to retain all emails for a minimum of two years, under the guise of furthering the purposes of the Public Records Act, despite not expanding the definition of a public record. In his veto message, the Governor noted that the bill would have imposed “a dramatic increase in records-retention requirements, including associated personnel and data-management costs to taxpayer,” without a meaningful increase in transparency.
This bill by Senator Jim Beall, which CSAC supported, would have made a significant amount of state funds (up to $2 billion per year over time) available to local agencies for affordable housing, infrastructure, and community development. In his veto message, the Governor noted that “legislation with such a significant fiscal impact needs to be part of budget deliberations so that it can be considered in light of other priorities.”
This bill by Senator Ben Allen, which CSAC opposed for cost reasons, would have required counties with a population over 400,000 to establish independent redistricting commissions to draw supervisorial districts. In his veto message, the Governor referenced the fact that local jurisdictions are already authorized to establish independent, advisory, or hybrid redistricting commissions. It was also one of the many bills that the Governor noted would cost the state money, and therefore, he argues, should be considered in the annual budget process.
This bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski, which CSAC opposed, would have limited the use of pretrial settlements for lawsuits related to the Public Records Act. The arguments made by the coalition of public agencies opposing the bill were echoed in the Governor’s veto message: “Preventing public agencies from making good-faith efforts to settle litigation by providing additional records that may have been inadvertently overlooked or mistakenly withheld actually delays timely disclosure. This legislation would provide a perverse incentive for more litigation instead of more transparency.”
Housing, Land Use, and Transportation
This bill by Senator Dodd streamlines environmental review and expedites county bridge and safety projects by authorizing additional exchanges of federal and state transportation funding through the Match Exchange Program. CSAC worked closely with the Legislature, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the California Department of Finance, and the California State Transportation Agency to negotiate amendments and secure passage of the bill. CSAC sponsored SB 137.
This bill by Assembly Members Daly and Frazier repeals the sunset date for California’s limited waiver of sovereign immunity, which is necessary to allow Caltrans to continue its assumption of National Environmental Policy Act responsibilities. CSAC supported this bill.
This bill by Assembly Member Friedman provides clarity to local governments in implementing development projects consistent with an updated community plan when legal actions are taken against a jurisdiction’s plan on the basis of noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CSAC supported this bill.
This bill by Senator Beall extends the sunset date for the pilot program allowing Alameda, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Solano, and Yuba counties to select the lowest responsible bidder on the basis of best value for construction projects in excess of $1 million. It also authorizes the County of Santa Clara and the County of Monterey to utilize the program. CSAC supports offering counties additional tools to ensure that public works projects are built to the highest standard of quality while ensuring cost-effective investment of public funds. CSAC supported this bill.
This bill by Senator Beall authorizes Caltrans to lease airspace and real property acquired for highway purposes to local and state agencies statewide for $1 per month for purposes of establishing an emergency shelter or feeding program. CSAC supported this bill.
This bill by Senator Mitchell amends California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act to protect housing voucher holders from housing discrimination based on their source of income. CSAC supported this measure after the CSAC Executive Committee voted to approve this position.
This bill by Senator Umberg exempts a motel, hotel, residential hotel, or hostel that is converted into a supportive housing or transitional housing project from the CEQA until January 1, 2025. Modifications to these structures would be limited to minor interior or exterior alterations to facilitate their use as supportive or transitional housing. CSAC supported this bill.
This bill by Senator Wieckowski imposes additional restrictions and conditions on local governments’ ability to charge development impact fees. It also creates an amnesty program for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) built before January 1, 2020, which would grant non-code compliant ADU owners the opportunity to request a delayed enforcement for up to five years. CSAC is concerned about making local government responsible for determining which conditions listed in state law are most important for health and safety—a difficult task that potentially affects tenants’ rights. CSAC requested the Governor’s veto on this bill.