Legislative Success: Employee Relations and Administrative Services
September 29, 2016
AB 1787 (Gomez) was signed into law on September 23. This bill, supported by CSAC, requires local legislative bodies to provide additional time for members of the public who need an interpreter to address the body. Under the Brown Act, local legislative bodies are currently required to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on any points mentioned in the public meeting; the Act also allows legislative bodies to reasonably limit the time for each public speaker. Under this current methodology, if the speaker needs the services of a translator they might be disadvantaged by time limitations. AB 1787 requires the legislative body to provide at least twice the allotted time to members of the public who need a translator, thus ensuring all members of the public with equal access to their government. The bill also allows for modern technologies to use simultaneous broadcast translation to meet the requirements. Counties support good governance and modifying the Brown Act if it aids the public in accessing local government.
AB 1853 (Cooper) was vetoed by the Governor on September 23. This bill was strongly opposed by CSAC and would have allowed any retirement system under the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL) to elect to be independent districts without any county input. Under current law, ’37 Act retirement systems have the ability to modify their operating structure by pursuing legislation. The legislative process allows for all parties (the Legislature, county, its retirement system and the public) to participate in a transparent and open process on an issue that affects the county budget and funding status of the retirement system. This bill would have allowed such retirement systems to modify their structure without input from any other affected stakeholders. CSAC cited multiple issues that would have occurred if AB 1853 had become law, including increased administrative costs due to a requirement that counties maintain a contract with the retirement system for certain benefits for employees that were no longer employed by the county, increased contribution costs for the county to the system and problematic interactions between the county and its retirement system moving forward after a separation.
AB 2636 (Linder), a CSAC-sponsored bill, was signed into law on September 23. This bill authorizes electronic applications for certified copies of vital records. Under current law, county recorders could only supply certified copies of birth, marriage, death, or divorce records when an application was made with a notarized signature or an authorized person appeared in person. AB 2636 will allow local jurisdictions the option to accept online requests for vital records; counties that choose to offer this option would provide a multilayered remote identity authentication method to establish the identity of the requestor, thereby ensuring the highest level of privacy security for the applicant.
AB 2636 will make the process of requesting vital records easier for both the consumer who needs access to their records and the counties supplying the records. It will save staff time and reduce costs. CSAC was pleased to sponsor this important bill to bring vital records processing up to current modern technology standards while still maintaining high standards of security.
For specific information on AB 2636, click here for CSAC’s sponsorship letter.