CSAC Bulletin Article

Many Bills Important to Counties Still in Play

August 8, 2019

As the Legislature returns next week to close out the legislative year, many important bills are still being considered by the Legislature.  The bills below represent many of CSAC’s top priorities for each policy area going into the final month of session.  If you have any questions about these, or other bills, please contact the appropriate CSAC legislative staff.

Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources

AB 1080 (Gonzalez)/SB 54 (Allen): CSAC has a support position on these two companion bills. The measures would require the adoption of regulations requiring covered entities — including manufactures, importers, retailers or distributors — to reduce the waste associated with single use packaging and products 75 percent by 2030. The bill would help California transition away from single use plastic containers to reusable or compostable packaging, and promote the development of in-state manufacturing that uses recycled material. This is a marquee bill in the environmental policy arena this session and has support from dozens of pro-environmental groups. CSAC supports because this bill has the potential to reduce plastic waste at time when plastic waste is piling up at local landfills due to significant shifts in Chinese trade policy restricting the import of plastic. AB 1080 was amended and passed in Senate Environmental Quality Committee on July 3 and re-referred to Senate Appropriations, while SB 54 was also amended and passed out of Assembly Natural Resources Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 182 (Jackson):  CSAC has a support position on SB 182. This bill would improve the local planning process and incorporates actionable data that can decrease fire risk to our communities. The bill would, among other things, impose new planning requirements on local governments and require cities and counties to make specified findings on fire standards prior to permitting development in very high risk fire areas. The bill would allow counties to use systems that are already in place to incorporate better information in the local planning process. CSAC appreciates the balanced approach this bill takes towards reducing future fire threats and maintaining local land use authority. SB 182 passed through both the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on July 3 and the Assembly Local Government Committee on July 10. The bill is now waiting to be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 560 (McGuire): CSAC has a support position on SB 560. This bill would require investor owned utilities (IOUs) and publicly owned utilities (POUs) to include procedures for circuit by circuit level notification of a deenergization to first responders, health care facilities, and operators of telecommunications infrastructure in wildfire mitigation plans. In addition, the bill would also require mobile telephone service providers to coordinate with appropriate community stakeholders in the event of a deenergization. In the face of historic levels of wildfire threat, utilities are increasing the use of the public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). Deenergizations can be used to prevent accidental ignition of major wildfires in the wildland urban interface, however they can also impact communities which must deal with a significant loss of power. SB 560 would require utilities to notify critical services ahead of a deenergization in order to minimize PSPS impacts to public safety and health services. CSAC supports a more detailed level of notification to first responders, health care facilities and telecommunication infrastructure as provided for in this bill. This bill passed Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee on July 10 and is now waiting to be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Administration of Justice

SB 284 (Beall): SB 284 would increase the annual rate which a county pays to the state for a person the county commits to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) from $24,000 to $125,000 if the offense on which the commitment is based, had it been filed in a court of criminal jurisdiction at the time of adjudication, had a maximum aggregate sentence of fewer than 7 years or if the offense on which the commitment is based occurred when the person was 15 years of age or younger. CSAC and CPOC are opposed to this measure as it will do little to prevent youth from being sent to DJJ and instead result in significant financial impacts on counties, which will negatively impact counties and the progress we have made to enhance services and could put programming for youth in jeopardy.  SB 284 is waiting to be heard on the Assembly Floor.

Government Finance and Administration

SB 416 (Hueso) and SB 542 (Stern): During the final month of the legislative year, CSAC’s Government Administration and Finance team will continue to focus opposition efforts on SB 416 and SB 542 —both of which impose costly workers’ compensation presumption expansions on county employers.

CSAC continues to partner with other local government organizations to highlight the negative impacts on employers associated with SB 416, which would broadly expand workers’ compensation presumptions to a number of public sector peace officer employees.  While these employees currently have access to the existing workers’ compensation system which is designed to favor injured workers, SB 416 would add substantial new costs for public sector employers in the state of California—including counties, cities, special districts, universities, and the state.

SB 542 would create a presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder, when diagnosed for firefighters and peace officers, are work-related injuries for purposes of the workers’ compensation system.  CSAC continues to partner with local government organizations to raise issues with this proposal, including the costly impacts on local governments and the lack of evidence that the current workers’ compensation system is failing to properly handle related claims.

AB 418 (Kalra): AB 418 would create a new evidentiary privilege for union agents, similar to the one generally associated with doctors, lawyers, and priests. The evidentiary privilege is designed to be narrow in scope to protect the confidentiality and integrity of relationships where highly sensitive and deeply personal information is exchanged. The privilege that AB 418 would create for union reps is different from the one imposed on doctors, lawyers, and priests in one important way: the privilege goes both ways. This means a union representative would be able to prevent the employee who confided in them from disclosing information. AB 418 creates legal and operational challenges for public agencies while establishing a new, one-sided level of evidentiary privilege for union employees, who are not subject to the same training and oversight as others who are subject to evidentiary privileges. AB 418 is currently pending approval on the Senate floor.

SB 266 (Leyva): SB 266, which is currently pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, would require public employers to pay disallowed pension benefits to retirees from their own funds indefinitely, even if CalPERS had previously determined that the benefit was allowable. CSAC is strongly opposed to the measure, as public agencies cannot continue to pay retirees for disallowed benefits, since that would constitute a gift of public funds, in violation of the California Constitution. SB 266 could also push public employers to decline to offer certain types of compensation, such as longevity pay, about which CalPERS has unexpectedly changed its opinion.

Housing, Land Use, and Transportation

SB 137 (Dodd): CSAC is the sponsor of SB 137, which would reduce duplicative federal transportation permitting and environmental review by expanding of the State’s existing program to exchange federal surface transportation revenues for state transportation revenues. The bill passed out of Assembly Transportation Committee in early July and is expected to be up in Assembly Appropriations Committee this month.

SB 329 (Mitchell): CSAC is in support of SB 329, which would amend California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act to protect housing voucher holders from housing discrimination based on their source of income. By ensuring that voucher holders are considered as potential tenants, SB 329 would bolster local government efforts by cities, counties, and housing authorities to provide a full spectrum of housing opportunities to individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, or who may be clients of county-administered safety net programs. The bill was heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee in July and placed on the committee’s suspense file.

SCA 1 (Allen): SCA 1, which CSAC supports, would repeal Article XXXIV of the California Constitution upon approval of the statewide electorate. Article XXXIV requires a vote of the electorate when a local government seeks to build or fund affordable housing and was designed to impede the construction of healthy and affordable homes for Californians at all income levels. Repealing Article XXXIV would not only remove this discriminatory provision from the Constitution, but eliminate a stumbling block that has frustrated efforts by counties to provide homes for lower-income residents and people experiencing serious mental illness who are homeless. The bill is set to be heard in Senate Appropriations Committee next week.

SB 13 (Wieckowski) and SB 592 (Wiener): CSAC continues to hold an oppose unless amended position on SB 13 and SB 592, which both passed out of Assembly Local Government Committee in July and are expected to be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee this month. CSAC remains opposed to provisions of SB 13 that impose restrictions on the impact fees that can be charged on an Accessory Dwelling unit. While CSAC has outstanding concerns with SB 592, the author accepted committee amendments to address some of CSAC’s concerns, including deletion of a provision that would allow a project sponsor to seek compensatory damages for violation of the Housing Accountability Act, which was one of CSAC’s key concerns. CSAC’s position letter for SB 13 is available here and the position letter for SB 592 is available here.

AB 1483 (Grayson): AB 1483, which CSAC holds an oppose unless amended position on, passed out of Senate Governance and Finance Committee last month. The bill adds reporting requirements to the Annual Progress Report cities and counties are required to submit to the Department of Housing and Community Development each year. While the author accepted committee amendments that address some of CSAC’s concerns, we will be offering a final set of amendments that would remove our opposition. The bill is expected to be heard in Senate Appropriations Committee this month.

Health and Behavioral Health

CSAC has been closely working with county affiliates, the author’s offices, and sponsors of bills that contain multiple changes to the operation of the state and local emergency medical services (EMS) systems, changes to the state’s authority to sanction health plans, changes to the medical certification for IHSS clients, and eligibility for General Assistance, as well as establish a Master Plan on Aging.

AB 1544 (Gipson): AB 1544 would codify parts of the current community paramedicine and alternate destination pilot programs to safely transport some patients – including those who are not sober or experiencing a behavioral health crisis – to the appropriate facilities for their needs. While counties continue to strongly support these efforts and appreciate the author’s willingness to negotiate amendments, the bill continues to contain troublesome provisions. CSAC, Urban Counties of California (UCC), Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and the County Health Executives Association of California (CHEAC), have recently proposed several amendments to the current language; our position remains Oppose Unless Amended on AB 1544 until possible amendments are in print.  The bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 12, 2019. View the joint county organization “Oppose Unless Amended” letter for more details on our requested amendments.

SB 438 (Hertzberg): SB 438 would place restrictions on contracting for emergency medical services secondary 9-1-1 dispatch duties and infringe on the medical control authority of local emergency medical service agencies (LEMSAs).  Specifically, this bill restricts future contracting with a private entity for secondary medical 9-1-1 dispatch services unless a public agency consents to the contract. Further, SB 438 attempts to determine how calls are processed and administered, which is contrary to statute and case law surrounding the medical oversight of the EMS medical director. CSAC, along with, UCC, RCRC, CHEAC, the Emergency Medical Services Administrators Association of California, and the Emergency Medical Services Medical Directors Association of California are all opposed to the measure. Significant amendments were suggested in Assembly Health and accepted by the author and sponsors. CSAC and affiliates will continue to oppose the bill until the July 11, 2019 version fo the bill is amended with the promised changes.  View our joint June 28, 2019 “Oppose” letter for more details regarding our opposition to SB 438.

AB 1642 (Wood): AB 1642 overly broadens the authority of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to place sanctions on health plans, including county-administered mental health plans that could reduce or negatively impact patient services. DHCS currently has sufficient authority to sanction county mental health plans, and bill will expand that authority without providing clear statutory requirements for mental health plans to follow. CSAC recently proposed several amendments to the current language and adopted an “Oppose Unless Amended” position on AB 1642.  The bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 12, 2019. View CSAC’s “Oppose Unless Amended” letter for more details on our requested amendments.

Human Services

AB 1403 (Carillo): CSAC, along with the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), UCC, and RCRC, have been working closely with the author’s office and sponsors to address county concerns on AB 1403, authored by Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo. This bill would require counties to alter their locally-established General Assistance (GA) or General Relief (GR) eligibility levels to provide additional county-funded assistance to certain parents who are no longer eligible for the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. AB 1403 presents a significant infringement on counties’ statutory GA authority by imposing a statewide mandate for a specific population without identifying a source of funding for the requirement. CSAC and county affiliates have worked with the author’s office to resolve the policy implications, but maintain our fiscal concerns and are opposed to the current version of the bill. We have reached a conceptual agreement with the author’s office that would resolve these concerns and are hopeful to work collaboratively on language that would be amended into the bill. AB 1403 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 12, 2019. View our joint county organization “Oppose” letter for more details on our requested amendments.

AB 426 (Maienschein): AB 426 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 12, 2019. This bill would prohibit an individual from being denied IHSS services due to the lack of a medical certification form, when the individual has good cause for not submitting the form. It would also establish a stakeholder process to examine alternative options for obtaining medical certification. The previous versions of AB 426 would have completely eliminated the medical certification form, which provides a standardized form for determining medical necessity for IHSS services. CSAC and CWDA worked collaboratively with the author and sponsors on amendments that successfully resolved the form elimination provision and now have a neutral position on the bill. CSAC continues to engage with the author and sponsors as the bill moves through the legislative process.

SB 228 (Jackson): SB 228 would require the establishment of an Aging Task Force and require the Governor to appoint a Master Plan Director to lead the planning process for the Master Plan on Aging to identify policy changes needed to prepare for California’s aging population. SB 228 is a vital addition and complement to the current work that the Administration has started to promote and implement age-friendly initiatives and counties are an integral partner in these efforts. SB 228 was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on July 10 and has been referred to the suspense file. The Appropriations Committee will have a hearing at the end of the month to determine which bills will move from the suspense file to the Assembly floor. View CSAC’s Support letter for more details.

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