Note: given the impact of COVID-19 on all aspects of our personal and business lives, it is anticipated that the legislative year will be significantly scaled back. The information below was prepared before the legislature suspended all work until April 13. Legislative leaders in either chamber can decide to reconvene. And they can extend the recess if necessary.
The Authority continues to track two-year bills as the second year of the 2019-20 legislative session begins to gain momentum. The bills listed below are currently inactive, but they may be acted on during this second year of the 2019-20 legislative session. Many of these bills are expected to go through revisions as the legislative session continues, but below is a first look at some bills that may affect your agency should they pass.
AB 680 (Chu). Public safety dispatchers: mental health training.
Summary: This bill would require the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), on or before January 1, 2021, to develop mental health training courses for state and local public safety dispatchers that cover specific topics. These topics include recognizing indicators of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, or substance use disorders, and conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques. The bill would require POST to develop these courses in consultation with specified groups and individuals.
The Authority supports this bill, which would provide dispatchers with valuable training to help identify a mental health crisis and inform law enforcement how to appropriately approach the situation on the ground and provide important health intervention procedure for the person in crisis.
AB 1107 (Chu). Workers’ compensation.
Summary: Existing law requires each employer to establish a utilization review process to review and approve, modify, or deny treatment recommendations and establishes an independent medical review process to resolve disputes over a utilization review decision. Existing law also establishes the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to exercise all judicial powers vested in it, including workers’ compensation proceedings for the recovery of compensation.
This bill would exclude a final determination of the administrative director pursuant to independent medical review (IMR) regarding conclusive evidence that medical treatment was unreasonably delayed or denied.
The Authority is opposed to this bill, which would eliminate statutory language saying an IMR decision that overturns the utilization review decision shall not be considered conclusive evidence of an unreasonable denial of medical benefits.
AB 1190 (Irwin). Unmanned aircraft: state and local regulation: limitations.
Summary: This bill would also authorize a local agency to adopt regulations to enforce FAA regulations regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft systems and would authorize local agencies to regulate the operation of unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems within their jurisdictions, as specified. The bill would also authorize a local agency to require an unmanned aircraft operator to provide proof of federal, state, or local registration to licensing or enforcement officials. The bill would authorize a local entity to designate a recreational operating area for unmanned aircraft operation.
The Authority supports this bill. The bill would immunize a local entity that designates such a recreational area from liability for injury or damage associated with unmanned aircraft operation, if specified signage is posted. The bill would define terms for purposes of these provisions.
SB 266 (Leyva). Public Employees’ Retirement System: disallowed compensation: benefit adjustments.
Summary: In September 2019, SB 266 passed both houses (the Assembly and the Senate). However, the bill was withdrawn before it reached the Governor’s desk. The withdrawal may have been partially attributed to staunch opposition from various entities, including local government agencies.
The Authority is opposed to SB 266, which would require public agencies to directly pay retirees and/or their beneficiaries 100% of overpayments stemming from disallowed retirement benefits using general fund dollars. This bill does not address placing a legal responsibility on CalPERS to ensure that compensation calculations are done correctly on the front end prior to a retiree receiving pension. Furthermore, this bill opens the door for pension spiking.
SB 336 (Dodd). Transportation: fully-automated transit vehicles.
Summary: Existing law establishes regulations for the operation of an autonomous vehicle on public roads for testing purposes by a driver who possesses the proper class of license for the type of vehicle being operated if the manufacturer meets prescribed requirements. Existing law imposes various requirements on transit operators.
The Authority supports SB 336. This bill would require a transit operator, until January 1, 2025, to ensure each of its fully-automated transit vehicles is staffed by at least one of its employees, who has had specified training, while the vehicle is in service. The bill would require a transit operator that deploys a fully-automated transit vehicle to report the results of that deployment to the Legislature on or before March 31, 2025.
SB 416 (Hueso). Employment: workers’ compensation.
Summary: Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system to compensate employees for injuries sustained arising out of and in the course of their employment. Existing law designates illnesses and conditions that constitute a compensable injury for various employees, such as members of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, firefighters, and certain peace officers. These injuries include, but are not limited to, hernia, pneumonia, heart trouble, cancer, meningitis, and exposure to biochemical substances, when the illness or condition develops or manifests itself during a period when the officer or employee is in service of the employer, as specified.
The Authority opposes SB 416. This bill would expand the coverage of the above provisions relating to compensable injuries to include all persons defined as peace officers under certain provisions of law, except as specified. This bill would significantly expand eligibility for workers’ compensation presumption benefits that are limited in current law only to certain categories of peace officers.
The Authority will continue to track this second year of the 2019-20 legislative session, especially as new bills continue be analyzed for their potential impact to members.