Issue 109 - March 2021
Legislative UpdateBy Abraham Han, Management Analyst
The State Legislature has begun to draft several bills which may affect local government operations due to their effect on the liability and workers’ compensation fronts.
It is important to note that bills may go through significant revisions in the next few months, and members are encouraged to use the information below as a guide with the understanding that the bills are subject to change. The Authority will continue to monitor these bills and provide positions on them as each bill’s text becomes clearer.
AB 26 (Holden). Peace officers: use of force.
Summary: This bill would require law enforcement policies to require officers to immediately report potential excessive force, and to intercede when present and observing an officer using excessive force. The bill would additionally require those policies to prohibit retaliation against officers that report violations of law or regulation of another officer to a supervisor, and to require that an officer who fails to intercede be disciplined in the same manner as the officer who used excessive force. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.
AB 84 (Ting). Employment: COVID-19: supplemental paid sick leave.
Summary: This bill would expand the definition of a covered worker for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to any employees at any public or private entity. Additionally, the bill would entitle a covered worker to leave if, among other reasons, the worker is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the worker from being able to work, or is caring for an individual whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. The bill would specify that a covered worker is entitled to 80 hours of leave per calendar year, unless otherwise specified. The bill would provide that these provisions expire on September 30, 2021, or upon the expiration of any federal extension of the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, as specified.
AB 334 (Mullin). Workers’ compensation: skin cancer.
Summary: Existing law provides, among other things, that skin cancer developing in active lifeguards is presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment, unless the presumption is rebutted. This bill would expand the scope of those provisions to certain peace officers of the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Although this bill does not explicitly include parks and recreation employees with municipalities in its current form, extending presumptions to other classifications is dangerous and could potentially lead to that route.
AB 399 (Salas). Workers’ compensation.
Summary: This bill would impose new requirements on a medical provider network, including requiring a participating provider to participate at each location at which they treat patients for eight or more hours per week, on a monthly average. The bill would also prohibit authorizations or certifications issued by a carrier, claims administrator, medical provider network, or utilization review entity from providing instruction or imposing a requirement as to the location of where a treatment takes place or the provider who will perform the treatment. The bill would prohibit a vendor, provider, or group within the medical provider from being preferentially cited on an authorization or certification and would require the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation to impose a fine of $10,000 per authorization or certification that preferentially directs care within a medical provider network. The bill would require all treatment authorization or certification, adjuster correspondence, or billing explanation of review or explanation of benefits to include the medical provider network identification number, medical provider network name, and the name of the network covering the claimant provided in that correspondence. The bill would also require the administrative director to fine a medical provider network $5,000 per document that fails to include the required medical provider network information. The bill contains other related provisions.
AB 415 (Rivas). Employment: workers’ compensation.
Summary: This bill would define “injury,” for certain employees of a city, county, city and county, district, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision regularly exposed to active fires or health hazards directly resulting from firefighting operations, to include cancer that develops or manifests during a period in which the individual demonstrates that they were exposed to a known carcinogen while in the employment of the city, county, city and county, district, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision. The bill would establish a presumption that the cancer in those cases arose out of, and in the course of, employment, unless the presumption is controverted by evidence that the primary site of the cancer has been established, and that the carcinogen to which the person has demonstrated exposure is not reasonably linked to the disabling cancer.
SB 16 (Skinner). Peace officers: release of records.
Summary: This bill would, commencing July 1, 2022, make every incident involving use of force to make a member of the public comply with an officer, force that is unreasonable, or excessive force subject to disclosure. The bill would also require records relating to sustained findings of unlawful arrests and unlawful searches to be subject to disclosure. The bill contains other related provisions, including a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 per day for each day beyond 30 days that records subject to disclosure are not disclosed.
SB 98 (McGuire): Public peace: media access.
Summary: This bill would, if peace officers close the immediate area surrounding any emergency field command post or establish any other command post, police line, or rolling closure at a demonstration, march, protest, or rally where individuals are engaged primarily in constitutionally protected activity, require that a duly authorized representative of any news service, online news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network, be allowed to enter those closed areas and would prohibit a peace officer or other law enforcement officers from intentionally assaulting, interfering with, or obstructing a duly authorized representative who is gathering, receiving, or processing information for communication to the public.
SB 216 (Dodd). Contractors: workers’ compensation insurance: mandatory coverage.
Summary: This bill, until January 1, 2025, would require concrete contractors holding a C-8 license, warm-air heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractors holding a C-20 license, or tree service contractors holding a D-49 license to also obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, even if that contractor has no employees. The bill, as of January 1, 2025, would require all licensed contractors or applicants for licensure to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, even if that contractor has no employees and would also prohibit the filing of a certificate of exemption.
SB 284 (Stern). Workers’ compensation: firefighters and peace officers: post-traumatic stress.
Summary: Existing law provides, only until January 1, 2025, that, for certain state and local firefighting personnel and peace officers, the term “injury” includes post-traumatic stress that develops or manifests during a period in which the injured person is in the service of the department or unit, but applies only to injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2020. Existing law requires the compensation awarded pursuant to this provision to include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits. The bill would also make that provision applicable to public safety dispatchers, public safety telecommunicators, and emergency response communication employees, as defined. This bill appears to be a repeat of (or, at least, very similar to) SB 1047 from the 2019-2020 legislative session (which the Authority opposed).
The Authority will continue to monitor these bills, as well as others, and inform members throughout the remainder of the 2021 legislative cycle.< Back to Full Issue Print Article