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League of California Cities’ 2012 Major Bill List

April 13, 2012

The League hosted a free webinar for members Thursday, April 12 on the League’s major bills.


Major bills are defined as bills which would have significant impacts on local governments. Some of the bills listed below have been marked as “hot” bills. Hot bills are bills that League lobbyists are requesting urgent assistance from cities. Cities are encouraged to send position letters to their legislators immediately for hot bills.

The League routinely takes positions on bills throughout the legislative session. When the League begins tracking a bill, it is marked as “watch” in the bill tracking system until such time that a policy position is taken. Bill positions are typically taken early in the year on bills for which the League has standing policy. These policy positions can be found in the League's Summary of Existing Policy and Guiding Principles.
For bills that have been identified but for which the League does not have policy, staff refers them to one or more of its eight policy committees for a policy recommendation as well as to the League’s board of directors for a full position. Once a position (support, oppose, etc.) has been identified, state legislative protocol requires that the League first contact the author’s office to let the member know of our concerns and position. The League will then send a letter to the author to formalize our position.
As the bill progresses through the legislative process and is amended, League staff may need to refer the bill back to policy committee and the League board of directors for further clarification. The League may change position according to the policy on the subject matter. In the coming weeks, please watch for further updates on League positions on these and other legislative developments in CA Cities Advocate.
Major bills that League staff is following closely are listed below. Many bills are marked “Pending” on this list because these are bills of interest that League’s lobbyists are closely reviewing and may soon take a position. This list, and the bills on it, is likely to change over the next few weeks and months as bills are amended, die or change focus. The League will produce periodic updates of this list.
All League position letters can be found under the bill number in our bill search function on the website.
2012 Major Bills (April 12, 2012)
Administrative Services
SB 1003 (Yee) Local Government: Open Meetings. League position: Oppose. This bill would amend the Ralph M. Brown Act to add “past” actions to Government Code section 54960 (a). The change would apply the law’s sanctions to all past violations of the Brown Act. As a result the bill could expose local entities to an unknown amount of additional litigation under the law, including potential attorneys’ fees even if any questionable past activities have since ceased.
Employee Relations
HOT BILL – AB 1551 (Torres) Insurance: Public Safety Employees: Accidents. League position: Oppose. This bill would exempt certain public safety officers from a requirement to report accidents that occur in a personal vehicle to a personal insurance provider and instead report those accidents to the employer. This bill unnecessarily shifts the liability for automobile accidents from the employee to the employer.
AB 1831 (Dickinson) Local Government: Hiring Practices. League position: Pending. This bill would prohibit a local agency from inquiring into or considering the criminal history of an applicant or including any inquiry about criminal history on any initial employment application. The bill would authorize a local agency to consider an applicant's criminal history after the applicant's qualifications have been screened and the agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment requirements, as stated in any notice issued for the position. The bill would not apply to a position for which a local agency is otherwise required by law to conduct a criminal history background check.
Environmental Quality
SB 964 (Wright) Administrative Procedure Act: State Water Resources Control Board and California Regional Water Quality Control Boards. League position: Support. This bill would limit the circumstances under which the State Water Resources Control Board is exempt from specific requirements in the Administrative Procedure Act that govern the actions taken by state agencies when they adopt rules, regulations and standards.
SB 965 (Wright) State Water Resources Control Board and California Regional Water Quality Control Boards: Ex Parte Communications. League position: Support. This bill would clarify that there is no prohibition on ex parte communications between members of the State Water Resources Control Board or the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the regulated community in connection with specific permit proceedings, including those involving the issuance or modification of general stormwater permits. The legislation will significantly help local government communicate with water boards as permits are in development.
SB 1278 (Wolk) Planning and Zoning: Levees. League position: Support if Amended. This bill would make changes to the 200-year flood requirements enacted in 2007, including addressing timing issues for cities and counties in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley (northern border of California down to Fresno) that are required to amend their general plan within 24 months of the adoption of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.
Housing and Community Services
SB 1498 (Emmerson) Local Agency Formation Commission: Powers. League position: Sponsor. This bill, sponsored by the League, would assist cities that are required by law to plan for disadvantaged unincorporated communities within their sphere of influence by providing a more precise and narrow definition of a disadvantaged unincorporated community.
HOT BILL – AB 1627 (Dickinson) Environmental Quality: Building Standards: Vehicle Miles Traveled. League position: Oppose. This bill makes findings that SB 375 requires Municipal Planning Organizations to adopt a regional transportation plan to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and finds that the scoping plan determines a reduction in VMT is an essential compliance strategy. This bill would require the Office of Planning and Research to prepare a manual for local governments, agencies and project developers to evaluate and incorporate measures to reduce VMT in new residential and commercial building projects and make recommendations to the Legislature.

AB 1642 (Gordon) County Recorder: Recordation of Documents. League position: Support.This bill would clarify a county recorder’s ability to record documents authorized or required by local ordinance.

AB 1897 (Campos) Land Use: General Plan: Healthy Food Element. League position: Pending Oppose. This bill would require that a city’s general plan include a healthy food element that meets certain requirements.
Public Safety
SB 1303 (Simitian) Vehicles: Automated Traffic Enforcement Systems. League position: Pending. This bill would create additional restrictions and requirements for local agencies implementing automated traffic enforcement systems. These requirements address signage, violation notices, and revenue-neutrality findings to establish a red-light camera system.
SB 1330 (Simitian) Vehicles: License Plate Recognition Technology: Personal Information. League position: Pending. This bill would establish standards for how local law enforcement may handle data collected through license plate recognition technology. SB 1330 seeks to limit the retention time to only 60 days and creates numerous reporting and tracking requirements for local agencies.
SB 1351 (Rubio) Peace Officers. League position: Pending. This bill would restore peace office status for custody officers while on duty in a community correction facility. These custody officers previously had peace officer status under their contact with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation but this designation was not carried forward under the 2011 Public Safety Realignment program.
SB 1387 (Emmerson) Metal Theft. League position: Pending. This bill would prohibit any junk dealer or recycler from possessing a public fire hydrant, fire department connection, a public manhole cover or lid, or related pieces without written certification on the letterhead of the public agency or utility that owns or previously owned the material. Makes other related changes to the penalties and liability for possession of the materials without required certification.
AB 2128 (Cook) Vehicles: Automated Traffic Enforcement Systems. League position: Oppose. This bill would reduce the fine for running a red light when making a right turn (or left turn on a one-way street). The bill also increases the yellow light change intervals at intersections with red light camera systems.
HOT BILL – AB 2312 (Ammiano) Controlled Substances. League position: Oppose. This measure would create the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Control Act, establishing a state-wide regulatory body for approving dispensaries and facilities. Specifies how local jurisdictions may or may not regulate the location, business hours, and establishment of dispensaries. Also grants local agencies the authority to levy a combined sale and use tax not to exceed 2.5 percent.
Post-Redevelopment Legislation
SB 986 (Dutton) Redevelopment: Bond Proceeds. League position: Support. This bill would clarify the handling of unexpended bond proceeds after the Feb. 1 dissolution of redevelopment agencies. This bill requires successor agencies to use bond proceeds for the purposes for which bonds were sold. This bill would also declare bond proceeds as encumbered funds and prohibit them from being allocated to the county auditor-controller.
SB 1151 (Steinberg) Redevelopment: Long Range Asset Management Plan. League position: Pending. This bill is structured to work in tandem with SB 1156. SB 1151 would establish a trust fund for cities and counties which adopt a joint powers agreement (JPA) so that the JPA would retain former redevelopment agency funds. The JPA must complete a long term asset management plan which must be approved by the Department of Finance by Dec. 31. The plan must include a strategy for maximizing the long term assets for the purpose of creating high wage, high skill jobs and affordable housing.
SB 1156 (Steinberg) Community Development and Housing Joint Powers Authority. League position: Pending. This bill would authorize cities and counties to create a Community Development and Housing JPA to carry out the provisions of Community Development Law. The JPA could adopt a 30-year redevelopment plan without making a determination of blight, although project areas would be limited. Tax increment could be used so long as entity with land use authority (the city) mitigates the losses to schools and public safety services with other revenue. A 20 percent inclusionary housing element and a strict sustainable parking ordinance would also be required in project areas.
SB 1335 (Pavley) League position: Pending. This bill would authorize successor agencies to retain brownfield sites.
HOT BILL – AB 1585 (Pérez) Redevelopment. League position: Support. AB 1585 is the most developed clean-up bill to AB 1x 26 pending in the Legislature. It is currently on a fast track and contains an urgency clause because many of its provisions must take effect soon to resolve implementation challenges and questions faced by local agencies, bond counsels, owners of affected properties and others. The bill contains appropriate policy and technical clarifications to reduce confusion and provide greater direction to successor agencies, oversight boards and successor housing entities. Importantly, the bill requires repayment of former loans by cities to former redevelopment agencies, preserves remaining affordable housing funding, preserves asset value, and makes important changes to improve the functioning of successor agencies and avoid bond defaults.
AB 2144 (Pérez) Local Government: Economic Development. League position: Watch. This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation during the 2011-12 regular session that establishes long-term, targeted programs that provide local governments with tools and resources for specified purposes in a manner that encourages local cooperation and includes appropriate protections for state and local taxpayers. This is a vehicle for the Speaker’s proposal on potential new economic development tools.
Revenue and Taxation
SB 214 (Wolk) Infrastructure Financing Districts: League position: Pending. This measure is one of several bills seekingto makeinfrastructure financing districts a more workable tool.
Transportation, Communications, and Public Works
AB 1050 (Ma) Telecommunications: Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services: Taxes and Fees. League position: Pending. This bill would provide a process for collection of utility users taxes and relevant state taxes on prepaid wireless services.
HOT BILL – AB 2231 (Fuentes) Sidewalks: Repairs. League position: Oppose. This bill would require a city or county to repair any sidewalk that is damaged as a result of trees, and prohibits the local entity from imposing a fee on the property owner for the repair. Also shifts liability for trip and fall claims to the city.
AB 2277 (Hueso) Adopt a Highway Program: Courtesy Signs. League position: Pending. This bill would require CalTrans to notify cities of Adopt-a-Highway Program applications and post all applications on the CalTrans website. Also gives cities 30 days to hold a public hearing on signs to be placed in their jurisdiction and approve the placement of the sign. If the city does not respond in 30 days, CalTrans would be authorized to move forward with the placement of the sign.
AB 2559 (Buchanan) Gas Pipeline Integrity Management. League position: Pending. This bill requires notification to cities for changes that may require inspection, remediation, or replacement of gas pipelines. The bill requires cities to expedite permitting and other actions.


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