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League of California Cities' 2012 Major Bill List - April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012

The League revised its major bills list this week. The following list represents the bills that League staff is following closely.


Many bills are still 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 on the League's website by typing the bill number into the search box.

2012 Major Bills (April 24, 2012)

Administrative Services

NEW - SB 1002 (Yee) Public Records: Electronic Format. League position: Oppose Unless Amended. This bill would amend the California Public Records Act to require agencies to create new records at public expense and dictates the format in which agencies maintain and disclose electronic records. This bill also would establish the California Open Data Standard, which would require open format standards for public agencies that are required to make electronic data available to the public.

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.

NEW - SB 1336 (Yee) Improper Governmental Activities: Investigations: Confidentiality. League position: Oppose. This bill would require city auditors that run whistleblower hotlines to issue findings of substantiated claims and disclose the identity of the subject of the audit and information on actions taken by any agency that received the results of the audit.

Community Services

NEW - AB 1991 (Smyth) Child Care: Exemption for Licensure: Public Recreation Programs. League position: Support. This bill would allow cities to extend the hours of local public recreation programs for youth without having additional licensure requirements.

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 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.

NEW  - SB 1207 (Fuller) California Alternative Rates for Energy Program . League position: Support. This bill would reduce fraud in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program while at the same time providing incentives for consumers to conserve.

NEW - HOT BILL - SB 1222 (Leno) Solar Energy: Permits. League position: Oppose. This bill would place a cap on building permit fees on solar residential systems as well as require local agencies to provide a report to the California Energy Commission (CEC) no later than Dec. 1, 2013.

NEW - AB 2063 (Alejo) Ex Parte Communications. League position: Support. This bill would suspend the existing prohibition on ex parte communications between members of the State Water Resources Control Board or the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards (collectively Water Boards) and the regulated community in connection with specific permit proceedings.

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.

NEW - SB 1306 (Blakeslee) State Water Resources Control Board. League position: Support. This bill would clarify that the State Water Resources Control Board shall conduct an external peer review for proposed stormwater discharge permit requirements.

NEW - AB 2075 (Fong) Energy: Powerplant Certification. League position: Support. This bill would repeal the authorization in existing law that allows a person proposing to construct a facility excluded from the commission's jurisdiction to waive the exclusion by submitting to the commission a notice of intent to file an application for certification.

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. The League is currently negotiating amendments to this bill.

NEW - AB 1549 (Gatto) Development: Expited Permit Review. League position: Oppose. This bill would require cities with a population more than 100,000 to designate an administrative entity to serve as the applicant's single point of contact with the local agency, upon request of the applicant.

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 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: Support. 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 authorizes an oversight board to approve the expenditure bond proceeds as an enforceable obligation provided that the bonds were issued prior to Dec. 31, 2010, and meets one of the following conditions: (a) the obligation is required to meet a federal or state matching grant requirement; (b) the obligation is required to meet the requirements of a local general obligation bond; or (c) the obligation is required to complete a project of specific critical public infrastructure. The bill contains an expansive definition of projects (including casinos, car dealerships, stadiums and others) that are defined as not "critical public infrastructure."

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) Redevelopment: Brownfield Sites.  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.

SB 214 (Wolk) Infrastructure Financing Districts. League position: Pending. This measure is one of several bills seekingto makeinfrastructure financing districts a more workable tool.

AB 2144 (Pérez) Infrastructure Financing Districts. League position: Pending. This bill proposes to make numerous changes to infrastructure financing districts, with the intent to make this tool more workable.

Revenue and Taxation

NEW - HOT BILL - AB 1692 (Wieckowski) Bankruptcy. League position: Oppose. This bill would remove provisions of AB 506 (Wieckowski) related to the mediation process including giving the "neutral evaluator" independent decision-making authority and allowing other parties to create delays by allowing the process to continue without the concurrence of the affected public entity. Last year the League vehemently opposed to similar provisions in AB 506 because they created obstacles to municipal bankruptcy and resulted in a process stacked against local agencies.

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.

NEW - AB 1706 (Eng) Transit Bus Axle Weight Increase. League Position: Concerns. This bill would eliminate the current axle weight limits for transit buses from Jan. 1, 2013 until Jan. 1, 2016, and create interim weight standards for public transit that would prohibit transit providers from procuring a transit bus weighing more than the gross weight of the heaviest bus in the systems' existing bus inventory, in that new bus's "fleet class" (with some exceptions). The bill would also require the Secretary of the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency to convene a task force to study a variety of issues relating to bus weights and the impact of heavy buses on highways, streets, and roads.

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.

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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