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League Releases Initial Bills of Interest for 2012

March 23, 2012
The League is currently reviewing this year's regular session bills and evaluating their potential implications for local government agencies. The following is a preliminary list of trends and bills which the League is tracking of interest to cities. Please note that it is still very early in the legislative calendar and the likelihood of these bills being amended is very high.
 
The League routinely takes positions on bills throughout the legislative session. When the League begins tracking a bill, that bill is marked as "watch" in the bill tracking system until such time that a policy position is taken. Typically, bill positions are 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 we have no policy, League staff refer the bills 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(s) 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.

All League position letters can be found by typing the bill number in to the bill search function on the League's website.

2012 Trends

The main legislative issues in 2012 for cities will undoubtedly be redevelopment dissolution clean-up, pension reform and the state budget. However, other trends where multiple bills have been introduced on the same issue are emerging as well. Trends identified by League legislative staff include many bills on metal theft, home foreclosures and issues with returning veterans. At this point in the legislative session, most bills are still being developed and will likely change over the next few months.

Specific 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 the League's lobbyists are closely reviewing and may soon take a position. This list of bills will likely 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.

2012 Bills of Interest (as of March 23, 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.

SB 1110 (Rubio) Public Records. League position: Pending. This bill would authorize a state or local agency to charge a fee to cover the direct costs of duplication of a public record that may include personnel costs associated with that duplication under the California Public Records Act. The bill would also authorize a state or local agency to collect a deposit from an entity or individual requesting records prior to engaging in the collection of the records.

AB 2455 (Campos) Identity Theft: Local Agencies. League position: Pending. This bill would require any local agency in possession or control of personal identifying information that is known, or reasonably suspected, to have been the target of identity theft, to notify the person who is the subject of the personal identifying information that unauthorized access of that information has occurred, and that the person may be the victim of identity theft.

Employee Relations

AB 1203 (Mendoza) Public Employee Organizations: Members: Paid Leaves of Absence. League position: Oppose. This bill would create a mandate of expanding circumstances for when employees are allowed to take paid time off to conduct union related activities, rather than allowing these circumstances to be collectively bargained between the city and the bargaining unit. This bill also calls for employee representatives to attend any union sponsored activity and only requires "reasonable notification" to the employer, which will likely have widespread negative impacts on city operations.

AB 1551 (Torres) Insurance: Public Safety Employees: Accidents. League position: Pending. 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 1740 (M. Pérez) Employment Discrimination: Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking. League position: Pending. This bill would amend the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include the status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking as an additional basis upon which the right to seek, obtain, and hold employment cannot be denied under FEHA. This bill would also add unemployment status to the list of characteristics under which employment cannot be denied and make any willful discrimination in a recruitment or apprenticeship program on these bases a misdemeanor.

AB 1808 (Williams) Meyers-Milias-Brown Act: Public Employees. League position: Pending. This bill would expand the definition of "public employee" under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act to include any person employed by an employer that is a not a public agency, but with which a public agency shares or codetermines decisions governing essential employment conditions of that person.

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

AB 890 (Olsen) Environment: CEQA Exemption: Roadway Improvement. League position: Support. This bill would exempt city roadway improvement projects from California Environmental Quality Act requirements if the project is within the existing right-of-way. AB 890 will result in lower project costs and faster project delivery for roadway improvement projects.

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: Pending. 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.

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 1801 (Campos) Renewable Energy Systems: Fees. League position: Pending. This bill would prohibit a local agency from charging a fee for permitting for a renewable energy system that exceeds the actual cost of issuing the permit.

Housing and Community Services

AB 484 (Alejo) Enterprise Zones: Expiration of Designation. League position: Support. This bill would help ensure that businesses within an enterprise zone can continue to receive uninterrupted benefits until such time that HCD has completed a regulatory and administrative review of the program, issued a request for proposal, and issued conditional designation letters to the maximum number of enterprise zones within the state.

SB 708 (Corbett) Residential Mortgage Loans: Foreclosure Procedures. League position: Support. This bill would continue to require a legal owner to maintain vacant residential property purchased at a foreclosure sale, or acquired by that owner through foreclosure under a mortgage or deed of trust. This bill would also extend the authority local governments currently have to impose civil fines and penalties for failure to maintain such a property.

SB 1498 (Emmerson) Local Agency Formation Commission: Powers. League position: Sponsor. This bill, sponsored by the League, would assist disadvantaged communities in securing needed improvements to services by removing the complexity of annexations, while authorizing LAFCOs to approve the extension of services beyond an agency's sphere of influence provided that the LAFCO makes specific findings. The bill is designed to address the problem of disadvantaged communities, in a more surgical manner.

AB 1547 (Eng) Residential Mortgages. League position: Support. This bill would continue to require a legal owner to maintain vacant residential property purchased at a foreclosure sale, or acquired by that owner through foreclosure under a mortgage or deed of trust. This bill would also delete the sunset date authorizing local governments to impose civil fines and penalties for failure to maintain such a property.

AB 1557 (Skinner) Real Property: Maintenance of Foreclosed Property: Violations. League position: Support. This bill would extend the sunset date on provisions requiring banks to maintain foreclosed properties and authorizing local governments to impose fines for failure to maintain such properties.

AB 1627 (Dickinson) Environmental Quality: Building Standards: Vehicle Miles Traveled. League position: Oppose. This bill would require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to prescribe standards to reduce vehicle miles traveled by occupants of residential and nonresidential buildings within the boundaries of a metropolitan planning organization. The bill would also prohibit local governments from issuing local building permits until it has been confirmed that the building satisfies the minimum standards established by the CEC.

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 1672 (Torres) Housing Related Parks Program. League position: Support. This bill would modify the requirements in the Housing-Related Parks Program so that grants are based on the issuance of building permits as opposed to housing starts.

AB 1897 (Campos) Land Use: General Plan: Healthy Food Element. League position: Pending. This bill would require that a city's general plan include a healthy food element that meets certain requirements.

Public Safety

AB 801 (Swanson) Code Enforcement Officers. League position: Pending. This bill would authorize a chief of police to grant the powers of arrest, including felony arrest, to any code enforcement officer employed by that city. That power of arrest is currently authorized to apply only to illegal dumping officers. This bill will be reviewed by the League's Public Safety Policy Committee later this month.

AB 1275 (Torres) California Public Records Act: Exemption: Emergency 911 Telephone Calls. League position: Pending. This bill would prohibit portions of 911 emergency phone calls that include personal identifying information or medical information from being released to the public.

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 1468 (Gaines) Fireworks. League position: Pending. This bill would expand the possible sales period for safe and sane fireworks from the Fourth of July holiday week to include the New Year Eve holiday week, upon approval by the local jurisdiction. Also authorizes the local agency to collect 7 percent of gross sales during either or both holiday sales period. This bill will be reviewed by the League's Public Safety Policy Committee later this month.

SB 1534 (Harman) Vehicles: Video Event Recorders. League position: Pending. This bill would allow local agencies to require video event recording devices in taxi cabs and to regulate their operation and review of data captured by those event recorders.

AB 1562 (Jeffries) Fire Prevention and Suppression: County Inmate Fire Crews . League position: Support. This bill would make important clarifying changes reflecting the 2011 Public Safety Realignment plan and the new county-based low-level offender supervision system. AB 1562 explicitly states that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection may enter into contracts with counties to maintain inmate fire crews and fire camps.

AB 2128 (Cook) Vehicles: Automated Traffic Enforcement Systems. League position: Pending. This bill would reduce the penalty for red light violations when the driver is turning, compared to the penalty for violators moving through an intersection, where a red light camera operates. In addition, it requires local agencies to maintain a longer yellow light signal time at intersections where a red light camera operates even if the speed limit has been rounded down by the permitted 5 mph increment.

AB 2312 (Ammiano) Controlled Substances. League position: Pending. 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

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: Pending. 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.

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 would require successor agencies to prepare a long range asset management plan that outlines a strategy for maximizing the long-term value of the real property and assets of the former redevelopment agency for ongoing economic development and housing functions. The bill would require the successor agency to submit the plan to the Department of Finance and the oversight board by Dec. 1 and would require the approval of the plan by the department and oversight board by Dec. 31. More amendments are expected to be added to this measure soon.

SB 1156 (Steinberg) Community Development and Housing Joint Powers Authority . League position: Pending. This bill would allow cities and counties formerly served by a redevelopment agency to create a Community Development and Housing Joint Powers Authority to develop sustainable economic development and affordable housing. More amendments are expected to be added to this measure soon.

SB 1220 (DeSaulnier) Housing Opportunity Trust Fund Act of 2012. League position: Pending. This bill would generate approximately $700 million annually for affordable housing through a proposed $75 fee levied on all real property transactions.

SB 1335 (Pavley) League position: Pending. This bill would authorize successor agencies to retain brownfield sites, and in the future develop transit-oriented development type projects on those properties, upon appropriation by the Legislature.

Revenue and Taxation

AB 1191 (Huber) Local Government Finance. League position: Support. This bill would require county auditors to submit a claim to the Controller when there is not enough property tax revenue allocated to a local Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund to reimburse a city or county for amounts owed to them from the "triple flip" mechanism, which shifted local sales taxes to pay state debt, and the vehicle license fee (VLF)/property tax swap, where local agencies exchanged their VLF for property taxes. In both of these transactions the state's commitment was to reimburse local agencies dollar-for-dollar. This measure is designed to address that problem and ensure that the revenue those agencies are entitled to receive pursuant to the triple-flip and VLF-property tax swap is provided.

SB 1528 (Steinberg) Damages: Medical Services. League position: Pending. This bill would require that an injured person is entitled to recover the reasonable value of medical services provided without regard to the amount actually paid. Existing law provides that a person suffering detriment from the unlawful act or omission of another may recover damages from the person at fault.

AB 1530 (Huffman) Economic Development: Clean Manufacturing and Job Creation Incentive Act of 2012. League position: Pending. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact the Clean Manufacturing and Job Creation Incentive Act of 2012. That act would, among other things, establish clean manufacturing zones that would attract new manufacturing businesses to California by approving necessary permits and licenses in advance, and provide a property tax exemption for new manufacturing equipment purchased for use in a clean manufacturing zone.

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 for a uniform system of collection for local and state taxes from consumers of prepaid wireless services.

AB 1650 (Portantino) Public Utilities: Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. League position: Pending. This bill would require the Public Utilities Commission to establish standards for disaster and emergency preparedness plans, and requires that electric and gas utilities develop, adopt, and update such plans. Also requires electric and gas utilities to meet and consult with cities and counties in the development of their plan.

AB 1706 (Eng) Vehicles: Unladen Weight. League position: Pending. This bill is expected to be amended to address an issue with public transit buses that are currently operating with an axle weight exceeding the current legal limit.

AB 2231 (Fuentes) Sidewalks: Repairs. League position: Pending. 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) Natural Gas Pipelines: Pipeline Integrity Management. League position: Pending. This bill would require that gas corporations notify a city whenever a pipeline integrity plan may result in pipeline inspection, remediation, or replacement work in the jurisdiction. Also requires the city to expedite any permitting or other actions necessary to complete the necessary work.

SB 1388 (DeSaulnier) Parking: Inoperable Parking Meters. League position: Seeking Amendments. This bill would allow a vehicle to park in any parking space with an inoperable parking meter or parking payment center for up to the posted time limit. This bill allows a city to enact and enforce an ordinance that provides for a different policy (example - no parking at an inoperable parking meter), provided the city post the rule with "signs or markings." Defines "inoperable parking meter" and "parking payment center" for the purposes of the section.

SB 1570 (Wyland) Vehicles: Automated Parking Enforcement. League position: Pending Support. This bill would authorize the installation of an automated parking enforcement system on a street sweeper operated by a private vendor pursuant to a contract with a local agency.



 
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