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Major Employee-Backed Legislation Costly to Local Agencies Awaits Final Legislative Action

Cities Encouraged to Voice Concerns

August 5, 2014
With less than a month to go in the legislative session there are currently five major pending measures sponsored by local employee groups that the League and other organizations oppose due to concerns over increased costs and limitations on local authority.
This list reflects bills currently in print, but local agencies also need to be prepared to react to late-hour “gut and amends” prior to the Legislature’s Aug. 31 adjournment.

Since most of these measures impose costs on local agencies, the first hurdle will be whether or not they will be held in one of the appropriation committees' suspense files. The appropriations committees must determine which bills to release next week prior to the Aug. 15 fiscal deadline. Bills that are released may be amended in ways to reduce potential costs or simply sent to the Assembly and Senate Floors where they will likely pass and let the Governor make the final decision.
Gov. Jerry Brown has spoken much in recent years about his philosophy of “subsidiarity,” which means leaving flexibility at the local level, as well as his recognition about the challenges local agencies are facing meeting their pension and other obligations to existing employees. Should these bills reach his desk, local agencies would hope that his decisions reflect his philosophy and fiscal concerns.   
The bills are:
AB 2126 (Bonta): Collective bargaining: mediation and fact-finding. Allows any issue within the scope of representation to be submitted for PERB fact-finding and requires PERB to select mediators if one is not agreed to within five days. This measure would impose significant costs on local agencies and remove balance points in the existing collective bargaining process, by creating leverage and delay mechanisms to the detriment of public employers and their responsibility to make responsible decisions for local taxpayers.
AB 2052 (Gonzalez): Workers’ compensation. Increases employer costs by expanding the listing of peace officers that qualify for various workers compensation presumptions.
AB 2378 (Perea): Workers’ compensation: temporary disability payments. Increases costs to local agencies by providing an additional year of temporary disability eligibility to public safety personnel; therefore providing up to three full years of temporary disability payments: one year at full salary (Section 4850 time), and two years at two-thirds salary.
AB 1522 (Gonzalez): Employment: paid sick days. Requires cities, counties, and special districts to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Local agencies already have sick leave policies for their employees; the state should not insert itself into this area which should be left to local collective bargaining.
SB 556 (Corbett): Nongovernmental entity uniform/logo display. This measure requires individuals and firms that perform contract work for public agencies to provide large letter markings on their uniforms and vehicles declaring that they are not governmental employees. This measure is in the process of being revised to supposedly narrow its scope and substitute Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) as principal author. Once the amendments are in print, the League will reevaluate the measure.
Take Action
Cities that have not yet taken oppose positions on these measures that undercut local authority and finances should do so and be prepared to lobby their legislators and potentially the Governor. The links to each of these bills above includes a sample letter that cities can tailor.

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