Resolves a pension problem that prevented the cities of San Mateo, Belmont and Foster City from completing their Joint Powers Agreement for shared fire service. It allows the three cities to provide the JPA employees a defined benefit plan that those employees received as "classic" CalPERS members from their previous employment with the cities. San Mateo County Firefighters and the California Professional Firefighters supported SB 24, along with the cities of San Mateo, Belmont and Foster City.
Establishes the Office of the Safety Advocate within the California Public Utilities Commission to advocate for continuous, cost-effective improvement of safety management and safety performance of public utilities.
Complements the $10 million included in the 2016-2017 budget for the statewide earthquake early warning system by establishing the Earthquake Early Warning Advisory Board within the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The new law brings California closer to statewide implementation of the earthquake early warning system. In emergencies, the urgent alerts sent by the warning system can help prevent devastating and life-threatening missteps. Governor Brown’s announcement of his signing the bill is here and view video of the press conference held at the Office of Emergency Services headquarters here.
SB 465 is aimed at increasing oversight of contractors by closing the gaps in information that were revealed by the collapse of a balcony at a Berkeley apartment building on June 16, 2015. Ashley Donohoe, 22, of Rohnert Park, her cousin, Olivia Burke, 21, of Ireland, and four of their friends were killed. Seven other students from Ireland, including Aoife Beary who had been celebrating her 21st birthday, were hospitalized for weeks after the balcony gave way and sent them plummeting five stories to the ground.
Aoife Beary, her mother Angela, Ashley Donohoe’s mother, Jackie, and representatives of the Irish Consulate testified to policy committees in the Capitol about the devastating loss felt by families from California to Ireland – and urged legislators to support SB 465, which was co-authored by Senator Loni Hancock, D-Oakland.
The new law:
- Requires California’s Department of Industrial Relations and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to transmit information to the Contractors State License Board about any actions taken against CSLB licensees.
- Authorizes the CSLB to enter into agreements with other state and local agencies in order to receive information about any actions those agencies take against licensed contractors.
- Requires licensed contractors to report to the CSLB within 90 days any convictions for felonies, or any other crimes substantially related to the licensees’ qualifications, functions and duties.
- Directs the CSLB to study judgments, arbitration awards and settlements of claims of construction defects at rental residential units and report to the Legislature, by January 1, 2018, whether requiring licensees to report such dispositions would enable to the board to better protect the public.
- Directs the working group formed by the California Building Standards Commission to study recent failures of elevated elements on the exterior of buildings in order to determine whether statutory changes or changes to the California Building Standards Code are necessary. The commission’s working group must submit its report on findings and recommendations to relevant legislative policy committees by January 1, 2018.
SB 512 reforms the governance structure of the California Public Utilities Commission by more clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of commissioners and staff, and by requiring the CPUC to reach out to communities affected by CPUC decisions, instead of only to regulated utilities.
To do so, SB 512 makes the following statutory changes: It 1) requires the commission to annually approve performance criteria for the commission and the executive director, and to annually evaluate the performance of the executive director based on those criteria; 2) requires the CPUC to reach out to those affected by its proceedings; 3) requires CPUC judges to adhere to ethics provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act; 4) allows the public to receive hearing transcripts at no charge; 5) permits the CPUC to meet in locations other than San Francisco; 6) requires the CPUC to modify its annual report to clarify how long the CPUC takes to finish rate or penalty cases; and 7) allows local governments to receive intervenor compensation when participating in CPUC efforts to improve safety, enabling local governments that have suffered catastrophes to seek such compensation.
SB 661 addresses safety problems involving excavations and gas pipelines that are beneath soil or are otherwise underground by making clarifications to the so-called "one-call" law ("Call 811 before you dig") and by creating the Safe Excavation Board, an appointed board of excavation stakeholders that is funded by fees on utilities. The board is to 1) investigate accidents and other "one-call" violations; 2) develop standards for safe excavation; and 3) coordinate education and outreach efforts.
Improves the safety and oversight of tour buses operating in California by strengthening the California Highway Patrol’s tour bus inspection program. The law was prompted by a tour bus accident in San Francisco’s Union Square in November 2015 that injured 20 people, at least five critically. After the crash, the CHP determined that the bus had never been inspected and was not registered with the California Public Utilities Commission, as is required by law. The CHP later conducted a surprise inspection of the company’s bus fleet and found over 60 violations, 29 for mechanical problems.
A winner of Senator Hill’s 2016 “Oughta Be a Law…Or Not” bill idea contest for constituents, SB 814 pulls the plug on excessive water use by households that flout mandatory reductions during drought emergencies. The law requires urban retail water suppliers to set rules for identifying and cracking down on households that consume enormous amounts of water despite restrictions imposed during a statewide declaration of a drought. The new law ensures that every urban retail water supplier has a tool to curb excessive water use by customers. Households that guzzle water – while neighbors and most other Californians abide by mandatory reductions – will no longer be able to hide and persist in their excess.
Another winner of Senator Hill’s 2016 “Oughta Be a Law…” contest, SB 869 responds to numerous thefts of handguns that law enforcement officers had left in cars. The stolen firearms included guns used in two murders in the Bay Area. SB 869 closes a legal loophole that had exempted law enforcement officers as well as concealed weapons permit holders from requirements to securely stow handguns in a lockbox out of plain view, or in the trunk, if the weapons are left in an unattended vehicle.
Aids local nonprofit and religious organizations that provide affordable housing by increasing the assessed property value exemption from $2,000,000 annually to $10,000,000 annually. The new law applies to three local nonprofits, such as the Saint Francis Center in Redwood City and the Ministry Services of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul based in Los Altos Hills, which provides housing, food and clothing services to low-income families. SB 996 provides property tax relief to such organizations so that they can continue to provide more affordable housing for low income people and families.
Hailed by Governor Brown for its innovation, SB 1004 authorizes a pilot program in five counties, including Santa Clara, to give nonviolent young adult offenders between the ages of 18 and 21 the opportunity to take advantage of supportive and educational services in the juvenile justice system, rather than serve their time in an adult county jail. Although legally considered adults, these young offenders are still undergoing significant brain development, and may be better served by the juvenile justice system with age-appropriate, intensive services. Research shows that people do not develop adult-caliber, decision-making skills until their early 20s. Psychologists note that this maturity gap makes young adults more likely to engage in risk-seeking behavior.
SB 1028 requires 1) utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission to file wildfire mitigation plans, 2) the CPUC to review those plans, and 3) publicly-owned utilities to also file wildfire mitigation plans with their governing boards.
SB 1039 makes several changes to the statutes governing various boards and bureaus under the Department of Consumer Affairs; includes specified fee increases for several boards including the Dental Hygiene Committee of California, the California Board of Optometry, the Board of Registered Nursing, the Board of Pharmacy, and the Contractors State License Board; and eliminates the Telephone Medical Advice Services Bureau.
SB 1039 specifies that the continuing education standards established for nurses by the Board of Registered Nursing shall recognize specialized areas of practice, as previously required, and require that content be relevant to the practice of nursing, be related to the scientific knowledge or technical skills required for the practice of nursing, or be related to direct or indirect patient or client care. The legislation requires the nursing board to audit continuing education providers at least once every five years to ensure adherence to regulatory requirements. The new law also requires the board to withhold or rescind approval from any provider that is in violation of the regulatory requirements.
Extends a pilot program requiring drunk driving offenders in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties to install the devices known as IIDs. IIDs are calibrated to the driver and prevent a car from starting if the driver is not sober. The four-county pilot would run until January 1, 2019, when the program would be expanded statewide with minor modifications so that:
- A first conviction for driving drunk and causing injury would result in an IID being required for six months
- With a first conviction for driving under the influence that did not involve injuries, the offender could choose to install and use an IID for six months, enabling full driving privileges – or choose a one-year restricted license, which would limit driving to travel to and from work or a treatment program.
- A second DUI offense would result in a one-year IID requirement
- A third DUI offense, a two-year IID requirement
- A fourth DUI offense or more, a three-year IID requirement
SB 1046 also creates an early incentive program, providing DUI offenders with full driving privileges soon after arrest if they install an IID. Their ultimate IID time requirement would be reduced based on when the early installation occurred. Low income offenders would be eligible for assistance to pay for an IID based on a sliding scale pegged to household income.
SB 1192 changes the California Private Post-Secondary Education Act of 2009 to improve the effectiveness of the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary Education and opportunities for student success, and extends the BPPE’s operations for four years.
SB 1193 makes changes to the Pharmacy Law, Veterinary Practice Act and Psychology Licensing Law to strengthen the laws and improve oversight of licensees by these boards.
SB 1196 ensures that the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services is subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature. The legislation changes provisions in the Alarm Company Act, the Locksmith Act, the Private Investigator Act, the Private Security Services Act, Proprietary Security Services Act, and Collateral Recovery Act to improve the oversight, enforcement and regulation of licensees by the bureau. The bill also adds a sunset review date for the Bureau of Real Estate and the Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers, and changes existing laws to improve oversight, enforcement and regulation by the CalBRE and BREA.
SB 1196 includes several consumer protection and public safety reforms to operations and oversight by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, which licenses about 380,000 companies and employees that provide alarm services, locksmith services, private investigation, private security, repossession services and firearm and baton training.
The changes are intended to ensure that an applicant for licensure as an armed security guard is capable of exercising appropriate judgment, restraint and self-control; that armed security guards are qualified for their jobs, and that California regulators step up their policing of the industry.
SB 1196 also imposes stricter training standards and requirements to ensure that shootings and incidents of suspected excessive force are investigated. In addition, the new law enables gun permits to be revoked when warranted and improves oversight of companies.
SB 21 – Transparency for Elected Official Travel – Increases transparency within the Political Reform Act by requiring nonprofits that pay for elected official travel to disclose to the FPPC the names of the donors responsible for funding the travel. Prior law allowed nonprofits that fund conferences to hide the donors that provide funding. The public has a right to know who is paying for conferences attended by elected officials which typically occur at destinations around the world. SB 21 also requires elected officials to disclose to the FPPC the destination of their travel if it was a gift.
SB 27 – Antibiotics in Livestock – Makes California the first state in the nation to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Unnecessary use of antibiotics has been linked to the development of antibiotic resistant infections, which affect at least 2 million Americans each year and cause at least 23,000 deaths.
The following requirements go into effect on January 1, 2018:
• A prescription will be required for all medically important antibiotics used in livestock.
• The use of medically important antibiotics to fatten up livestock will be prohibited.
• There will be limits on using medically important antibiotics for disease prevention.
Other provisions in the bill went into effect on January 1, 2016:
• The Department of Food and Agriculture will develop an antibiotic stewardship program to promote better use of antibiotics and to promote alternatives to reduce the need to use antibiotics in the first place.
• The Department of Food and Agriculture will also begin a program to monitor the use of medically important antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in livestock.
• Penalties will be imposed on producers and veterinarians for noncompliance with the legislation, including fines, educational classes on antibiotic use, and actions against a veterinarian's license.
SB 61 – Ignition Interlock Devices for DUIs – Four-County Pilot Program – Ensures that all DUI offenders in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties continue to install Ignition Interlock Devices on their vehicles to protect the public from drunk drivers. The bill extends the sunset by 1.5 years (from Dec 2015 to July 2017) for the Department of Motor Vehicle’s four-county IID pilot program so the Legislature can review the DMV report on the program, which was expected to be issued in late 2015, and determine the best way to move forward in 2016. Without this legislation, the DMV report could have been released at the time the program sunsets, preventing the Legislature from having an opportunity to decide if it wants to continue, expand or end the pilot program.
SB 361 – Reducing Antibiotic Resistance in Nursing Homes – Helps to reduce the development of antibiotic resistant infections by requiring all nursing homes to implement antibiotic stewardship programs and by requiring veterinarians to take continuing education in the judicious use of antibiotics. This is important because nationwide, up to 70 percent of nursing home residents receive an antibiotic every year and 27,000 acquire an antibiotic resistant infection and as veterinarians continue to gain more authority in the administration of these lifesaving drugs, it’s important that veterinarians keep up to date on the most relevant research to use antibiotics as effectively as possible.
SB 494 – Facilitating California’s Earthquake Early Warning System – Helps facilitate the implementation of California’s earthquake early warning system by establishing the California Earthquake Safety Fund. SB 494 builds on existing policy to ensure California is prepared for the next Big One.
SB 541 – Improving the Safety Enforcement For Limousines and Buses – Makes improvements to the CPUC’s transportation branch, which has failed to provide adequate customer service and safety enforcement. To improve customer service, the bill establishes new program priorities, such as timely processing of applications and consumer complaints. It improves public safety by authorizing law enforcement officers to cite drivers of limousines, buses, or moving vans that are pulled over and found to be operating without a valid CPUC permit. To help keep our roads safe, the bill further allows law enforcement operators to impound limousines and buses operating without a permit or being driven by an unlicensed driver.
SB 598 – Sales Tax Exemption for All-Volunteer Fire Departments In California – Winner of Senator Hill’s 2015 “Oughta Be A Law” Constituent Contest - Helps all-volunteer fire departments better utilize scarce resources by exempting them from sales tax liability on fundraising activities (including pancake breakfasts and T-shirt sales). SB 598 ensures that the entire gross amount of a fundraiser stays with an all-volunteer fire department and helps provide critically needed equipment and services.
SB 633 – Modernizing California’s Made in USA Labeling Law – Updates California’s “Made in the USA” labeling standard to reflect the real-world market in which companies make products using components from around the world. Until SB 633 was signed into law, California was the only state that used an impractical 100 percent domestic content requirement for manufactured goods. SB 633 provides California and domestic manufacturers a much needed tool to entice consumers to buy their products.
SB 658 – More Access to AEDs – Increases public and private access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by streamlining state requirements that commercial building owners and public facilities need to follow to be immune from liability if they have AEDs on their property. Under prior law, facilities like schools, office buildings, stadiums and shopping malls that have AEDs were only immune from liability if they met onerous conditions, including costly training and medical oversight requirements. SB 658 modernizes liability requirements with more basic safeguards such as battery checks, AED maintenance, AED location notification for building tenants, posting of instructions next to the device, and an annual demonstration for building tenants.
SB 671 – Lower Cost Biosimilar Drug Substitution – Allows patients to save money on life-saving drugs by allowing for the automatic substitution of lower cost biosimilar drugs for brand name biologics. Biologic medicines are the next generation of life-saving medicines used to treat blood conditions, cancers, immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn’s Disease and neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis. The bill also ensures that doctors will have access to complete medical records for their patients who are taking this new generation of medications.
SB 705 – San Mateo County Transportation Funding – Authorizes the counties of San Mateo and Monterey to seek approval from their voters, on a two-thirds threshold, to increase their local sales tax for purposes of funding local transportation projects. Earlier law established a 2 percent tax cap for all counties in the state, but counties like San Mateo, Monterey and Los Angeles were at or approaching the limit. The bill provides a .5 percent exemption for San Mateo and a .375 percent exemption for the Transportation Agency for Monterey, affording each county the flexibility to place items before voters to fund local transportation programs. This bill allows the voters in San Mateo County and Monterey County to decide if they want to further fund transportation projects in their counties.
SB 434 – CPUC Commissioner Board Conflicts – Prohibits current and future members of the CPUC from sitting on governing boards of entities they create as commissioners. Also tightens a conflict-of-interest provision to rein in CPUC president Michael Peevey. Since he was appointed in 2002, Peevey has been involved in the creation of seven foundations and for-profit ventures funded with $160 million of ratepayer money, and he serves on the boards of some of those entities. These foundations are not subject to the close scrutiny that legislative committees give third-party entities that receive taxpayer money, nor do they undergo merit reviews to ensure ratepayers money is well spent.
SB 445 – Underground Storage Tank Cleanup – Protects soil and groundwater from petroleum contamination by making several reforms to the state’s underground storage tank cleanup fund such as requiring single-wall gas station tanks to be replaced within 10 years. Also allows money from the fund to be used for surface and groundwater contamination cleanup and provide the State Water Board with more authority to crack down on fraud from claimants and consultants.
SB 611 – Limousine Safety Inspections – Spurred by a tragic limousine fire in 2013 that killed five women on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, this bill expands safety protections to limousines that seat 10 or fewer people. Specifically, the bill requires that modified limousines with a seating capacity of fewer than 10 passengers be equipped with two readily accessible and fully charged fire extinguishers and be inspected by the California Highway Patrol every 13 months.
SB 636 – Due Process in CPUC Penalty Proceedings – Preserves due process in CPUC penalty proceedings by allowing commission staff to serve in an advocacy role or in an advisory role, but not both concurrently. Last year, the commission’s general counsel dismissed all the attorneys prosecuting PG&E. The attorneys felt it illegal and unethical to advocate that PG&E should not be penalized. Since the general counsel advises the commissioners, it would be unethical for the general counsel to also direct the prosecution. While an ethical separation of roles is already the general practice at the CPUC, agency guidelines allow this practice to be waived whenever convenient.
SB 699 – Electric Grid Security – Requires the CPUC to adopt rules compelling utilities to protect the state’s electric power grid from vandalism and attack. The legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate just two days after the second of two serious security breaches in as many years at Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s Metcalf power substation near San Jose. The security breach occurred despite PG&E’s security improvements to the substation as a part of its three-year, $100 million program to increase security system wide. The improvements were prompted by an attack on April 16, 2013, in which snipers knocked out 17 giant transformers at the Metcalf facility and slipped into an underground vault to cut telephone cables. The former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has called the attack “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the United States.
SB 900 – CPUC Safety in Ratemaking – Requires the CPUC to consider the safety performance of natural gas and electricity companies when setting customer rates and developing regulations. For at least three years, the PUC has recognized the need to scope safety into its proceedings, but the development of effective procedures for doing so has been slow. Because the commission has only recently begun to incorporate risk management tools in its policymaking, it has yet to embed safety considerations in the process. SB 900 would ensure such efforts continue and are completed.
SB 915 – Mills High School Advanced Placement Testing – Clarifies rules for conducting advanced placement tests for college admission and placement and ensures that investigations and retesting occur in a timely fashion if exams are called into question. It was sponsored by parents and students from Mills High School who submitted the bill idea in the Senator’s annual “Oughta Be a Law …” contest after the test scores of 286 Mills students on 641 advanced placement exams were invalidated in July 2013. The testing process had been challenged and the agency overseeing the exams deemed that “testing irregularities” occurred, even though an investigation turned up no evidence of cheating or other impropriety.
SB 968 – Martins Beach Access – Requires the State Lands Commission to enter into negotiations with Silicon Valley billionaire and Martins Beach property owner Vinod Khosla for one year, to acquire a right-of-way or easement for the creation of a public access route to and along the shoreline, including the sandy beach, at Martins Beach. If the commission is unable to reach an agreement to acquire a right-of-way or easement or Khosla does not voluntarily provide public access by January 1, 2016, the commission may acquire a right-of-way or easement, pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 6210.9 (eminent domain), for the creation of a public access route to and along the shoreline.
SB 1027 – Bars Web Mug Shot ‘Extortion’ – Bars websites from posting arrest mug shots and then charging hundreds, and if not thousands, of dollars to take the photos down. Sites that post mug shots and charge fees to remove them have flourished by making the photos widely available via the Web. This bill stops these shakedowns. A mug shot is included in an arrest record for identification purposes but it is not intended to imply guilt. In more than half of the cases in California, an arrest does not lead to a charge or conviction.
SB 1064 – NTSB Rail Safety Recommendations – Requires the CPUC to respond to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations for rail safety. The legislation mirrors Hill’s AB 578 of 2012, which requires the PUC to reply to NTSB recommendations for natural gas safety within 90 days and to vote on those recommendations and how they will be carried out. Last year, a rail car on the Angel’s Flight Railway in Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill derailed, leading to a dangerous rescue of four passengers. The firefighter who led the effort had no ropes, railing or walkway to prevent him or the passengers from falling onto concrete 25 feet below. After a fatal 2001 accident on the line, the NTSB had recommended that the commission prevent Angel’s Flight from reopening unless a walkway was constructed to provide a safe path of escape, but the CPUC chose not to do so – an action NTSB considered “unacceptable,” though there had been no mechanism to force the CPUC to comply.
SB 1249 – Auto & Appliance Shredder Waste Regulation – Requires the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to regulate shredded automobile and metal appliance waste. Roughly 700,000 tons of this waste – also called fluff – is disposed of in the state’s landfills each year. But state toxics regulators have failed to revoke an exemption granted decades ago to the metal shredding industry regarding this type of waste, despite warnings from top scientists that this waste could become hazardous during the shredding process. A 2001 legal opinion by DTSC attorneys called the exemption “outdated and legally incorrect.” Seven fires have broken out at metal recycling facilities in the Bay Area since 2007. After fires in November and December, Redwood City leaders called on regulators to do more to help protect residents from future incidents. This bill rescinds exemptions for facilities that deal with vehicle shredder waste and require DTSC to develop regulations to ensure that treatment, transport and disposal are conducted in a manner that protects public health and the environment. The legislation also provides for better DTSC oversight of the industry to prevent contamination, explosions and other risks to California communities.
SB 1311 - Establishing Hospital Protocols for Antibiotic Use in Patients – Requires general acute care hospitals in California to establish antimicrobial stewardship programs by July 1, 2015. Stewardship programs ensure that antibiotics are used only when necessary, that the right antibiotic is chosen, and that antibiotics are administered correctly.
SB 1409 – CPUC Safety Investigations – Requires the CPUC to list in a report the gas and electric accident investigations the commission finalized in the previous year, as well as those pending completion. The bill also requires the commission to summarize these investigations in its annual report. The CPUC has reported that 150 fatalities and 413 injuries have occurred involving PG&E’s, Southern California Edison’s, and San Diego Gas and Electric’s electrical facilities since 2003. An average of 13 such fatalities occur in California each year. Although the CPUC is required by law to investigate accidents involving electricity infrastructure that result in fatalities and serious injuries, the investigations typically take years to complete, and there is no accounting of completed investigations or those in progress, nor has the public been told of the nature of these accidents.
SB 1415 – Bay Area Quality Management District Advisory Council – Modernizes the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s (BAAQMD) Advisory Council. Currently the BAAQMD is the only air management district in the state with prescriptive categories of people that must serve on their Advisory Council which was established in 1959. The bill reduces the cumbersome membership of 20 to a manageable seven, and it would also require the members of the Advisory Council to be skilled and experienced in the fields of air pollution, the health impacts of air pollution or climate change.
SB 1430 – San Francisco International Airport Unlicensed Commercial Transportation Operators – Closes a procedural loophole and enables the San Mateo County District Attorney to prosecute unlicensed commercial transportation operators that illegally transport passengers to San Francisco International Airport.
SB 1433 – Modern Infrastructure Contracting – Extends the sunset for the “design-build” contracting tool for transit operators for two years. “Design-build” is a contracting process that allows both the design of a project and its construction to be covered in a single contract—a tool well-suited to large, complicated infrastructure projects. This two-year extension better allows transit operators to deliver critical capital projects like the BART extension or the electrification of CalTrain.
Provides an alternative to payday loans by increasing access to loans for people who are unable to obtain affordable credit from banks and credit unions. Californians who lack credit scores or have very thin credit files currently have few options when they need to borrow money; credit cards and low-interest rate installment loans are commonly unavailable to them. Californians with subprime credit scores also have few options, and typically go to payday lenders when their incomes fail to match their spending needs. SB 318 would establish a four-year pilot program to increase the availability of affordable, credit-building loans with principal amounts between $300 and $2,500. The bill builds on a small-dollar loan pilot program enacted during 2010, which has failed to significantly increase the availability of responsible, small-dollar loans in California. SB 318 continues the successful aspects of the earlier pilot, modifies components that have not worked as intended, and adds consumer protections that were not included in the earlier pilot. The goal is to increase the number of lenders offering responsible, credit- building loans between $300 and $2,500 and expand access to these loans.
Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop a safety enforcement program for gas and electric violations. Following National Transportation Safety Board and Independent Review Panel recommendations, the CPUC has allowed staff to cite utilities for gas safety violations, but the CPUC has not developed a program to improve safety using this increased staff authority. This bill also requires the CPUC to extend this staff authority to electric safety violations. Roughly 10 people a year are killed at high- voltage electric facilities, but the CPUC has not opened enforcement actions against utilities for electrical violations of anything short of a massive wildfire.
Ensures that taxpayer-financed organizations are held to the same standards of accountability and transparency as any other political action committee. Improves the transparency of campaign activity by nonprofit organizations that receive at least 20 percent of their gross revenue from taxpayer dollars and that engage in political or campaign spending. The bill requires these organizations to deposit into a separate bank account and disclose on their website and to the Franchise Tax Board all sources of non-public funds that the organizations receive and spend on electioneering. SB 594 clarifies that nonprofits cannot use public resources they receive for campaign activities. Public resources include funds generated from activities related to tax-exempt bond financing. Finally, the bill requires the Franchise Tax Board to perform an audit when campaign activity by a nonprofit organizations amounts to $500,000 or more in a year.
Limits the high-speed rail project on the Peninsula to a blended, primarily two-track system that minimizes impacts to communities along the Caltrain right-of-way. Puts to rest concerns on the Peninsula that the California High-Speed Rail Authority could revisit a four-track option that disrupts communities. Gives local agencies like Caltrain veto-authority if a four-track option is ever revisited. The bill also closes a potential loophole by ensuring that funds cannot be transferred from the Peninsula segment to other segments of the project.
Resolves dilemma that led to the fatal shooting of two starving cubs in Half Moon Bay on Nov. 30, 2012. Requires that non-lethal procedures be used when the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is called to deal with a mountain lion that has wandered into a residential area and does not pose an imminent threat to the public. Authorizes the DFW to partner with wildlife groups and nonprofits in these cases. Non-lethal options that may be considered include capturing, pursuing, anesthetizing, marking, transporting, hazing, relocating, providing veterinary care to and rehabilitating mountain lions.
Allows voters to confirm their mail-in ballot was counted. Requires county election officials to establish a system allowing vote-by-mail voters to learn if their ballot was counted and, if it was not, why it wasn't. The 2012 general election was the first time a majority of voters in California cast their ballots by mail. This legislation was suggested by the winner of Hill's annual "Oughta Be a Law…or Not" contest, who wrote that he has voted by mail for more than a decade, but is not sure that his votes have been counted because he could not obtain confirmation from the registrar.
Increases consumer protections by empowering the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) to better regulate investment advisers and broker-dealers. California does not perform regular examinations of its broker-dealers, their agents, or its investment advisers or their representatives, averaging a license review and examination frequency of once every 28 years compared to the suggested time frame of once every four years. Licensed broker-dealers and investment advisers are reviewed once, upon their initial application for a license, and often never again. SB 538 makes several changes to the state's Corporate Securities Law of 1968 to improve the state's ability to protect California investors. The bill's provisions augment the securities law enforcement resources of the DBO and streamline the process by which DBO may collect judgments from securities licensees that violate the securities laws. SB 538 will reverse the historic under-funding of securities enforcement with fees paid by the regulated community, which allows California's securities regulators to better protect California investors. California is home to 3,100 licensed broker-dealer firms, which employ 285,000 agents, and to 3,600 licensed investment adviser firms, which employ just over 50,000 representatives.
Increases the consumer protections available to people who obtain prepaid rental listing services (PRLS) from people licensed to provide those services and includes changes intended to make it more difficult for unlicensed PRLS providers to engage in business. The high demand for rental properties has created a market ripe for prepaid rental listing service scams. In recent months, there have been news reports in various regions of the state, documenting abuses, and the Bureau of Real Estate has issued a Consumer Fraud Alert and Warning to encourage consumers to check out their rental list providers before paying for services.
Provides a process through Caltrans and local governments to allow continued use of Redevelopment Agency signs. These signs are currently approved by RDAs, but since they were disbanded, legislation is necessary to allow for their continued use provided they meet specific standards. There are about 100 of these large signs (typically on the side of freeways / highways) directing people to various stores in the RDA boundary.
Extends the compensation restrictions and Abuse of Power provisions (AB 1344, 2011) to all local agency executives who work under an employment contract. These restrictions were put in place after the City of Bell scandal was reported in 2010. The bill’s expansion includes city managers or county executives, but will also include deputy county executives and city managers and any other employee who has an employment contract with a local agency. SB 407 will prevent extravagant rewards to local agency employees and reduce the liability of local governments to provide paid leave and legal defense costs for employees who are convicted of abuse of power charges.
Maintains consumer and business protections by continuing criteria and methodology for local governments to measure and to verify the pricing accuracy of check-out stand scanners (a.k.a. point-of-sale systems). The law reflects a consensus agreement between county officials and retailers, and created uniform, statewide standards and fees thereby avoiding a county-by-county patchwork of scanner accuracy verification programs.
Deletes the sunset date on a 2008 bill (SB 1007), which defined the term “exchange facilitator” and established a series of allowable and prohibited actions for exchange facilitators. By deleting the sunset date in existing law, SB 139 ensures that the consumer protections added to our law by SB 1007 will continue indefinitely. Exchange Facilitators are persons who facilitate tax-deferred transactions known as IRS Section 1031 exchanges. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code permits individuals and businesses to exchange similar real or personal property without triggering a taxable event. In order to defer the capital gain from the sale of property under Section 1031, the taxpayer cannot receive funds from the sale. The United States Treasury identified several safe harbors that taxpayers could use to exchange like property and avoid a taxable event. Among the safe harbors are the use of a qualified intermediary and the use of a qualified trustee or escrow holder, both commonly referred to as an exchange facilitator. In the 1031 exchange proceeds from the sale would to go the exchange facilitator who holds them until they are needed to acquire a replacement property, then the funds are delivered to the closing agent. An exchange facilitator can generally hold distributed funds for up to 180 days while the exchange is completed.
Enhances existing laws governing the sales of unlicensed secondhand goods and provides additional due process protections to licensed pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers in order to limit the potential for criminal transfer of property.
Allows a three-year divestment period for Hollywood Park Card Club after the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas opens due to the card club’s unique ownership situation. Current California law prohibits entities from owning gaming interests within the state and outside of the state. It is intended to provide a smooth ownership transition for CalPERS and the pension funds which own the card club and the City of Inglewood where the card club facility is located. Language in the bill prevents Hollywood Park card club from utilizing Sahara funds during the divestment period and disallows cross-promotion between the two facilities.
AB 41 (Chapter 626, Statutes of 2012) - High-Speed Rail Authority Transparency
Requires High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) board members to disclose financial investments, closing a loophole that has allowed HSRA members to receive thousands of dollars from special interests while voting on issues that impact those very interests. The bill also requires that HSRA's internal peer reviewers do the same.
AB 45 (Chapter 461, Statutes of 2012) - Underage Drinking on Party Buses
Closes a loophole in current law that holds limousine operators, but not buses, responsible for underage drinking. The bill would require party bus companies to ask the person making a reservation if alcohol will be served and if there will be anyone on board under 21 years old. Under the legislation, an adult chaperone must be present if alcohol and persons under 21 will be on board. Bus companies will be subject to license suspension or revocation for non-compliance. Bus drivers will be subject to a misdemeanor if they do not comply and chaperones also will be subject to a misdemeanor for providing alcohol to a minor.
AB 374 (Chapter 364, Statutes of 2012) - Funeral Directors
Allows a funeral establishment to obtain an establishment license by submitting a request to secure a bond in lieu of an audit report. There are occasions when the owner of a funeral establishment dies, and the license is transferred to a new owner and it may be impossible to immediately submit an audit of the preneed trust funds in order to complete the assignment of the license. The inability to assign the funeral establishment license, and complete the transfer of ownership keeps funeral businesses from carrying on their business operations.
AB 578 (Chapter 462, Statutes of 2012) - Federal NTSB Safety Recommendations on Gas Pipeline Safety
Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to act on gas safety recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Before the San Bruno explosion in 2010, the NTSB had repeatedly recommended the installation of emergency shutoff valves, which might have shut off the gas to the fire in as few as five to 15 minutes instead of the 90 minutes it took PG&E to manually close the valves. Also, the explosion of a Cupertino condominium and a seven-hour fire in an intersection in Roseville were caused by a type of pipe that killed forty people in the 1990s and about which the NTSB had made recommendations that the PUC never acted on.
AB 838 (Chapter 341, Statutes of 2012) - Electronic Waybill (January 1, 2014)
Clarifies that a waybill, or trip report, used by charter party carriers such as limos and party buses, can be kept in either hard copy or electronic format. Waybills contain information such as the point of origin and destination of the traveling party and identifying information about the traveling party.
AB 861 (Chapter 464, Statutes of 2012) - Utility Incentive Compensation
Requires the Public Utilities Commission to determine the appropriate ratemaking treatment of bonus compensation for utility executives based on the utility's stock price or financial performance. Utilities are not typical corporations. They cannot increase their profit by increasing market share or selling more product. They cannot raise their revenue as the total amount they are able to recover in rates is set by the Public Utilities Commission. The only way a public utility can increase its profit is by cutting its operations and maintenance costs, as has been clearly demonstrated by PG&E in the years leading up to the San Bruno explosion.
AB 1277 (Chapter 688, Statutes of 2012) - Reduces Duplicative State and Federal Government Inspections
Streamlines duplicative inspections performed on biotechnology companies by the federal Food and Drug Administration and the state Food and Drug Branch. Clarifies that the federal FDA shall be responsible for initial and biennial inspections and the state FDB shall be responsible for taking action against companies in instances where the public's health and safety may be at risk.
AB 1301 (Chapter 335, Statutes of 2012) - Reducing Sales of Tobacco to Minors
Cracks down on stores that repeatedly sell tobacco products to minors by allowing the state to suspend and revoke a store's license instead of the current monetary penalties. If a store is convicted three times in a five-year window, its license would be suspended for 45 days. Five convictions in a five-year window would result in license revocation.
AB 1452 (Chapter 185, Statutes of 2012) - Child Safety Seats
Requires hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers, when discharging a child, to inform the parent where they can have a child passenger restraint system inspected and receive instruction on its proper installation at no cost. Over 90 percent of parents and caregivers believe their child safety seats are installed correctly, but National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research shows that seven out of 10 children are improperly restrained, putting them at risk for serious injury or death in a crash. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of children, 3 to 14 years of age. Many of these deaths can be prevented through the proper use of child safety seats. According to NHTSA, child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers, 1 to 4 years of age.
AB 1456 (Chapter 469, Statutes of 2012) - Gas Safety Performance
Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop measures and standards for gas safety. The PUC's own Independent Review Panel criticized the PUC for not monitoring and enforcing safety performance at PG&E prior to the San Bruno explosion. This bill would require the PUC to determine what constitutes safe operation and give it the ability to assess penalties against utilities for poor performance.
AB 1718 (Chapter 193, Statutes of 2012) - Real Estate Broker Qualifications
Strengthens the requirement that potential real estate brokers have actual practical experience (at least two years) in the real estate field prior to obtaining their broker's license. Currently, it is possible to become a real estate broker - someone who supervises agents, reviews documents, and has other oversight responsibilities - without having any real-world experience in the real estate industry.
AB 1782 (Chapter 693, Statutes of 2012) - Weighmasters Exemption
Streamlines government regulation by removing a duplicative requirement that is currently required by two departments. The California Department of Public Health currently tracks and requires reporting for the hauling and disposal of medical waste in California to ensure that medical waste is properly counted, tracked and treated. This bill eliminates the duplication of the same process by the Department of Food and Agriculture, which requires that certified weighmaster manually record medical waste weight information and keep paper records.
AB 2019 (Chapter 642, Statutes of 2012) - Foster Family Home Protections
Prohibits insurance companies from denying or terminating homeowners insurance policies to those who are foster parents in certified foster family homes.
AB 2165 (Chapter 603, Statutes of 2012) - Increasing the Net Metering Cap for Fuel Cells
Expands fuel cell generation in the state fivefold by increasing the amount of clean electricity that generators can sell back to the grid. Fuel cells are a clean, low-carbon technology and are an important part of California's diverse renewable energy portfolio.
AB 2167 (Chapter 251, Statutes of 2012) - Bay Area Water Supply Conservation Agency Financing
Would help save up to $35 million for water customers in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Francisco counties by allowing the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency to issue bonds at a low interest rate for the repayment of drinking water infrastructure improvement costs.
AB 2372 (Chapter 125, Statutes of 2012) - Deposition Transcripts
Authorizes all service for orders of examination to an attorney to be effectuated through mail. This bill addresses a problem when an attorney refuses to pay the bills of the deposition reporters they retain, even after the licensed court reporter obtains a small claims judgment.
AB 2433 (Chapter 305, Statutes of 2012) - San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority
Clarifies that the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) shall use staggered terms for its board of directors to prevent all board members from terming out at the same time. This will help ensure that experienced members will serve alongside new members. WETA is comprised of five members who are appointed by the governor, Senate, and Assembly and is charged with building and operating a comprehensive and environmental friendly public water transit system of ferries, feeder buses and terminals to increase regional mobility in the Bay Area and improve the ability of ferries to respond in an emergency.
AB 2570 (Chapter 561, Statutes of 2012) - Eliminating Regulatory Gag Clauses
Allows the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to better investigate professional misconduct. Specifically, it forbids any licensee or professional overseen by DCA from including a "gag clause" in a civil settlement agreement that would prohibit an individual from communicating with DCA.
AB 56 (Chapter 519, Statutes of 2011) – Gas Pipeline Safety
Prompted by the deadly San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, this bill requires remote-controlled shut off valves in high population areas and the comprehensive testing and record-keeping of transmission lines. It also prohibits utilities from using ratepayer money to pay penalties for safety violations assessed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and requires natural gas corporations to meet annually with local fire departments to review emergency response plans.
ABX1 15 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2011) – Tax Clarification for California Solar Companies
Provides tax certainty for solar energy companies located in California. Clarifies the types of financing mechanisms that can be used to make it more affordable for people to install solar on their homes and will make the state be more competitive in luring solar firms. One example is Maryland-based SunEdison, which relocated its corporate headquarters to the city of Belmont in San Mateo County. Another example is SolarCity in San Mateo.
AB 459 (Chapter 188, Statutes of 2011) – National Popular Vote for President
Seeks to enact a national popular vote for President wherein whichever candidate receives the most votes will be guaranteed to be elected. Currently, candidates campaign exclusively in a few battleground state and often ignore issues of particular importance to California. Under this bill California, in conjunction with other states, will award all of its electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The legislation does not go into effect until it is adopted by states representing a majority of the Electoral College. Constituent Bill Idea Contest Winner for 2011.
AB 89 – (Chapter 390, Statutes of 2011) – Pension Reform Savings for San Mateo County
Would allow San Mateo County to implement a memorandum of understanding providing lower retirement tiers for new employees represented by the Deputy Sheriff's Association. The county recently negotiated a six-year MOU with the union that will require new hires to choose reduced retirement formulas and could result in savings over $10 million.
AB 50 (Chapter 18, Statutes of 2011) – Exempt San Bruno Gas Explosion Victims from Taxes on Relief Payments
Exempts San Bruno residents from paying state taxes on recovery money they received from Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the Red Cross and the City of San Bruno after last year's pipeline explosion.
AB 75 (Chapter 269, Statutes of 2011) – Cracking Down on Fraudulent Solicitations
Allows the Secretary of State's office to use its discretion and refuse to process documents that are clearly intended for fraudulent purposes. During the past few years, deceptive solicitation schemes have arisen that take advantage of statutorily required filing with the Secretary of State. The misleading solicitations sent to companies sometimes appear to be official government documents and imply that the company must pay an exorbitant fee in order to file the documents with the Secretary of State. Constituent Bill Idea Contest Winner from 2010.
AB 1349 (Chapter 185, Statutes of 2011) – Discretion for Judges, Paternity, Non-Biological Parents
Strengthens the legal rights of non-biological parents in California. The bill allows courts leeway in cases where there is both a non-biological parent who has an established relationship with a child and a man who signed a voluntary declaration of paternity. It was written in response to a ruling that found that courts could not recognize a non-biological parent who has raised a child, even though the biological father had no relationship with the child.
AB 320 (Chapter 570, Statutes of 2011) – CEQA Clarification
Clarifies that the "real party in interest" named in a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit for a particular project are those identified by the lead agency as persons undertaking the publicly-funded project or receiving the permit. Currently, to prevent important cases from being dismissed by procedural tactics, CEQA practitioners are forced to name and serve parties that neither want nor need to be involved.
AB 1601 (Chapter 301, Statutes of 2010) – Cracking Down on Repeat DUI Offenders
Judges would be empowered to suspend a driver’s license for 10 years after a third DUI conviction. The current limit is three years and the authority to suspend a license rests with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If every judge utilized the 10-year license revocation created in this legislation, over 10,000 repeat DUI offenders could be removed from California roadways every year.
AB 787 (Chapter 231, Statutes of 2010) – Incentives to Retire High-Polluting Vehicles
Increases the amount of money low-income Californians receive to retire smog-belching vehicles from $1,000 to $1,500. The program would be funded by limiting the subsidy – currently up to $400 -- the state provides to all Californians to fix vehicles that fail a smog check. Only motorists with incomes below 225 percent of the federal poverty level would now be eligible for the subsidy.
AB 2103 (Chapter 373, Statutes of 2010) – Generating Funding for Improvements to San Francisco Bay Restoration
Allows the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to utilize a one-time, nine-county election option for improvements to the Bay Area’s ecosystem instead of the current method of conducting separate elections in each individual county.
AB 1885 (Chapter 584, Statutes of 2010) – Cracking Down on Pirate Limousine Drivers at SFO
Increases the penalty for pirate limousine drivers at San Francisco International Airport from a simple infraction to a misdemeanor. Drivers who illegally solicit business on airport grounds would be subject to up to six months in jail and-or a fine up to $1,000.
AB 1748 (Chapter 84, Statutes of 2010) – San Mateo County Community College District Special Events
Would enable the San Mateo County Community College District to serve alcohol at special events on campus including its new dining commons at the College of San Mateo. State law generally prohibits the possession, consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages at public schools; however, recent legislation allowed school districts within a county to sell alcohol at special events. College campuses throughout California including Los Angeles, Stanislaus and Alameda Counties have utilized this exemption in recent years as a way to host special events and generate additional revenue for the district.
AB 2404 (Chapter 387, Statutes of 2010) – Consumer Disclosure, Insurance Cancellations Fees
Requires insurance companies to disclose cancellation fees to consumers prior to the creation or renewal of an insurance policy. This bill was introduced in response to consumer complaints received by the California Department of Insurance.
ABX6 11 (Chapter 2, Statutes of 2009-10, Sixth Extraordinary Session) – Tax Relief, San Bruno Victims
provides tax relief to victims of San Bruno disaster. Allows homeowners who had qualified for a $7,000 state property tax exemption to still receive that write-off even if their home was destroyed as a result of the Sept. 9 gas pipe explosion. Also provides assistance to the city of San Bruno, local schools and San Mateo County by requiring the state to backfill first-year local revenue losses resulting from downward reassessment of taxpayers affected by the disaster.
AB 1414 (Chapter 76, Statutes of 2010) – Removing Barriers for Parkinson’s Patient Access to Medication
Was introduced in response to a letter Hill received from biotechnology company Tercica, located in the City of Brisbane in his Assembly District. The bill removes apomorphine from the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, which will aid patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease by making medications more accessible and affordable. The federal government removed apomorphine from all drug schedules in 1976 but California is the only remaining state yet to reclassify the drug.
AB 1487 (Chapter 444, Statutes of 2010) – Reproductive Technology: HIV Positive Couples, HIV Negative Children
Sponsored by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, this bill will make it possible for HIV positive couples to have HIV-free biological children of their own using advanced reproductive technology.
AB 1767 (Chapter 451, Statues of 2010) – technical bill
AB 1996 (Chapter 539, Statues of 2010) – technical bill
AB 2350 (Chapter 96, Statues of 2010) – technical bill
AB 232 (Chapter 90, Statutes of 2009) – Saving State Money, Electronic Transactions by State Agencies
Allows the California State Teachers Retirement System to implement technology improvements such as switching from paper transactions with customers to online and e-mail transactions. The changes will reduce environmental impacts and save the state about $1 million annually.
AB 637 – (Chapter 118, Statutes of 2009) – Saving State Money, Electronic Transactions by State Agencies
Requires the California Public Employees' Retirement System contracting agencies to use Electronic Funds Transfer for payments which will reduce paper transactions and lead to cost savings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
AB 906 (Chapter 488, Statutes of 2009) – Energy Efficiency Programs
Helps local governments take advantage of existing energy efficiency programs without violating state laws that prohibit economic conflicts of interest.
AB 1070 (Chapter 153, Statutes of 2009) – Consumer Protection, CA Medical Board
Increases the Medical Board of California’s ability to protect health care consumers by clarifying their ability to enforce proper reporting, licensing and regulation of physicians and surgeons.
AB 1465 (Chapter 534, Statutes of 2009) – Water Conservation
Helps California meet its drought and water shortage challenges by ensuring that urban water suppliers that are members of the California Urban Water Conservation Council are in compliance with the Urban Water Management Planning Act.
Assemblymember Hill also authored Senate Bill 471 with Senator Gloria Romero which was signed by the Governor. SB 471 creates the California Stem Cell and Biotechnology Education and Workforce Development Act of 2009 to establish stem cell and biotechnology education and workforce development as a state priority and to promote stronger links among industry sectors, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and California public schools.