Legislative Update

2017-18 Legislative Session

Property Refinancing Fee Refund (Assembly Housing and Community Development- 2-year bill)
AB 166 would authorize eligible property owners to request a hardship refund of real estate transaction fees imposed pursuant to SB 2 (Atkins), The Building Homes and Jobs Act, Chapter 364, Status of 2017.  SB 2 requires a $75 fee on the recording of certain types of real-estate documents, excluding sales of residential and commercial property.

Increasing Water Supply and Accessibility (Assembly Appropriations Committee - Held)
AB 176 would have provided $7 million for the Friant Kern Canal Pump-Back Facility Project to facilitate the movement of water from east to west making additional water available to places in need.  The bill was held in the Assembly’s fiscal committee, but $4 million in state funds was secured in AB 97, the Budget Act for 2017-18, for the project.  In addition to $3 million in federal funds, the $7 million project will help deliver more water to agricultural and urban customers in the Central Valley.

Improving Air Quality by Expanding the Vehicle Replacement Program (Signed by the Governor 10/10/17)
AB 188 helps owners of older pickup trucks by expanding the existing state vehicle retirement programs to allow them to replace their trucks for a more fuel-efficient truck, providing financial assistance, reducing pollution and improving air quality.

Curbing Unnecessary Litigation (Assembly Labor and Employment Committee - 2-year bill)
AB 281 would extend the period of time, from 33 to 65 calendar days, in which an employer may correct Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) labor violations.  The bill would provide employers with a reasonable opportunity to cure an alleged violation before being subject to costly and frivolous litigation under PAGA.

Agriculture Equipment (Signed by the Governor 09/25/17)                               
AB 290 permanently removes the sunset date extending the exemption for dealers of agriculture, forestry, lawn care, and construction equipment to retrieve equipment directly from customers that have defaulted on payments.  By continuing to provide this exemption, business practices can be streamlined and additional costs on consumers are avoided.

Abuse Prevention Training for Salon Professionals (Signed by the Governor 09/27/17)
AB 326 requires the Health and Safety Advisory Committee at the state’s Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to provide the Board with recommendations on promoting abuse prevention and awareness including domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking and elder abuse. Empowering salon professionals with the education and training to spot signs of abuse will allow them to better connect victims with the local services and resources available.

Protecting Children from Cannabis Edibles (Vetoed by the Governor 10/06/17)
AB 350 would have prohibited edible cannabis products to look like commercially sold candy such as gummy bears and lollipops to prevent unsuspecting children from becoming intoxicated by candy-like cannabis products.

Consumer Guide to California Cannabis Laws (Senate Appropriations Committee-Held)  
AB 389 would have required the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control to establish and make available on its website, by July 1, 2018, a consumer guide to inform the public on the laws and regulations of medical and non-medical cannabis including consumer safety information.

Bioenergy Facilities Emissions Study (Senate Rules Committee-Held)
AB 419 would have allocated $500,000 from the Green House Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to study and evaluate the air quality impacts of bioenergy production.  Using bioenergy facilities, which convert compost waste to energy, results in fewer emissions produced compared to open burning and wildfires.  The bill was held in Senate Rules Committee, but an allocation of $11 million was included in SB 93, the GGRF Expenditure Plan for 2017-18, to fund research on reducing carbon emissions.

Increasing Access to Quality Eye Care (Signed by the Governor 08/21/2017)
AB 443 improves crucial eye and health care access by expanding the type of treatment and procedures doctors of optometry can offer to patients, alleviating pressure on the health care system and increasing access to care in rural areas.

Improving Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Underserved Areas (Assembly Appropriations Committee-Held)
AB 463 would have authorized new student loans for eligible students pursuing their teacher credential who are willing to teach in underserved areas with critical teacher shortages.

Hazardous Waste Reduction Act (Senate Environmental Quality Committee - 2-year bill)
AB 514 would clarify that certain personal care and household products such as sunscreen, lip balm and homeopathic remedies are not medical waste and allows retailers to dispose of these products with other waste programs already in place.

Prioritizing Funding for Water Projects (Signed by the Governor 10/7/17)
AB 560 expands access to financing options such as grants, zero percent or no interest loans to severely disadvantaged communities for funding their much needed water infrastructure projects, if the water system can demonstrate that repaying a loan with interest would result in unaffordable water rates for their customers.

Restoring Independent Living Centers (ILCs) Funding for Disability Services (Senate Appropriations Committee - Held)
AB 763 would have a restored a minimum base state funded grant of $235,000 for three ILCs: 1) the Independent Living Center of Kern County, 2) the Disability Resources Agency for Independent Living and 3) the Placer Independent Living Resources.  The bill was held in the Senate’s fiscal committee, but $705,000 in state funds was secured in AB 97, the Budget Act for 2017-18.

Recyclable Materials (Assembly Natural Resources Committee - 2 year bill)
AB 1147 would ensure that local government agencies have the legal protections in place to have viable recycling programs and prevent poaching by illegal large scale commercial enterprises.

Valley Fever Public Outreach and Awareness (Vetoed 10/3/17)
AB 1279 would have required the Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop and implement much-needed public outreach programs to educate the public on valley fever.  Kern County is the county most impacted by the disease. 

Biodiesel Fuel Tax (Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee - 2-year bill)
AB 1374 would clarify existing law, AB 1032 (Salas), which created a refund mechanism needed to allow biodiesel suppliers to claim a refund on the tax paid portion of the biodiesel blend.

Short-Hand Reporters (Assembly Business and Professions Committee - Failed)
AB 1631 would have limited gifts by court reporting service companies in a manner similar to limitations presently applicable to licensed court reporters.

RESOLUTIONS

Portuguese National Heritage Month (Chaptered 07/3/17)
ACR 52 proclaims the month of June 2017 as Portuguese National Heritage Month to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Portuguese Americans in our communities.

Sgt. Ricardo "Ricky Barraza Highway (Chaptered 08/30/17)
ACR 70 designates the portion of State Route 43 between Fresno Avenue and Los Angeles Street as the Sergeant Ricardo "Ricky" Barraza Memorial Highway.

Blue Star Mothers of America Month (Chaptered 08/30/17)
ACR 79 proclaims May 2017 as Blue Star Mothers of America Month to honor and recognize the dedication and sacrifice of mothers who currently have sons and daughters serving in the military.

Gold Star Mothers' and Families' Day (Chaptered 09/21/17)
ACR 120 proclaims September 24, 2017 as Gold Star Mothers' and Families' Day in California to support the mothers and families of fallen soldiers.

 

2016 Legislative Session

More Water to the Valley
AB 935 will provide funding for an inter-connector canal expansion project to deliver water to and from the CA Aqueduct.

Bringing Clean Energy & Jobs to the Valley
AB 2630 seeks to unlock renewable energy development and bring needed jobs to the Central and San Joaquin Valley.

Updating California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
AB 2700 requires the Public Utilities Commission to update the criteria it uses to rank RPS projects to include job creation and the value of maintaining existing baseload resources, like biomass.

Safe School Crossings on Rural Highways
AB 1115 will designate the portion of SR 184, adjacent to Sunset Middle School, as a school zone, making it safe for families to travel to and from school.  This is in direct response to several fatal accidents that have occurred at the intersection.

Funding Veterans Service Organizations (VSO’s) and Protecting Veteran Benefits
AB 1596 will help VSO’s in their mission of assisting veterans by making $3 million in one-time funding  available to a competitive grant program to be administered by the California Department of Veterans Affairs. The implementation of competitive grants will ensure California veterans receive the benefits they have earned by virtue of their military service.

Surface Storage to Protect Against Future Droughts
AB 1649 will increase surface storage development by requiring the Department of Water Resources, when awarding chapter 8 water bond funds, to give priority to JPAs formed to increase water surface storage projects.

Funding for Disability Services
AB 2565 corrects a long-standing funding inequity for Independent Living Centers (ILCs), allowing them to receive the minimum state base funding. ILCs provide people with various disabilities with the services they need to live self-determined lives.

Streamlining Transportation Projects
AB 2034 will allow Caltrans to continue to participate in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Assignment Program. This federal program allows states to streamline environmental review for transportation projects that use federal funding. This will save the state time and money while fast-tracking the delivery of needed transportation improvement projects.

Tougher Laws for Animal Abuse
AB 1951 was introduced after the FBI released a report that showed a direct link between acts of animal cruelty and violence toward others. This bill aligns California’s law with well-established data and federal actions to reduce the number of violent crimes going forward.