September 2014 Newsletter
Early in the morning on Saturday, August 30th the Legislature adjourned and the 2013-14 Session concluded. This year's major policy actions included the placement of the water bond on the November ballot; a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags; and an on time budget that invested in the state's K-12 education system, as well as its higher education system, and continued to pay down years of debt that had accumulated.
Additionally, I authored a number of important pieces of legislation this year, which are highlighted below.
Senate Bill (SB) 193 - Would require chemical manufacturers to provide the names and addresses of their customers who have purchased chemicals or products containing chemicals, and their proportions to the Hazardous Evaluation System and Information Service (HESIS). The information HESIS would gain from its request would help HESIS target workers known to be at risk, thereby protecting employers from increased liability and employees' health from harmful exposure to toxic chemicals. (Status: On the Governor's Desk)
SB 936 - Authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission to issue a financing order to allow the use of an alternative financing mechanism, known as "Water Rate Relief Bonds," by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and other financing entities to finance water supply infrastructure. The issuance of water rate relief bonds will result in lower costs to California American Water Company customers when compared to traditional utility financing mechanisms. (Status: On the Governor's Desk)
SB 941 - Requires an individual to pass an examination and obtain a vessel operator card from the Division of Boating and Waterways in order to operate a motorized vessel on waterways in the State of California. (Status: On the Governor's Desk)
SB 1034 - Removes the requirement that health plans and insurance policies may provide a waiting period of up to 60 days as a condition of employment for health care coverage, as well as prohibits group health care benefit plans from imposing any waiting or affiliation period. (Chapter 195, Statutes of 2014)
SB 1087 - Amends the state Farm Labor Contractor Act to require sexual harassment training for licensees and their supervisors, as well as require that all non-supervisorial employees, including agricultural employees, be trained in identifying, preventing, documenting, and reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. It also gives the Labor Commissioner the authority to take adverse license action against sexual predators and increases surety bond requirements to protect farm workers from wage theft. (Status: On the Governor's Desk)
SB 1314 - Was introduced in response to challenges faced by constituents when attempting to appeal unemployment benefit decisions and extends the deadline from 20 days to 30 days for appealing, to an administrative law judge, the decision a claimant receives from the California Employment Development Department about the denial of unemployment insurance benefits. (Chapter 399, Statutes of 2014)
For a complete list of my 2013-14 Legislative Package, please visit my website at: http://sd17.senate.ca.gov/2013-14-legislation
Hot Topic Legislation
There have been a number of significant and, sometimes, controversial bills introduced this year. Below is a list that features a few measures that sparked a great deal of debate in the Capitol.
Assembly Bill 1522 authored by Assemblymember Gonzalez - Enacts the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 and requires employers to provide at least three paid sick days for an employee who works 30 or more days in a calendar year. Qualified employees could only use accrued sick days after three months of employment. (Chapter 317, Statutes of 2014)
AB 1699 authored by Assemblymember Bloom - Would prevent a person from selling or offering for promotional purposes personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads, on or after January 1, 2019. (Bill failed passage on the Senate Floor on a 20-14 vote.)
AB 1739 authored by Assemblymember Dickinson - Authorizes the Department of Water Resources (DWR) or a groundwater sustainability agency to provide technical assistance to entities that extract or use groundwater to promote water conservation and protect groundwater resources. The DWR is required to prepare and publish a report by December 31, 2016, on its website, that provides its best estimate, based on available information, of water available for replenishment of groundwater in the state. (Chapter 347, Statutes of 2014)
AB 1965 authored by Assemblymember Yamada - Permits pet dogs under the control of an individual to be in outdoor dining areas at food facilities under specified conditions and clarifies that local governing bodies may prohibit this conduct by ordinance. (Chapter 234, Statutes of 2014)
Senate Bill (SB) 270 authored by Senator Padilla - Would prohibit stores from distributing lightweight, single-use plastic bags after specified dates. It also would establish requirements for reusable bags and prohibit stores from distributing reusable bags and recycled paper bags for less than $0.10 per bag. (Status: On the Governor's Desk)
SB 962 authored by Senator Leno - Requires smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015, and sold in California, to contain a technological solution at the time of sale that will render the essential features of the smartphone inoperable when not in the possession of the authorized user. (Chapter 275, Statutes of 2014)
SB 1168 authored by Senator Pavley - Would require the adoption of a groundwater sustainability plan, as of January 31, 2020, by all high or medium priority basins that are subject to critical conditions of overdraft, unless the basin is legally adjudicated or the local agency establishes it is otherwise being sustainably managed. All other high and medium priority basins would need to adopt plans by January 31, 2022, unless the basin is legally adjudicated or the local agency establishes it is otherwise being sustainably managed. (Chapter 346, Statutes of 2014)
CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards Program
For the 5th consecutive year, the California Air Resources Board is sponsoring the CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards program, which recognizes California small businesses that take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate friendly practices. To receive recognition for your sustainability efforts, apply for an award here. The deadline to apply is November 3, 2013. Be sure to get your application in soon!
Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter.
William W. Monning
Senator, 17th District