[Employee_relations] Update on Legislation

Amy Brown abrown at kscsacramento.com
Thu Sep 30 16:01:24 PDT 2004


Below is a summary update on actions that the Governor has taken on some
important bills that we have been tracking. If you need additional
information, please let either Tony Cardenas (tcardenas at cacities.org) or me
(abrown at kscsacramento) know.

AB 3051 (Nation and Vargas)
Position: Oppose
Status: Vetoed. 
Click here for signing message: 
http://www.governor.ca.gov/govsite/pdf/vetoes/AB_3051_veto.pdf

Under existing law, a death benefit of up to $250,000 is provided to
dependents of employees whose death is the result of a job injury or illness
within 5 years of the date of the injury. AB 3051 would qualify firefighters
for death benefits for a presumptive disease when death occurs at any time
following the reported job-connected injury or illness. For example,
dependents of a 45-year-old firefighter with a presumptive injury claim for
hypertension who dies of a heart attack at age 75 would qualify for this
death benefit. Similarly, dependents of a 37-year-old firefighter with a
presumptive injury cancer claim for melanoma who dies at age 69 of bone
cancer would also qualify for this death benefit. Heart and cancer are two
of the leading causes of death and there is a significant possibility that a
firefighter with a presumptive injury claim from one of these diseases will
ultimately die from one of the variations of the same disease. AB 3051
represents a significant unfunded mandate liability on both the state and
local governments (the cancer presumption has already been found to be a
reimbursable state mandate).

AB 2406 (Bermudez)
Position: Oppose
Status: Vetoed
Click here for signing message: 
http://www.governor.ca.gov/govsite/pdf/vetoes/AB_2406_veto.pdf

This bill would require data provided the State Fire Marshall to adopt
revised regulations to require the statistical information published after
1-1-06 to be compatible with the National Fire Incident Reporting System of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  That data would include
statistical comparisons to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) which
involves optimal staffing and response times based upon an urban
firefighting model.  This bill would impose both conversion costs for local
agencies and would introduce the NFPA standards as a basis of comparison for
future insurance standards and potential for grant or funding penalties for
failure to comply.
 
AB 2690 (Hancock)
Position: Support
Status: Signed

This bill would exempt certain volunteer work from the definition of
prevailing wage. An enforcement action taken by the State Department of
Industrial Relations (DIR) in July 2003 in relation to a stream restoration
project in Shasta County caused an outcry among many in the environmental
community.  Labor  Code Section 1720.4, as interpreted by DIR, effectively
prohibits the mixed use of volunteer and paid labor on public works
projects. The importance of volunteers in building community support for
local projects must be recognized.  

AB 1324 (Steinberg)
Position: Based on recent amendments, the League changed its position from
opposed to neutral
Status: Vetoed
Click here for veto message:
http://www.governor.ca.gov/govsite/pdf/vetoes/AB_1324_veto.pdf

This bill would provide that if a person who is a specified state or local
firefighting, law enforcement, or patrol member sustained an injury as the
result of a work-related event that occurred on or before January 1, 1984,
that meets the definition of a blood-borne infectious disease, and a
dependent or former dependent of that person contracts the blood-borne
infectious disease from that person, the dependent or former dependent may
elect, on or before January 1, 2012, to receive compensation under the
workers' compensation law, for the duration of the disease, for all
medically necessary health care costs associated with the disease. This bill
would prohibit a dependent or former dependent from bringing a civil action
against the employer for damages if the dependent or former dependent elects
to receive compensation under the workers' compensation law. The bill would
provide that if a dependent or former dependent does not elect to receive
compensation under the workers' compensation law, the dependent or former
dependent shall retain the right to all civil remedies otherwise allowed by
law, and shall not be subject to a defense that the claim is barred by
workers' compensation provisions.  The bill would also define "former
dependent" for purposes of these provisions.

Since, the Author agreed to amend this bill to apply to only one particular
case, the League and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC)
agreed to remove our opposition.

AB 1875 (Maldonado)
Position: Sponsored by the City of Napa
Status: Signed

This bill cleans up the problems that AB 616 created when it was signed into
law. It allows the 2.7% at 55 benefit formula, upon agency approval, to be
applied to retroactive years of service. The City of Napa faced this issue
when it conducted negotiations with its bargaining unit two years ago. They
agreed upon a phase-in benefits enhancement whereby in 2003, their years of
service would apply to a 2.5% at 55 benefit formula and in 2004 a 2.7%
benefit formula. They were just about to amend their contract with PERS, and
was told that the 2.7% at 55 benefit formula could not be applied
retroactively due to a "glitch" in PERS law. AB 1875 fixed that error and
saved the City from a more expensive alternative.


AB 1929 (Samuelian)
Position: Support
Status: Signed

Existing law authorizes a fire protection district or the fire department of
a county or city, including a charter city, to appoint as a member or
officer any person who was serving as a civilian federal firefighter of any
United States military installation within the state, who was terminated as
a consequence of the closure of the military installation. This bill would
extend this provision to the appointment by any local government of any
permanent career firefighter terminated by the state or a local government
as a result of job elimination. Existing law authorizes the California
Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Program to prepare and circulate a list of
permanent career civilian federal firefighters eligible for appointment.
This bill would authorize that list to include eligible state and local
government firefighters.


AB 2856 (Laird)
Position: Support
Status: Signed
Click here for signing message:
http://www.governor.ca.gov/govsite/pdf/press_release/AB_2853_2855_2856_sign.
pdf

This bill revises the procedures for receiving claims and for hearings on
claims, as specified, and the definitions of terms related to the procedure
and hearings, defines additional terms, abolishes the State Mandates Claim
Fund, and deletes the option of  paying claims from this fund.




Amy Brown
Governmental Advocate
KAHN, SOARES & CONWAY, LLP
1415 L Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 448-3826
(916) 448-3850 Fax
abrown at kscsacramento.com
www.ksclawyers.com
 
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