Legislative Update as of 1/31/2018

If you have experience with any of the legislative issues listed below or if you have any feedback you would like to share, please email our Legislative Counsel & Policy Director, Mariko Yoshihara at mariko@cela.org.

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For more information on any of the bills listed below, please click on the bill or visit www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov or email mariko@cela.org.


  Civil Procedure


AB 889    (Stone, Mark D)   Secrecy agreements.

Current Text: Amended: 1/29/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/29/2018-Read third time and amended. Ordered to third reading.

Summary:
Current law generally permits the parties to a civil action to include, as a condition to a settlement, a provision requiring that information about the settlement or the underlying dispute be kept confidential; however, current law prohibits a confidential settlement agreement in a civil action with a factual foundation establishing a cause of action for civil damages for an act that may be prosecuted as a felony sex offense. Current law also establishes that flouting this prohibition is grounds for professional discipline for an attorney, and it requires the State Bar of California to investigate and take appropriate action in any case brought to its attention. This bill would instead authorize but not require the State Bar to investigate these cases of attorney misconduct.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 1002 of the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to secrecy agreements.


  Discrimination & Civil Rights


AB 1938    (Burke D)   Employment discrimination: familial status.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/25/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/26/2018-From printer. May be heard in committee February 25.

Summary:
Current law prohibits, among other things, an employer to make any nonjob-related inquiry, either verbally or on an application form, that expresses any limitation, specification, or limitation based upon, among other things, a person’s race, religion, national origin, or gender. This bill would, in addition, prohibit an employer or other covered entity from making a nonjob-related injury to, or expressing any limitation, specification, or limitation based upon a person’s familial status, as defined. The bill would make related findings and declarations.

Laws:
An act to amend Sections 12926 and 12940 of the Government Code, relating to discrimination.

SB 66    (Wieckowski D)   Income taxes: deductions: punitive damages.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/5/2017   html   pdf

Status: 6/26/2017-June 26 hearing postponed by committee.

Summary:
The Personal Income Tax Law and the Corporation Tax Law allow various deductions in computing the income that is subject to the taxes imposed by those laws. Both laws allow a deduction for ordinary and necessary business expenses, including a deduction for amounts paid or incurred for specified types of punitive damages. This bill, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, would disallow, under both laws, a deduction for amounts paid or incurred for punitive damages, as provided.

Laws:
An act to add Sections 17226 and 24343.4 to the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation, to take effect immediately, tax levy.

SB 829    (Wiener D)   Employee housing: farmworker housing.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/3/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/16/2018-Referred to Com. on RLS.

Summary:
Would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would expand the Employee Housing Act to (1) further incentivize the creation of farmworker housing in agricultural communities, (2) authorize the Department of Housing and Community Development to partner private agricultural operators with independent nonprofits that will manage and operate residences, and (3) preserve and protect the civil rights of tenants living in employee housing.

Laws:
An act relating to housing.


  Health & Safety


AB 472    (Frazier D)   Employer liability: small business and microbusiness.

Current Text: Amended: 9/7/2017   html   pdf

Status: 9/11/2017-Withdrawn from committee. Re-referred to Com. on RLS.

Summary:
Under current law, the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigates complaints that a workplace is not safe and may issue orders necessary to ensure employee safety. Under existing law, certain violations of that act or a standard, order, or special order authorized by the act are a crime. This bill would prohibit the division from commencing any enforcement action for any nonserious violation, as defined, against any employer where the employer is a small business or microbusiness, as defined, without first giving the employer written notice and providing the employer 30 days to correct the violation.

Laws:
An act to add Section 6334 to the Labor Code, relating to employment.

SB 937    (Wiener D)   Lactation accommodation.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/25/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/26/2018-From printer. May be acted upon on or after February 25.

Summary:
Would require a lactation room or location to include prescribed features and would require an employer to provide access to a sink and refrigerator in close proximity to the employee’s work space. The bill would establish a procedure for an employer with fewer than 5 employees to apply to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for an undue hardship exemption from the lactation room or location requirement. The bill would require an employer to develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation and make it available to employees, as specified.

Laws:
An act to add Section 18941.12 to the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Sections 1031 and 1033 of, and to add Sections 1034 and 1035 to, the Labor Code, relating to employment.


  Immigrant Employee Rights


SB 183    (Lara D)   State buildings: federal immigration agents.

Current Text: Amended: 1/22/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/30/2018-In Assembly. Read first time. Held at Desk.

Summary:
Would prohibit federal immigration enforcement agents, officers, or personnel from entering a building owned and occupied, or leased and occupied, by the state, a public school, or a campus of the California Community Colleges, to perform surveillance, effectuate an arrest, or question an individual therein, without a valid federal warrant, and would limit the activities therein of federal immigration enforcement agents, officers, or personnel with a warrant to the individual who is the subject of the warrant.

Laws:
An act to add Chapter 31.5 (commencing with Section 7595.5) to Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code, relating to state buildings.


  Practice of Law


SB 954    (Wieckowski D)   Mediation: confidentiality.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/30/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/30/2018-Introduced. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment. To print.

Summary:
Would require an attorney representing a person participating in a mediation or a mediation consultation to inform his or her client of the confidentiality restrictions related to mediation, as specified, and to obtain informed written consent from the client that he or she understands the restrictions before the client participates in the mediation or mediation consultation.

Laws:
An act to add Section 1129 to the Evidence Code, relating to mediation.


  Public Employment


AB 1603    (Ridley-Thomas D)   Meyers-Milias-Brown Act: local public agencies.

Current Text: Amended: 8/24/2017   html   pdf

Status: 9/16/2017-Ordered to inactive file at the request of Senator McGuire.

Summary:
Under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA), employees of local public agencies have the right to form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters of employer-employee relations. The MMBA authorizes a local public agency to adopt reasonable rules and regulations after consultation in good faith with representatives of a recognized employee organization or organizations for the administration of employer-employee relations under the act. This bill would revise the definition of “public employee” for the purpose of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act to also include persons jointly employed by a public agency and any other employer at specified clinics and hospitals.

Laws:
An act to amend Sections 3501, 3507, and 3507.1 of the Government Code, relating to public employment.


  Retirement and Benefits


SB 581    (De León D)   Cal-COBRA: disclosures.

Current Text: Introduced: 2/17/2017   html   pdf

Status: 1/30/2018-Action From INACTIVE FILE: To THIRD READING.

Summary:
Current law requires a group benefit plan that is subject to Cal-COBRA to make specified disclosures to covered employees, including that a covered employee who is considering declining continuation of coverage should be aware that companies selling individual health insurance may require a review of the employee’s medical history that could result in a higher premium or denial of coverage. This bill would eliminate the disclosure requirement described above.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 1366.24 of the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Section 10128.54 of the Insurance Code, relating to health care coverage.

SB 783    (Pan D)   State employment: unused leave buy-back.

Current Text: Introduced: 2/17/2017   html   pdf

Status: 1/23/2018-In Assembly. Read first time. Held at Desk.

Summary:
Would authorize an employee designated as supervisory, confidential, excluded, or managerial to elect to be paid at his or her regular rate of pay for up to 80 hours of unused leave credit, as defined, upon a determination by the Department of Human Resources to offer an annual buy-back of this credit. The bill would require the department to determine the date of eligibility and conditions of buy-back and the period during which an application for buy-back will be accepted.

Laws:
An act to add Section 19849.17 to the Government Code, relating to state employment.


  Sexual Harassment


AB 403    (Melendez R)   Legislature: Legislative Employee Whistleblower Protection Act.

Current Text: Amended: 1/29/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/30/2018-Read second time. Ordered to third reading.

Summary:
Would impose criminal and civil liability on a Member of the Legislature or legislative employee, as defined, who interferes with, or retaliates against, a legislative employee’s exercise of the right to make a protected disclosure, which is defined as a good faith allegation made by a legislative employee to specified entities that a Member of the Legislature or a legislative employee has engaged in, or will engage in, activity that may constitute a violation of law, including sexual harassment, or a violation of a legislative standard of conduct.

Laws:
An act to add Article 11 (commencing with Section 9149.30) to Chapter 1.5 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to the Legislature, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

AB 1750    (McCarty D)   Elected officials: sexual harassment settlement agreements: liability.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/3/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/4/2018-From printer. May be heard in committee February 3.

Summary:
Would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require an elected official to reimburse a public entity that pays any compromise or settlement of a claim or action involving conduct that constitutes sexual harassment, if an investigation reveals evidence supporting the claim of sexual harassment against the elected official.

Laws:
An act relating to elected officials.

AB 1761    (Muratsuchi D)   Employee safety: hotel workers.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/4/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/5/2018-From printer. May be heard in committee February 4.

Summary:
Would require, among other things, that a hotel employer, as defined, provide its employees with a panic button, as specified, in order to summon assistance when working alone in the guestroom. The bill would require a hotel employer to compile and maintain a list of guests who have been alleged to have committed an act of violence or harassment against employees at that hotel, as specified, and to decline service to any person on that list for a period of 3 years.

Laws:
An act to add Section 6403.7 to the Labor Code, relating to employment.

AB 1870    (Reyes D)   Employment discrimination: unlawful employment practices.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/12/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/13/2018-From printer. May be heard in committee February 12.

Summary:
Current law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, makes specified employment and housing practices unlawful, including discrimination against or harassment of employees and tenants, among others. Current law authorizes a person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful practice to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year from the date upon which the unlawful practice occurred, unless otherwise specified. This bill would extend the period to 3 years for which complaints alleging unlawful employment or housing practices may be filed with the department, as specified.

Laws:
An act to amend Sections 12960 and 12980 of the Government Code, relating to employment.

SB 224    (Jackson D)   Personal rights: sexual harassment.

Current Text: Amended: 1/3/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/23/2018-In Assembly. Read first time. Held at Desk.

Summary:
Would include an investor, elected official, lobbyist, director, and producer among those listed persons who may be liable to a plaintiff for sexual harassment.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 51.9 of the Civil Code, relating to personal rights.

SB 419    (Portantino D)   Legislature: Legislative Sexual Harassment Retaliation Prevention Act.

Current Text: Amended: 1/24/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/30/2018-Read third time. Urgency clause adopted. Passed. (Ayes 39. Noes 0.) Ordered to the Assembly. In Assembly. Read first time. Held at Desk.

Summary:
Current law establishes a cause of action for violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Current law also separately establishes liability for sexual harassment if a plaintiff proves specified elements, including, among other things, that there is a business, service, or professional relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. This bill would declare that neither house of the Legislature may retaliate against a legislative advocate or employee, as defined, because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under the above provisions, or filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in any proceeding relating to a complaint of harassment under those provisions.

Laws:
An act to add Article 12 (commencing with Section 9149.38) to Chapter 1.5 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to the Legislature, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

SB 820    (Leyva D)   Settlement agreements: confidentiality.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/3/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/16/2018-Referred to Com. on JUD.

Summary:
Current law prohibits a provision in a settlement agreement that prevents the disclosure of factual information related to the action in a civil action with a factual foundation establishing a cause of action for civil damages for certain enumerated sexual offenses. This bill would similarly provide that, a provision in a settlement agreement that prevents the disclosure of factual information relating to the action is prohibited, unless a claimant requests the inclusion of such a provision, if the pleadings state a cause of action relating to specified claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or harassment or discrimination based on sex. The bill would make a provision in a settlement agreement that prevents the disclosure of factual information related to the action, as described in the bill, entered into on or after January 1, 2019, void as a matter of law and against public policy

Laws:
An act to add Section 1001 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to civil procedure.

SB 908    (Nguyen R)   Legislature: sexual harassment records and tracking.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/18/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/19/2018-From printer. May be acted upon on or after February 18.

Summary:
The Legislative Open Records Act authorizes any person to inspect legislative records, as defined, subject to specified exemptions. This bill would make available under the act complaint, investigation, and settlement records created on or after January 1, 2009, that reasonably relate to allegations of conduct by a Member of the Legislature that violates the sexual harassment policy of the house of the Legislature in which the Member serves. The bill would require that personally-identifying information of victims and witnesses be redacted from the records.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 9075, and to add Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 9085) to Chapter 1.5 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 2, of the Government Code, relating to the Legislature.


  Wage and Hour


AB 263    (Rodriguez D)   Emergency medical services workers: rights and working conditions.

Current Text: Amended: 6/21/2017   html   pdf

Status: 9/1/2017-From committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on RLS. (Ayes 9. Noes 1.) (September 1). Re-referred to Com. on RLS.

Summary:
Would require an employer that provides emergency medical services as part of an emergency medical services system or plan to authorize and permit its employees engaged in prehospital emergency services to take prescribed rest periods, including specifying grounds for interruption of a rest period and compensation for an interrupted rest period. The bill also would require the employer to provide these employees with prescribed meal periods, including specifying grounds for interruption of a meal period and compensation for an interrupted meal period.

Laws:
An act to add Section 1797.123 to the Health and Safety Code, and to add Sections 226.9, 226.10, and 226.11 to the Labor Code, relating to employment.

AB 1565    (Thurmond D)   Labor-related liabilities: original contractor.

Current Text: Amended: 1/12/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/24/2018-Re-referred to Coms. on L. & I.R. and JUD.

Summary:
Current law requires, for all contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018, a direct contractor, as defined, making or taking a contract in the state for the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other work, to assume, and be liable for, specified debt owed to a wage claimant that is incurred by a subcontractor, at any tier, acting under, by, or for the direct contractor for the wage claimant’s performance of labor included in the subject of the original contract. This bill would repeal specified provisions that state that the obligations and remedies are in addition to existing obligations and remedies provided by law, except that the provisions are not to be construed to impose liability on a direct contractor for anything other than unpaid wages and fringe or other benefit payments or contributions including interest owed.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 218.7 of the Labor Code, relating to employment, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

AB 1902    (Levine D)   Eligible employers: personal services contracts.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/22/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/23/2018-From printer. May be heard in committee February 22.

Summary:
Would require the Department of Industrial Relations to, by January 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, develop a list of eligible employers that the department determines are valued at least $1,000,000,000. The bill would require an eligible employer that enters into a personal services contract, as defined, on or after January 1, 2020, to include a provision in that contract that requires the employees that will perform the services in that contract to be paid a wage that is equal to an unspecified amount. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Laws:
An act to add Section 1182.14 to the Labor Code, relating to private employment.

AB 1916    (Cooper D)   Civil service: Personnel Classification Plan: salary equalization.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/23/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/24/2018-From printer. May be heard in committee February 23.

Summary:
Would require the Department of Human Resources to work with public employee bargaining units to develop a plan to evaluate all civil service classifications in order to determine which classifications have substantially similar work, as specified. The bill would require the department to prepare a plan, including a proposed timeline, to ensure the equality of the pay scale for equivalent classifications. The bill would require the department to submit the plan and timeline to the Legislature, not later than June 30, 2019.

Laws:
An act to add Section 19818.11 to the Government Code, relating to civil service.

SB 49    (De León D)   California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2017.

Current Text: Amended: 9/12/2017   html   pdf

Status: 9/12/2017-From committee with author’s amendments. Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on RLS.

Summary:
Would require specified agencies to take prescribed actions to maintain and enforce certain requirements and standards pertaining to air, water, and protected species. By imposing new duties on local agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.

Laws:
An act to add and repeal Title 24 (commencing with Section 120000) of the Government Code, relating to state prerogative.

SB 556    (Nguyen R)   Employees: regulation and supervision.

Current Text: Introduced: 2/16/2017   html   pdf

Status: 3/2/2017-Referred to Com. on RLS. (Set for hearing ) (1/23/2018 – Immune to Deadlines according to JR61(f). Deadlines do not apply to bills in a Rules committee.)

Summary:
Current law regulates the wages, hours, and working conditions of employees with specified exceptions. Under current law, these provisions apply to and include men, women, and minors employed in any occupation, trade, or industry, except as provided.This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 1171 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.

SB 593    (Roth D)   Employment.

Current Text: Introduced: 2/17/2017   html   pdf

Status: 3/2/2017-Referred to Com. on RLS. (Set for hearing ) (1/23/2018 – Immune to Deadlines according to JR61(f). Deadlines do not apply to bills in a Rules committee.)

Summary:
Current law establishes the Department of Industrial Relations in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and specifies that certain provisions relating to departments of the state govern and apply to the conduct of the department.This bill would make a nonsubstantive change to that provision.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 52 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.

SB 662    (Berryhill R)   Employment: work hours.

Current Text: Introduced: 2/17/2017   html   pdf

Status: 3/9/2017-Referred to Com. on RLS. (Set for hearing ) (1/23/2018 – Immune to Deadlines according to JR61(f). Deadlines do not apply to bills in a Rules committee.)

Summary:
Current law, with certain exceptions, establishes 8 hours as a day’s work and a 40-hour workweek, and requires payment of prescribed overtime compensation for additional hours worked. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to that provision.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 510 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.

SB 753    (Stone R)   Employment: meal periods.

Current Text: Introduced: 2/17/2017   html   pdf

Status: 3/9/2017-Referred to Com. on RLS. (Set for hearing ) (1/23/2018 – Immune to Deadlines according to JR61(f). Deadlines do not apply to bills in a Rules committee.)

Summary:
Current law requires an employer to provide an employee with one meal period during a work period of more than 5 hours and 2 meal periods during a work period of 10 hours, subject to certain exceptions.This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 512 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.

SB 926    (Skinner D)   CalWORKs: worker rights information.

Current Text: Introduced: 1/24/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/25/2018-From printer. May be acted upon on or after February 24.

Summary:
Current law generally requires a recipient of CalWORKs benefits to participate in welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility for aid. Current law prohibits sanctions from being applied for a failure or refusal to comply with program requirements for, among other reasons, the employment, offer of employment, activity, or other training for employment discriminates on specified bases or involves conditions that are in violation of applicable health and safety standards, or the employment or offer of employment exceeds the daily or weekly hours of work customary to the occupation. This bill would additionally prohibit sanctions from being applied for a failure or refusal to comply with program requirements if the scheduled hours are, or would be, so unpredictable that they do not allow a participant to anticipate compliance with program requirements.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 11320.31 of, and to add Section 11267 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.


  Whistleblower


AB 403    (Melendez R)   Legislature: Legislative Employee Whistleblower Protection Act.

Current Text: Amended: 1/29/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/30/2018-Read second time. Ordered to third reading.

Summary:
Would impose criminal and civil liability on a Member of the Legislature or legislative employee, as defined, who interferes with, or retaliates against, a legislative employee’s exercise of the right to make a protected disclosure, which is defined as a good faith allegation made by a legislative employee to specified entities that a Member of the Legislature or a legislative employee has engaged in, or will engage in, activity that may constitute a violation of law, including sexual harassment, or a violation of a legislative standard of conduct.

Laws:
An act to add Article 11 (commencing with Section 9149.30) to Chapter 1.5 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to the Legislature, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


  Workers Comp


AB 479    (Gonzalez Fletcher D)   Workers’ compensation: permanent disability apportionment.

Current Text: Amended: 1/12/2018   html   pdf

Status: 1/29/2018-Read third time. Passed. Ordered to the Senate. In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.

Summary:
Current law requires apportionment of permanent disability to be based on causation, and a physician who prepares a report addressing the issue of permanent disability due to a claimed industrial injury is required to address the issue of causation of the permanent disability. The physician is required to make an apportionment determination by finding the approximate percentage of permanent disability that was caused by the direct result of injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment. This bill would require, when an employee sustains an injury arising out of and in the course of employment resulting in breast cancer, specified impairments to be considered, including the presence or absence of the organ, skin disfigurement, and pain, among other things.

Laws:
An act to amend Section 4660.1 of the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.