Legal Alerts Dec 22, 2016

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies

Laws Passed in 2016 That Will Impact Public Agency Work

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Like years past, there were plenty of laws passed in Sacramento in 2016 that will impact public agencies. Here is a summary of those that have specific importance to your work. We hope that you will contact us for further information or with any questions about these bills. All laws become effective Jan. 1 unless otherwise noted.

AB 54 - Disability access: construction-related accessibility claims: demand letters. The Construction-Related Accessibility Standards Compliance Act establishes standards for making new construction and existing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities and provides for construction-related accessibility claims for violations of those standards. Current law requires that a copy of the demand letter and the complaint be sent to the California Commission on Disability Access. In addition, this bill requires that information about the demand letter and the complaint be submitted to the Commission in a standard format specified by the Commission on its website. Section 55.32 of the Civil Code, and Section 8299.08.1 of the Government Code, relating to disability access.

AB 241 - Bankruptcy: retired employees: disclosure of names and mailing addresses. A local public agency must provide a list of the name and mailing address of each retired employee, or his or her beneficiary receiving the retired employee's retirement benefit, to any organization that is incorporated and qualified under specific state and federal laws for the purpose of representing retired employees or their beneficiaries, as members of the organization in a neutral evaluation process, the declaration of a fiscal emergency and adoption of a resolution, or a bankruptcy proceeding, as specified. Section 53760.9 to the Government Code, relating to local government.

AB 278 - Municipal elections. Current law authorizes the legislative body of a city to submit to voters at any municipal or special election an ordinance providing for the election of members of the legislative body by districts, from districts, by districts with an elective mayor, or from districts with an elective mayor. Current law also authorizes such an ordinance to be submitted to the voters by means of an initiative measure. This bill deletes the requirement that the ordinance describe the boundaries, and number, of each legislative district and instead requires the legislative body to prepare a proposed map describing the boundaries and numbers of the legislative districts after the ordinance is passed or enacted, as specified. Sections 34872, 34877, 34884, 34886, 34876.5 and 34877.5 of the Government Code, relating to elections.

AB 350 - District-based municipal elections: preapproval hearings. Requires a political subdivision that changes to, or establishes, district-based elections to hold public hearings before and after drawing a preliminary map or maps of the proposed district boundaries, as specified. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. Section 10010 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

SB 441 - Public Records Act: exemptions. The California Public Records Act requires that public records be open to inspection at all times during the office hours of a public agency —any state or local agency — and that every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as specifically provided. The Act further requires that a reasonably segregable portion of a public record be available for inspection by any person requesting the public record after deletion of the portions that are exempted by law. This law exempts from disclosure any identification number, alphanumeric character, or other unique identifying code used by a public agency to identify a vendor or contractor, or an affiliate of a vendor or contractor, unless the identification number, alphanumeric character, or other unique identifying code is used in a public bidding or an audit involving the public agency. Section 6254.33 of the Government Code.
 
SB 450 - Elections: vote by mail voting and mail ballot elections. Current law requires all vote by mail ballots to be voted on or before the day of the election and requires the vote by mail voter to return the ballot by mail or in person, as specified, to the elections official who issued the ballot. This bill requires an elections official who receives a vote by mail ballot that he or she did not issue to forward that ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot no later than eight days after receipt. By requiring an elections official to forward a ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot, the bill imposes a state-mandated local program. Sections 3017, 15320, 4005, 4006, and 4007 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

AB 806 - Community development: economic opportunity. Under current law, before certain city, county, or city and county property is sold or leased for economic development purposes, approval of the sale or lease by the legislative body by resolution, after a public hearing, is required. Current law requires that resolution to contain a finding that the sale or lease of the property will assist in the creation of economic opportunity, as defined. This bill recasts these provisions to instead authorize a city, county, or city and county, with the approval of its legislative body by resolution after a public hearing, to acquire, sell, or lease property in furtherance of the creation of an economic opportunity, as defined. Sections 52200.2, 52200.6, 52201, and 52202 of the Government Code, relating to local government.

SB 807 - Unmanned aircraft systems. This bill further limits the exposure to civil liability of an emergency responder, defined as a paid or an unpaid volunteer or private entity acting within the scope of authority implicitly or expressly provided by a local public entity or a public employee of a local public entity to provide emergency services, for damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if the damage was caused while the emergency responder was performing specific emergency services and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with the provision of those emergency services. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. Section 43.101 of the Civil Code, and Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 853) of Part 2 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code, relating to unmanned aircraft systems.

SB 975 - Tax increment: property tax override rates. Current law authorizes an infrastructure financing plan or a community revitalization and investment plan to provide for the division of taxes levied upon taxable property, if any, between the affected taxing entities, as defined, and the district or authority. This bill, for the purpose of any law authorizing the division of taxes, prohibits the division of revenues derived from a property tax rate approved by the voters pursuant to, specified provisions of the California Constitution and levied in addition to the general property tax rate limited by the California Constitution. Sections 53369.30, 53396, 53398.30, 53398.75, and 62005 of the Government Code, and Article 18.5 (commencing with Section 53993) of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code, relating to local government.

SB 1107 - Political Reform Act of 1974. Current law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a felony involving bribery, embezzlement of public money, extortion or theft of public money, perjury, or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes, from being considered a candidate for, or elected to, a state or local elective office. The Political Reform Act of 1974 provides that campaign funds under the control of a former candidate or elected officer are considered surplus campaign funds at a prescribed time, and it prohibits the use of surplus campaign funds except for specified purposes. This bill also prohibits an officeholder who is convicted of one of those enumerated felonies from using funds held by that officeholder's candidate controlled committee for purposes other than certain purposes permitted for the use of surplus campaign funds. Section 85300 and Section 89519.5 of the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.

SB 1108 - Elections: state and local reapportionment. Current law authorizes a county board of supervisors to appoint a committee, composed of county residents, to study the matter of changing the boundaries of its supervisorial districts. Current law authorizes a city council to appoint a committee, composed of city residents, to study the matter of changing the boundaries of its council districts, directs a committee so created to report its findings to the city council, and expressly states that recommendations of the committee are advisory only. This bill deletes those provisions and instead authorizes a county or general law city to establish a commission, composed of residents of the county or city, to either change the boundaries of the districts or recommend to the governing body changes to the boundaries of the districts. Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 23000) of Division 21 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

SB 1182 - Controlled substances. Current law generally provides that the possession of ketamine, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and flunitrazepam is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year. This bill makes it a felony, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or two or three years, to possess ketamine, flunitrazepam, or GHB, with the intent to commit sexual assault, as defined for these purposes to include, among other acts, rape, sodomy, and oral copulation. By creating a new crime, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program. Sections 11350.5 and 11377.5 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to controlled substances.

SB 1263 - Public water system: permits. Requires a person submitting an application for a permit for a proposed new public water system to first submit a preliminary technical report to the State Water Resources Control Board at least six months before initiating construction of any water-related improvement, as defined. Because a misstatement in the report could be a crime under the provision described above, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program by expanding the scope of a crime. Section 116540 of, and Section 116527 of the Health and Safety Code, and Section 106.4 of the Water Code, relating to drinking water.

SB 1349 - Political Reform Act of 1974: Secretary of State: online filing and disclosure system. The Political Reform Act of 1974 generally requires elected officials, candidates for elective office, and committees formed primarily to support or oppose a candidate for public office or a ballot measure, along with other entities, to file periodic campaign statements. The Online Disclosure Act requires the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Fair Political Practices Commission, to develop online and electronic filing processes for use by these persons and entities. In addition, this bill requires the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Commission, to develop and certify for public use an online filing and disclosure system for campaign statements and reports that provides public disclosure of campaign finance and lobbying information in a user-friendly, easily understandable format. Sections 84601 and 84602 of the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.

SB 1436 - Local agency meetings: local agency executive compensation: oral report of final action recommendation. Current law prohibits the legislative body from calling a special meeting regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits, of a local agency executive, as defined. This bill, prior to taking final action, requires the legislative body to orally report a summary of a recommendation for a final action on the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits of a local agency executive during the open meeting in which the final action is to be taken. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. Section 54953 of the Government Code, relating to open meetings.

AB 1494 - Voting: marked ballots. Current law prohibits a voter from showing his or her ballot to any person after it is marked in such a way as to reveal its contents. Current law provides that a person who interferes or attempts to interfere with the secrecy of voting is guilty of a felony, and authorizes the Secretary of State, the Attorney General or a local elections official to bring an action to impose additional civil penalties for committing those acts. This bill creates an exception to that prohibition that permits a voter to voluntarily disclose how he or she voted if that voluntary act does not violate any other law. Section 14291 of the Elections Code, relating to voting.

AB 1546 - Vital Records. This bill authorizes a local registrar to release birth and death record indices to the county recorder within its jurisdiction for purposes of the preparation or maintenance of the indices of the county recorder. This measure extends the application of access restrictions applicable to confidential portions of certificates of live birth to confidential birth record indices. Sections 102230, 103526.5 and 103526.6 of the Health and Safety Code.

AB 1661 - Local government: sexual harassment prevention training and education. Requires local agency officials, as defined, to receive sexual harassment prevention training and education if the local agency provides any type of compensation, salary, or stipend to those officials, and allows a local agency to require employees to receive sexual harassment prevention training or information. The bill also requires an entity that develops curricula to satisfy this requirement to consult with the city attorney or county counsel regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of that proposed content. Article 2.4.5 (commencing with Section 53237) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code, relating to local government.

AB 1732 - Single-user restrooms. Commencing March 1, this bill requires all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation or government agency to be identified as all-gender toilet facilities, as specified. The bill authorizes inspectors, building officials, or other local officials responsible for code enforcement to inspect for compliance with these provisions during any inspection. Article 5 (commencing with Section 118600) of Chapter 2 of Part 15 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to restrooms.

AB 1785 - Vehicles: use of wireless electronic devices. Existing law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication, as defined, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured, and is used, to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, as specified. A violation of these provisions is an infraction. This bill instead prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communication device, as defined. The bill significantly expands California’s restrictions on the use of mobile phones behind the wheel. The measure forbids drivers from “holding and operating” their devices for any reason, though it does include an exception for functions that require only “the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger,” when the phone is mounted in the vehicle. By changing the definition of a crime, the bill imposes a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the State to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the State. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. However, this bill provides that no reimbursement is required by this bill for a specified reason. Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code

AB 1787 - Open meetings: public comments: translation. The Ralph M. Brown Act requires a local legislative body to provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the body concerning any item described in a notice of meeting. The Act authorizes the legislative body to adopt reasonable regulations limiting the total amount of time allocated for public testimony for each individual speaker. Now, if a local legislative body limits the time for public comment, this bill requires the legislative body to provide at least twice the allotted time to a member of the public who utilizes a translator to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the legislative body, unless simultaneous translation equipment is used to allow the body to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously. Section 54954.3 of the Government Code, relating to open meetings.

AB 2220 - Elections in cities: by or from district. Current law authorizes the legislative body of a city with a population of fewer than 100,000 people to adopt an ordinance that requires the members of the legislative body to be elected by district or by district with an elective mayor without being required to submit the ordinance to the voters for approval. This bill deletes the population limitation in that provision, thereby authorizing the legislative body of a city to adopt an ordinance that requires the members of the legislative body to be elected by district or by district with an elective mayor without being required to submit the ordinance to the voters for approval. Section 34886 of the Government Code, relating to elections.

AB 2228 - Code enforcement officers. Requires the Board of Directors of the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers to develop and maintain standards for the designation of Certified Code Enforcement Officers. The bill requires the Board to designate minimum training, qualifications and experience requirements for applicants to qualify for the CCEO designation. Chapter 20 (commencing with Section 26205) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to code enforcement officers.

AB 2257 - Local agency meetings: agenda: online posting. The Ralph M. Brown Act requires the legislative body of a local agency to post, at least 72 hours before the meeting, an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at a regular meeting, in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public and to provide a notice containing similar information with respect to a special meeting at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting. This bill now requires an online posting of an agenda for a meeting occurring on and after Jan. 1, 2019, of a legislative body of a city, county, city and county, special district, school district, or political subdivision established by the State that has an website to be posted on the local agency's primary website homepage accessible through a prominent, direct link, as specified. Laws: Section 54954.2 of the Government Code, relating to local government.

AB 2318 - Nonprofit organizations: use of public resources. Current law prohibits a nonprofit organization or an officer, employee, or agent of a nonprofit organization from using, or permitting another to use, public resources received from a local agency for any campaign activity not authorized by law. Current law authorizes the Attorney General, any district attorney, or any city attorney of a city with a population over 750,000 to bring a civil action to recover a civil penalty against any person who intentionally or negligently violates that prohibition. This bill clarifies that the prohibition applies to making contributions or expenditures not authorized by law, and specifies certain expenditures authorized by law that are not subject to the prohibition. Section 54964.5 and 84222.5 of the Government Code, relating to nonprofit organizations.

AB 2389 - Special districts: district-based elections: reapportionment. This bill authorizes a governing body of a special district, as defined, to require, by resolution, that the members of its governing body be elected using district-based elections without being required to submit the resolution to the voters for approval. This bill requires that the resolution include a declaration that the change in the method of election is being made in furtherance of the purposes of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. Section 10508 and Part 5.5 (commencing with Section 10650) of Division 10 of, the Elections Code, relating to elections.

AB 2442 - Density bonuses. This bill requires a density bonus to be provided to a developer that agrees to construct a housing development that includes at least 10 percent of the total units for transitional foster youth, disabled veterans, or homeless persons, as defined. The bill requires that these units be subject to a recorded affordability restriction of 55 years and be provided at the same affordability level as very low income units. The bill sets the density bonus at 20 percent of the number of these units. By increasing the duties of local agencies, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. Section 65915 of the Government Code, relating to housing.

AB 2476 - Local governments: parcel taxes: notice. Requires the legislative body of a local agency, as defined, to provide notice of a new parcel tax to the owner of a parcel affected by the tax, if that owner does not reside within the jurisdictional boundaries of the taxing entity. This bill requires the notice to include specified information and to be provided to the property owner in a specified manner. This bill provides that the local agency may recover the reasonable costs of the notice from the proceeds of the parcel tax. Chapter 8.5 (commencing with Section 54930) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code, relating to local governments.

AB 2492 - Community revitalization. Current law authorizes certain local agencies to form a community revitalization and investment authority within a community revitalization and investment area, as defined, to carry out provisions of the Community Redevelopment Law in that area for purposes related to, among other things, infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic revitalization. Current law requires not less than 80 percent of the land calculated by census tracts or census block groups, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, within the area to be characterized by several conditions, including a condition that the land has an annual median household income of less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median income. This bill authorizes the calculation to be made with a combination of census tracts and census block groups. Sections 62001, 62002, and 62004 of the Government Code, relating to economic development.

AB 2693 - Financing requirements: property improvements. Current law authorizes the legislative body of a public agency, as defined, to determine that it would be convenient, advantageous, and in the public interest to designate an area within which authorized public agency officials and property owners may enter into voluntary contractual assessments to finance certain improvements. This bill prohibits a public agency from permitting a property owner to participate in a program pursuant to these provisions unless the property owner satisfies certain conditions and the property owner is given the right to cancel the contractual assessment at any time prior to midnight on the third business day after certain events occur without penalty or obligation, consistent with certain requirements. Sections 53328.1 and 5898.15 of the Government Code, and Sections 5898.16 and 5898.17 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to property improvements.

AB 2801 - Local government: fees and charges: written protest. Current statutory law provides notice, protest, and hearing procedures for the levying of new or increased fees or charges by local government agencies pursuant to Article XIII, Section D of the California Constitution. Under current statutory law, one written protest per parcel, filed by an owner or tenant of the parcel, is counted in calculating a majority protest to a proposed new or increased fee or charge. This bill requires the agency to maintain the written protests for a minimum of two years following the date of the hearing to consider the written protests. By increasing the duties of local officials, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. Section 53755 of the Government Code, relating to local government.

AB 2843 - Public records: employee contact information. The California Public Records Act excepts from public inspection the home addresses and home telephone numbers of state employees and employees of a school district or county office of education, provided that disclosure can be made in specified instances, including to an employee organization. This bill with certain exceptions, extends the limitation on the disclosure of the personal information described above to all employees of a public agency and extends the limitation to include personal cellular telephone numbers and birth dates. Sections 6253.2 and 6254.3 of the Government Code, relating to public records.

AB 2853 - Public records. Authorizes a public agency that posts a public record on its website to refer a member of the public that requests to inspect the public record to the public agency's website where the public record is posted. This bill requires, if a member of the public requests a copy of the public record due to an inability to access or reproduce the public record from the website where the public record is posted, the public agency to promptly provide a copy of the public record to the member of the public, as specified. Section 6253 of the Government Code, relating to public records.

If you have any questions about these bills, please contact the author of this Legal Alert listed to the right in the firm’s Municipal Law practice group or your BB&K attorney.
 
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Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.
 

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