On Saturday, October 9, 2021, one day ahead of the October 10 deadline to sign or veto bills, Governor Gavin Newsom took action on the remaining bills of the 2021 legislative year. In what some have described as a banner year for the California legislature, the Governor signed into law 92% of the bills that came across his desk.
The Legislature is slated to return on January 3, 2021, and several measures remain in the legislature for further consideration/action in 2022. RCRC's Governmental Affairs team is continuing to work on those measures this autumn, as well as identifying new opportunities to move RCRC Board policy priorities forward.
To view legislation tracked by RCRC’s Government Affairs staff during the 2021 Legislative Session, and related letters, visit the easy-to-use RCRC Legislative Tracking Tool.
Signed by the Governor
- AB 73 (Rivas) directs OSHA to develop an enforceable program for employers, including agricultural employers, to provide respirators or similar PPE for employees during wildfire events.
- AB 1103 (Dahle) authorizes county boards of supervisors, or other relevant entities, to establish a livestock pass program for entry into evacuation zones during disasters, as specified.
- AB 14 (Aguiar-Curry) extends the ability of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to collect monies to fund the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and revises the methodology for the surcharge calculation. RCRC supported this measure.
- AB 1124 (Friedman) expands the definition of “solar energy system” which is subject to only a ministerial review, to include facilities not installed on a building or structure on multiple properties. RCRC opposed this measure. (view veto request)
- SB 4 (Gonzalez) increases the maximum annual amount of funding the California Public Utilities Commission can collect for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program and adds flexibility to CASF subaccount funding allocations. RCRC supported this measure. (view request for signature)
- SB 28 (Caballero) expands the authority of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to collect data to enforce requirements for cable franchises and authorizes the CPUC to set customer service requirements for cable providers. RCRC supported this measure. (view request for signature)
- AB 1138 (Rubio) imposes a civil penalty on persons aiding and abetting unlicensed commercial cannabis activity of up to 3 times the amount of the license fee for each violation but in no case more than $30,000 for each violation. RCRC successfully amended the bill to include explicit anti-preemption language preserving local enforcement tools and help minimize preemption arguments based on the bill.
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
- AB 177 (Committee on Budget), among other provisions, (1) repeals as of January 1, 2022, the authority to collect another round of specified criminal justice administrative fees upon conviction or arrest; (2) vacate all previously levied debt associated with these same fees on the effective date of the repeal; and (3) appropriate to counties $25 million in 2021-22 (for half-year implementation) and $50 million annually thereafter to backfill associated revenue losses. RCRC along with UCC and CSAC, engaged extensively in policy conversation on court-related fine and fee reform since 2019 to ensure counties receive backfill to address the direct fiscal impacts to county governments resulting from the repeal of court fines and fees. RCRC supported AB 177 and submitted a request for signature to Governor Newsom.
- AB 586 (Bradford) was amended late in the session to make corrective changes to carry out the statewide decertification process for peace officers established in SB 2. RCRC previously submitted a letter of concern for the bill which would have eliminated an array of court related fees without county backfill.
- SB 2 (Bradford) creates a statewide decertification process for peace officers by granting new powers to the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). The measure establishes processes for investigating and determining the fitness of a person to be a peace officer as well as for suspending or revoking the certification of officers founds to have engaged in serious misconduct.
- SB 16 (Skinner) expands the categories of police personnel records subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act and modify existing provisions regarding the release of records subject to disclosure. The measure specifies that records related to the use of excessive or unreasonable force must be sustained in order to be subject to disclosure and clarifies provisions around the attorney-client privilege.
- AB 428 (Mayes) ensures that county Boards of Supervisors that are subject to a term limit are limited to no fewer than two terms and clarifies that county Boards of Supervisors are responsible for prescribing compensation for all county officers. RCRC supported AB 428 and submitted a request for signature to Governor Newsom.
- SB 594 (Glazer) makes various changes to state law governing candidate filing for the 2022 statewide primary election, redistricting in special districts following the 2020 census, and districting and redistricting for local governments. These changes are necessary to accommodate the delayed receipt of data from the United States Census Bureau and subsequent redistricting processes leading up to the 2022 elections. RCRC, along with UCC and CSAC, supported this measure and worked with legislative staff to ensure clarification on the ability for counties to adopt maps by resolution or ordinance, was included in SB 594. (view request for signature)
Energy and Utilities
- AB 33 (Ting) expands the Energy Commission’s State Energy Conservation Assistance Account to provide financial assistance to local governments, public institutions, and tribes to install energy storage systems and transportation electrification infrastructure. RCRC supported AB 33. (view request for signature)
- AB 322 (Salas) requires the Energy Commission to consider bioenergy projects for biomass conversion when awarding funds under the Electric Program Investment Charge program. RCRC supported AB 322. (view request for signature)
- AB 843 (Aguiar-Curry) allows Community Choice Aggregators to access the CPUC BioMAT program, which promotes small renewable bioenergy projects, including biomass and biogas. Sponsored by Pioneer Community Energy, RCRC supported AB 843 as a way to spur the development of local biomass projects that can help achieve wildfire risk reduction goals. (view request for signature)
- SB 52 (Dodd) clarifies that deenergization events (also known as PSPS events) qualify as events for which a local emergency can be declared under the California Emergency Services Act. RCRC strongly supported SB 52, which was sponsored by Napa County. (view request for signature)
- SB 533 (Stern) requires utilities to discuss in their Wildfire Mitigation Plans efforts to improve their electrical systems, focused on those areas and assets that have been deenergized the greatest number of times. RCRC supported SB 533.
Health and Human Services
- AB 640 (Cooley) is related to eligibility redeterminations for Extended Foster Care (EFC). The bill allows a county to do eligibility redeterminations to establish Title IV-E eligibility for many of these youth as they enter EFC, without any disruption in services or supports to these youth. RCRC supported AB 640 and submitted a request for signature to Governor Newsom.
- SB 9 (Atkins) requires ministerial approval of a housing development of no more than two units in a single-family zone and the subdivision of a parcel zoned for residential use into two parcels. RCRC had a support if amended position on the bill.
- SB 270 (Durazo) allows public employee unions to file an unfair labor practice charge before the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) against public employers that fail to fully or accurately disclose employee information to public employee unions. The bill also contains the ability for agencies to cure violations three times in twelve months and a recent amendment extends the period to remedy violations to 20 days. RCRC along with a coalition of public sector employees opposed SB 270. (view request for veto)
- SB 278 (Leyva) requires a public employee to cover the difference between a retiree’s pension and any subsequent reduction in the person’s post-retirement pay for circumstances in which CalPERS determines a portion of the compensation is “disallowed.”
- AB 361 (Rivas), an RCRC-supported bill, authorizes a local agency to use teleconferencing without complying with the teleconferencing requirements imposed by the Ralph M. Brown Act when a legislative body of a local agency holds a meeting for the purpose of declaring or ratifying a local emergency. (view request for signature)
Needle and Syringe Exchange Programs
- AB 1344 (Arambula) exempts needle and syringe exchanges services from the California Environmental Quality Act. RCRC vigorously opposed provisions of the bill exempting those programs and the illegal disposal of sharps waste from public nuisance.
Planning and Zoning
- AB 602 (Grayson) requires any county with a population of at least 250,000 or any city located therein, to conduct capital improvement planning. RCRC opposed this measure. (view request for veto)
- AB 970 (McCarty) creates a deemed approved permitting schedule for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. RCRC’s veto request can be viewed here.
- SB 264 (Min), an RCRC-opposed bill, prohibits the sale of firearms and firearm components at the Orange County Fair and Event Center. This bill was amended late from the previous version, which included all state property, most notably District Agriculture Associations-operated fairs.
Solid and Hazardous Waste
- AB 246 (Quirk) allows the Contractors State Licensing Board to take disciplinary actions against a contractor who violates state or local laws prohibiting illegal dumping.
- AB 332 (ESTM) reestablishes a viable pathway for the alternative management and disposal of treated wood waste (TWW) in a landfill. RCRC strongly supported AB 332 and worked with the state to establish a stop-gap solution to address TWW until enactment of AB 332.
- AB 1201 (Ting) improves labeling and quality of compostable products that enter the waste stream. RCRC led local government efforts to support AB 1201, but ultimately opposed the bill when late amendments were added. Those late changes unintentionally require CalRecycle to order the bifurcation of organic waste collection and processing systems if CalRecycle determines it is feasible to do so. RCRC and others convinced the author to write a Letter to the Assembly Journal clarifying that this was not his intent and secured his commitment to introducing clean-up legislation to address this ambiguity in 2022.
- AB 1311 (Wood) provides CalRecycle with additional flexibility increase consumer access to beverage container redemption opportunities. RCRC strongly supported and provided technical assistance on AB 1311, which was spurred by Humboldt County’s problems with beverage container redemption. (view request for signature)
- SB 158 (Budget and Fiscal Review) makes substantial changes to the governance of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), substantially increases various fees and taxes that fund DTSC and contaminated site cleanup, and improves the permitting and oversight of hazardous waste facilities. SB 158 also included $822 million for hazardous site cleanups throughout the state. RCRC opposed early versions of the bill and engaged vigorously with DTSC and the Legislature to remove provisions that would have substantially increased costs for local governments. RCRC ultimately removed its opposition to the proposal.
- SB 619 (Laird) provides local governments with one additional year to come into compliance with SB 1383 organic waste recycling regulations without being subject to penalties by CalRecycle, if certain conditions are met. Provisions providing flexibility for rural organic waste collection services were removed from the bill. RCRC removed its support when the rural flexibility sections were removed from the bill.
- SB 552 (Hertzberg) requires counties to establish a county drought task force on Jan. 1, 2022, and requires the county to establish a drought emergency response plan as a standalone planning document or integrated into an existing, relevant planning document.
Wildfire, Forest Resilience, and Natural Resources
- AB 9 (Wood) codifies the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program at the Department of Conservation, along with shifting oversight of several fire prevention programs from CAL FIRE to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Those programs include defensible space, general plan safety element review, establishment of fire hazard severity zones, and the Fire Prevention Grants Program.
- AB 379 (Gallagher) authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife to enter into agreements with California native tribes to provide for the construction, management or maintenance of state-owned conservation lands.
- AB 431 (Patterson), an RCRC-supported bill, extends exemptions to January 1, 2026 from timber harvesting plan requirements for residents who are complying with state defensible space statute. (view request for signature)
- AB 804 (Dahle) requires the Director of Department of Fish and Wildlife to designate two days a year as a free hunting pass day. Currently law allows the director to designate up to two days.
- SB 456 (Laird), an RCRC-supported bill, requires the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force to develop an implementation plan for the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. The bill also requires the California Natural Resources Agency and CalEPA to report on the progress of the implementation plan annually to the Legislature. (view request for signature)
- AB 1346 (Berman), accelerates regulations by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines (SORE), such as lawn and garden equipment and portable generators. Signed by the Governor. RCRC’s veto request can be viewed here.
Vetoed by the Governor
- SB 556 (Dodd) requires streetlight poles and traffic signal poles owned by a local government or local publicly owned electric utility to be made available for the placement of small wireless facilities and outlines the rates and fees that may be imposed for this use of these poles. RCRC opposed this measure. (view request for veto)
Energy and Utilities
- AB 418 (Valladares) would have established a Community Power Resiliency Program through which the Office of Emergency Services will award grants counties, cities, special districts and tribal governments for energy resilience improvements. RCRC strongly supported AB 418 and helped to draft the bill, which was ultimately vetoed.
- AB 339 (Lee and Garcia), an RCRC-opposed bill, would have required county boards of supervisors and city councils governing jurisdictions of at least 250,000 people to provide either a two-way telephonic or two-way internet-based option for members of the public to attend all open and public meetings. (view request for veto)
- SB 792 (Glazer), an RCRC-supported bill, would have required online retailers with annual online transactions more than $50 million to report for each local jurisdiction the gross receipts from the qualified sale of tangible personal property shipped or delivered to a purchaser in that jurisdiction.
Issues Remaining for Action in 2022
- SB 262 (Hertzberg) would make various changes to the current cash bail system, including, among other provisions, requiring the Judicial Council to adopt a uniform statewide bail schedule. Senator Hertzberg remains committed to bail reform and has expressed his clear intent to pursue this measure in 2022.
- AB 989 (Gabriel) creates the Office of Housing Appeals that will conduct an appeals process for violations of the Housing Accountability Act (Act), and authorize a developer to appeal a local agency’s decision that resulted in the denial of a specified housing development project or subjected the project to conditions in violation of the Act.
Land Use and CEQA
- AB 1547 (Reyes) allows ARB to regulate indirect sources of air pollution, like those resulting from warehouses, and requires local governments to undertake many other actions to identify and address the potential environmental impacts of warehouse development projects. RCRC opposes AB 1547, which remains in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
- SB 30 (Cortese) prohibits state agencies from designing or constructing a state facility that is connected to the natural gas grid and prohibits state agencies from funding projects for the construction of residential and nonresidential buildings that are connected to the natural gas grid. RCRC opposes SB 30, which remains in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
- SB 37 (Cortese) would eliminate the ability to use a “common sense exemption” under CEQA for any projects undertaken at over 40,000 sites throughout the state that appear on the Cortese List of currently or formerly contaminated properties. SB 37 would instead allow specified types of projects to use either a statutory or categorical CEQA exemption is if certain circumstances are met. RCRC strongly opposed earlier versions of the bill that would have added unnecessary costs, time, and complexity to a wide variety of routine maintenance projects at many local government facilities, but removed its opposition after extensive negotiations and modifications to the bill. SB 37 remains on the Assembly Floor.
- SB 99 (Dodd) would have required the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to develop and implement a grant program for local governments to develop community energy resilience plans. SB 99 stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
- SB 261 (Allen) would require ARB to adopt new greenhouse gas emission and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction targets for incorporation into the sustainable communities’ strategies prepared by the state’s 18 MPOs. RCRC and many other local organizations oppose SB 261, which remains in Senate Transportation Committee.
Solid Waste and Recycling
- SB 38 (Wieckowski) replaces the existing Beverage Container Recycling Program (Bottle Bill) with a new recycling program administered by beverage container manufacturers and increases the CRV from $0.05 to $0.10 per container. SB 38 also seeks to repeal the $10.5 million annually set aside for payments to cities and counties to address recycling and litter. RCRC opposes SB 38 unless amended to address several pressing local concerns and the bill remains in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
- SB 54 (Allen) seeks to require manufacturers of single-use, disposable packaging and food service ware to ensure that those products sold, distributed, or imported into the state are either recyclable or compostable. RCRC and other local governments Support in Concept SB 54. The bill will be heavily amended in 2022 in an attempt to broker a deal between environmentalists, manufacturers, and local governments to withdraw a competing initiative from the November 2022 ballot.
- AB 252 (R.Rivas) would establish a grant program at Department of Conservation for funding for alternative multi-benefit non-agricultural uses of agricultural-designated land.
- AB 350 (Villapudua) would direct Department of Food and Agriculture to establish a three-year program for providing SGMA technical assistance office, combined with implementation grants to GSAs managing critically over-drafted basins.
- AB 1434 (Friedman) would accelerate the schedule, until 2030, for reduction in the maximum allowable daily amount of residential water usage.
Wildfire, Forest Resilience, and Natural Resources
- SB 396 (Dahle) seeks to facilitate utility removal of cut/felled trees at no expense to the property owner and clarify that utilities can access and remove material that may fall onto a power line and which is located outside of the boundaries of their easement. While sharing the author’s objectives, RCRC reluctantly opposed SB 396 because late amendments eliminated some landowner protections and increased wildfire risk after utility vegetation management. SB 396 is expected to be amended to address many stakeholder concerns in early 2022.
- SB 284 (Stern) would extend Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) workers' compensation presumption to State firefighters, public safety dispatchers, public safety telecommunicators, and emergency response communication employees and expand the list of peace officers who can claim the PTSD presumption. Public agencies, including RCRC, continue to be concerned with this measure and believe it is unnecessary to provide California employees fair access to the workers’ compensation system for psychiatric injuries.
- SB 335 (Cortese) would fundamentally alter longstanding rules and timeframes for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation claims and move California outside of the mainstream compared to other states. RCRC, along with a collation of both public and private sector organizations, remain opposed.