California Professional Firefighters

CPF Bills Signed into Law

This past September, once the legislative frenzy of the month before had come and gone, Gov. Jerry Brown was left facing more than 700 pieces of legislation. Some of these bills would go on to become law, while others would see their long journey through the legislative process ended by one of Brown’s swift vetoes. Here’s a rundown of the firefighter-friendly bills that will become law on January 1, 2017:

AB 898 (Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego)

Driven largely by the incident in Los Angeles City, this bill would require that a murdered firefighter’s former department be notified by the state Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation when the inmate responsible for the firefighter’s murder has a scheduled parole hearing when the department requests such notification. The bill would provide an avenue for the fire department, together with the victim’s family and the surrounding community, to voice their opinion about a prisoner remaining behind bars or being released back into their community. Similar action has been instrumental in keeping convicted arsonist Mario Catanio, who ignited a blaze that killed Los Angeles Firefighter Tom Taylor, behind bars.

AB 2164 (Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach)

Clarifies that existing tuition waivers afforded survivors of fallen firefighters at California community colleges, CSU and UC campuses are in fact extended to qualified survivors of firefighters who succumb to an occupational illness. This bill arose after CPF received reports of children of fallen firefighters having their waivers denied by certain campuses and accepted by others. Now there is no question: presumptive-related deaths are eligible for a survivor’s tuition waiver.

AB 1980 (Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks)

Allows for the California Firefighters Memorial in Capitol Park to be modified in a way that ensures additional names of fallen firefighters can be added to the Memorial wall for decades to come. Without this bill, it was expected that the current Memorial wall would run out of room to add the names of fallen firefighters within the next ten years, so additional wall space is needed. AB 1980 allows the California Fire Foundation to move forward and ensure that California’s fallen will be properly honored for years to come.

AB 2028 (Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove)

This bill enables the restoration of CalPERS’ retirement service credit for wrongfully-terminated CalPERS members, including local firefighters. In doing so, this bill codifies CalPERS’ past practice. It also requires the employer of the wrongfully-terminated employee to notify the CalPERS Board of the final decision ordering reinstatement of the employee. CPF co-sponsored this bill with the California School Employees Association.

AB 2318 (Evan Low, D – Campbell)

This bill shifts existing enforcement authority – from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) – over the prohibition on specified nonprofit organizations’ use of public resources for campaign purposes. CPF co-sponsored this bill with the California Labor Federation.

SB 1203 (Robert Hertzberg, D - Van Nuys)

This bill allows a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) formed after the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) took effect on January 1, 2013 to continue offering defined benefit plans or formulas to its employees if they were offered to employees of the JPA’s member agencies prior to forming the JPA. The bill applies to JPAs where at least one member agency provided defined benefits to employees prior to the implementation of PEPRA.

SB 1160 (Tony Mendoza, D – Artesia)

This bill strengthens penalties against those workers' compensation claims administrators who refuse to satisfy their legal obligation to report workers’ injuries. The bill also requires an employer or insurer to allow a physician additional time to respond to request medical information during a utilization review (UR) process, while also requiring the UR process to be accredited. CPF co-sponsored this bill with the California Labor Federation.