California Professional Firefighters

Firefighter Agenda Remains Strong in 2017

Firefighter Agenda Remains Strong in 2017

Governor signs several CPF-backed bills in latest legislative session

The dust has finally settled after an intense 2017 legislative session, and pro-firefighter legislation has once again gained favor in our state’s capitol.

In the closing hours before his deadline, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law several pieces of CPF-sponsored legislation that serve to protect an injured firefighter's disability retirement, develop a statewide firefighter pre-apprenticeship program and establish timely notification protocols for firefighters and EMS workers who are exposed to communicable diseases.

These successes augment a major accomplishment from earlier in the year, with the securing of a significant portion of revenues from the state's cap-and-trade extension for mutual aid, fire suppression and forest management.

Here is a rundown of the measures recently signed into law. Unless otherwise noted, these bills take effect January 1, 2018:

  • AB 512 (Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona) – Extends (to January 1, 2023) the ability for a disabled CalPERS safety member to receive an industrial disability retirement (IDR) benefit equal to the greatest of one of the three different retirement options.
  • AB 579 (Heath Flora, R-Modesto) – Requires the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) to develop a statewide firefighter pre-apprenticeship program in conjunction with the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC), aiding local fire agencies in the recruitment of candidates from underrepresented groups. This bill takes effect immediately.
  • AB 1338 (Evan Low, D-Campbell) – Allows the survivor of an active or retired fallen firefighter to independently apply for and receive their own firefighter specialty license plate. Proceeds from the purchase of a plate benefit the California Fire Foundation. Click here to learn more about the program.
  • AB 1487 (Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona) – Limits the amount of time that a local public agency or school member of CalPERS can serve in an out-of-class or temporarily upgraded position to 960 hours per fiscal year. The bill would incentivize employers to permanently fill vacancies and provide certainty and stability for the employee who will no longer be required to perform additional duties in perpetuity and not be fairly compensated for that work.
  • SB 226 (Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys) – Strengthens disclosure requirements governing the political use of public safety logos by slate mail organizations.
  • SB 432 (Richard Pan, D-Sacramento) – Requires health facilities to immediately notify an EMS provider upon determination that they have been exposed to a person diagnosed with a communicable disease.

As in year's past, this session's legislative success is attributed to the efforts and active engagement of CPF members statewide. It is your involvement that ensures that the firefighter voice is heard.