Package of pro-firefighter legislation headed to governor’s desk
In the final days of the state’s legislative session, California Professional Firefighters (CPF) was able to notch several decisive victories in the Legislature. Due to the active engagement of firefighters from across California, CPF successfully sent a comprehensive package of pro-firefighter bills to the governor.
Gov. Brown will have until September 30th to act on the following CPF-sponsored measures:
- AB 2126 (Rob Bonta, D-Alameda) – Eliminates the veto power that one party has over the other when negotiations hit an impasse and a mediator is desired. Not only will this bill help firefighters and their employers reach agreements, it will help avoid the indiscriminate imposition of last, best and final offers by employers. This bill also clarifies that fact-finding can be invoked over impasse on any issue within the scope of representation;
- AB 2146 (Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley) - Moves us closer to providing firefighters a greater degree of personal protection by requiring the state to look at NFPA’s nationally-recognized PPE standards and determine whether state updates should be made;
- AB 2378 (Henry Perea, D-Fresno) – Overturns a decision by a state appeals court last January that misinterpreted legislative intent. This decision, if allowed to stand, could cost firefighters up to a full year of disability eligibility when they’re injured on the job;
- AB 2577 (Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova) – Ensures that available federal Medicaid dollars aren’t left on the table by allowing public agencies that provide ground emergency medical transportation for Medi-Cal patients to capture lost reimbursements from managed care beneficiaries with the use of intergovernmental transfers;
- SB 388 (Ted Lieu, D-Torrance) – Strengthens the Firefighters Bill of Rights by clarifying that an employer can’t deny a firefighter representation in instances where he or she is being questioned by that employer in connection with an investigation and the questioning might lead punitive action;
- SB 556 (Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima) – Protects the firefighter image by requiring that uniforms worn and vehicles used by public heath and safety personnel denote whether they belong to a public agency or private contractor.
- SB 1019 (Mark Leno, D-San Francisco) – Protects consumers and, in turn, firefighters by requiring upholstered furniture to include a disclosure as to whether the product contains flame retardant chemicals, which produce cancer-causing agents when they burn, putting firefighters and the public at risk.
- SB 1438 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) - Directs the state to develop standards and promulgate regulations allowing all pre-hospital emergency care personnel, including firefighters, to administer Naloxone.
The success of this legislative package comes in addition to the following bills, which reached the Governor’s desk and were signed earlier this summer:
- AB 1035 (John Perez, D-Los Angeles): Extends the statute of limitations for filing a survivor-related workers’ compensation death benefit claim in certain job related instances.
- AB 1561 (Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona): Extends the sunset date of the state’s voluntary California Firefighters Memorial Fund personal income tax check-off.
- AB 2438 (Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach): Clarifies that the training of firefighting equipment operation may be conducted by a firefighter who possesses a class C license with a firefighter endorsement.
Also this week, the Legislature adopted ACR 102 (Steve Fox, D-Palmdale), which proclaims October 11th as Firefighters Memorial Day. This measure does not require the Governor’s signature to take effect.