June 30, 2017 – – This week there were several key bills heard by committees in each legislative chamber.  All bills must be passed out of the second house policy Committees before July 14th.  Below is a summary of some key bills and outcomes.

SB 49 (Kevin De Leon and Henry Stern) is an expansive environmental measure that is being touted no “backsliding” on federal environmental laws.  The bill would require California to enforce the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other similar environmental laws and their implementing regulations and policies as were in place on January 1, 2016 or January 1, 2017, whichever version is the most stringent. Additionally, the bill would create a private right of action in state law for citizen enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and ESA if the citizen suit provisions are removed from these federal laws. SB 49 would also add all species native to California that are listed under the federal ESA to the list of species protected by the California Endangered Species Act. The Senate approved on a 24-13.  The bill has been triple referred to committees in the Assembly. It passed the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxics Committee this week and is headed for the Judiciary Committee next week.  The association opposes.

AB 313 (Adam Gray) would establish a division of water rights within the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Complaints against persons violating provisions of their water diversions would be heard by an administrative law judge in OAH, however decisions would not be final until accepted by the executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on a 5-4 votes and will be heard next in Senate Judiciary Committee.  The association supports.

SB 252 (Bill Dodd) would require new water well permit applicants in critically over drafted groundwater basins to provide their application information to neighbors. It would require cities and counties overlying critically over drafted basins to publicly notice new well permit applications and require these cities and counties to make specific new well permit information available to groundwater sustainability agencies. While concerns about groundwater are universal, the association has opposed the measure along with other ag organizations because local groundwater entities and the counties are working diligently on a comprehensive solution to groundwater the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and this measure would divert resources with no road to sustainability.

There a two key labor bills that are of concern. Both passed their key committees this week.

SB 63 (Hannah-Beth Jackson) requires an employer with 20 or more employees within a75-mile radius to provide 12 weeks of protected parental leave to bond with a new child after that child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. This would result in up to 7 months of paid and unpaid leave when combined with other laws.

AB 450 (David Chiu) requires employers to demand search warrants for ICE enforcement and to notify the Labor Commissioner and employees and their representatives about ICE enforcement and its results. AB 450 was amended to remove worksite ICE enforcement from the bill’s notice requirements and to reduce penalty levels to $2000 to $5000 for a first violation, and $5000 to $10,000 for a subsequent violation.