By Jennifer Roe, Capitol Advocacy
Yesterday, the Legislature adjourned for the year, the first year of a two-year session.
When the Legislature returned from summer recess on August 14th, the Senate elected a new President pro Tempore to replace Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, who terms out next year. The Senate elected Senator Mike McGuire, a Democrat from the North Coast to replace her. A transition date has yet to be announced but is expected to be some time early next year.
Below is an overview of the key legislation we were working on for the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association at the end of session. Now that the Legislature has adjourned, the Governor has until October 14th to either sign or veto the bills on his desk.
SB 391: Blakespear. Workers’ compensation: skin cancer (CSLEA co-sponsored bill).
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of employment. Existing law provides, among other things, that skin cancer developing in active lifeguards, as defined, is presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment, unless the presumption is rebutted. This bill would expand the scope of those provisions to certain peace officers of the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The Legislature passed this bill unanimously; it is currently awaiting action on the Governor’s desk.
SB 623, as amended, Laird. Workers’ compensation: post-traumatic stress disorder (CSLEA co-sponsored bill).
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of employment. Existing law provides, until January 1, 2025, that, for certain state and local firefighting personnel and peace officers, the term “injury” includes post-traumatic stress that develops or manifests during a period in which the injured person is in the service of the department or unit. Existing law requires the compensation awarded pursuant to this provision to include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits.
This bill would instead repeal that provision on January 1, 2029, and would require the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation to submit reports to the Legislature analyzing the effectiveness of the presumption and a review of claims filed by specified types of employees, not included in the presumption, such as public safety dispatchers, as defined. The Legislature passed this bill unanimously; it is currently awaiting action on the Governor’s desk.
SB 50 (Bradford) Vehicles: enforcement
Prohibits peace officers from initiating a traffic stop for a low-level infraction unless a separate, independent basis for a stop exists. This bill will result in decreased enforcement and will make it more difficult to hold offenders accountable for traffic violations, which will in turn put the public at risk. Most importantly the bill deprives peace officers of a very effective investigative tool that’s often used by law enforcement to gather information needed in an ongoing criminal investigation, apprehend a suspect who is wanted for having committed an unrelated criminal violation or to investigate an unrelated offense. This bill did not have enough votes to be taken up on the Assembly floor so it is dead for the year. The author may bring it up next year.
SB 94 (Cortese) Recall and resentencing: special circumstances
This bill creates a process for a person who has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP) before June 5, 1990, and has served at least 25 years in custody, to seek a recall of their sentence and be resentenced to a lesser sentence. Recent amendments specify that individuals do not qualify for recall and resentencing if they were convicted of first-degree murder of a peace officer, if they were the actual killer of three or more people, or if they were convicted of a sexual offense committed in conjunction with a homicide. The bill is currently in Assembly Appropriations Committee. This bill did not have enough votes to be taken up on the Assembly floor so it is dead for the year. The author may bring it up next year.