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2023 Legislative Highlights

AB 246: Removing Dangerous Chemicals from Our Most Intimate Products. Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are linked to severe health problems, including breast and other cancers. Though California has moved to eliminate PFAS from products like cookware and children’s toys – our most intimate products are unregulated. Contaminated products end up in our landfills and wastewater, leaching PFAS into our watershed. California’s pursuit of gender equity and clean drinking water relies on urgent action to ensure that feminine hygiene products are safe, clean, and free from forever chemicals. AB 246 takes a critical step towards protecting not only women’s health but also the environment by requiring menstrual products to be free of PFAS.

AB 575: Removing Barriers to Family Care. While California has led the nation in implementing paid family leave, workers still face barriers to accessing the Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. AB 575 will remove unnecessary barriers in three ways. First, the bill will remove the provision preventing more than one caregiver from receiving PFL to care for the same family member at the same time. The bill will also make PFL available for child bonding when a guardian newly assumes responsibility for a child in loco parentis. Lastly, the bill will remove the provision of PFL that allows employers to require employees to use two weeks of accrued vacation before they can receive PFL benefits. These updates will allow workers to access the support they need without placing any additional requirements on California employers.

AB 753: Returning Water Quality Violation Penalty Funds to Affected Communities. Historically, the State Water Board has returned much of the money from the Cleanup & Abatement Account to the Regional Water Boards in order to clean up waterways in the communities most impacted by pollution. Unfortunately, however, in recent years the State Water Board has sent an increasing share of Cleanup and Abatement Account monies to only a select few Regional Boards – leaving the majority of California communities without the funding necessary to clean up polluted waters. As a result, in California’s most underserved communities, drinking water costs more to treat, recreational and subsistence-fishing opportunities are limited, and in extreme cases, human health is even harmed by dangerous concentrations of heavy metals or poisonous algae blooms in local rivers. AB 753 will reform the State Water Board’s Cleanup and Abatement Account to ensure that fines and penalties paid by water quality violators are sent back to the impacted community for cleanup of the affected waterway.

AB 755: Ensuring Equitable Water Rate Structures. Often, the maximum demand is driven by the customers who use the most water, and affluent single-family residences are notorious for using excessive amounts of water for outdoor irrigation. Because the system needs to satisfy the highest possible demand on any given day, the largest water users are a driving force behind the public utility’s need for larger supply, increased infrastructure, and efforts to conserve the system’s water. These investments increase the public water utility’s overall costs and can raise the rates for all customers. Assembly Bill 755 will provide an additional layer of transparency in residential water rates by requiring public utilities to determine how major water users affect system-wide costs.

AB 893: Peer-to-Peer Rental Regulations. Six years ago, peer-to-peer rental platforms or “personal vehicle sharing programs” (PVSP’s) emerged for individuals to rent their private vehicles to consumers, primarily passengers at airports PVSP’s, who have evaded airport permits and paying their fair share of airport fees. The unpermitted sharing of PVSP vehicles at airports has led to a myriad of issues at California airports, including vehicles left abandoned or waiting at terminal areas for lengthy periods of time, increased traffic congestion, and a loss of revenue. Assembly Bill 893 addresses gaps in current law by clarifying that persons or entities that meet the definition of a PSVP must follow state regulations and participate in the virtuous cycle of both serving and promoting industry in the State.

AB 1023: California Cybersecurity Integration Center. Over the last several years, California’s K-12 schools and districts have increasingly become the target of ransomware attacks. However, the current statutory language for Cal-CSIC only includes higher education within the center, with no reference to K-12 education agencies. This measure will equip school districts and county offices of education with the tools and support to better defend against cyberattacks and is a critical aspect of school safety.

AB 1115: California Underground Storage Tank (UST) Cleanup Fund. AB 1115 will extend the sunset date for the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Program and the Cleanup Fund from January 1, 2026, to January 1, 2036. This measure will continue to make funding available for cleanup of petroleum releases from underground storage tanks and assist retail fuel providers in upgrading or removing tanks as will be necessary as the state transitions away from fossil fuels.

AB 1304: Weights and Measures - Inspection Fees. The inspection and testing of weighing and measuring devices is overseen by a County Sealer of Weights and Measures. Historically, these Sealers have been responsible for ensuring fairness in the marketplace and that consumers reliably get precisely what they paid for. To help pay for the cost of the inspection and testing program, legislation was passed in 1982 to authorize county boards of supervisors to establish fees for business locations to fund local weights and measures enforcement programs. 

The current fee schedule has been in place since 2008, and the cost of the weights and measures program far exceeds the fees that counties collect. AB 1304 would bring the fees in line with inflation and allow the counties to no longer operate the program at a loss.