Year-End Report - Legislative Wrap Up for 2010 - Continued

Last week we began publishing sections fo the Norwood & Associates annual Year-End Report. This week we continue with the following sections. IBA West members can download a copy of the entire report here on the members section of the website. Contact membership services at 800-772-8998 if you have any questions about accessing the site. 

BUSINESS OF INSURANCE
 
AB 41 (Solorio): This bill extends until January 1, 2015, the sunset date on the requirement that insurers report to the Insurance Commissioner information on their community development investments.  AB 41 also requires major California insurers, those writing $100 million or more in annual premiums, to develop and file with the Insurance Commissioner a policy statement regarding community development investments and file them with the California Department of Insurance by July 1, 2011.
 
Under this bill, major insurers are also required to biennially review their company's policy statement and, if they revise or change that statement, submit the new policy statement to the Insurance Commissioner no later than July 1 of each odd-numbered year.  The initial policy statement filed with Insurance Commissioner shall satisfy the requirement of this bill if the insurer's policy statement has not changed.
 
Votes:  Assembly 50-27, Senate 23-12
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 340, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 679 (Garrick): This bill would have provided that, in the event of an adverse underwriting decision, if the insurer or insurance agent responsible for the decision chooses to provide an oral advisement of the reason for the adverse decision to the applicant or policyholder, the advisement must also include the reasons for the adverse decision in writing if he or she requests.
 
Status: This two-year bill died in the Assembly Insurance Committee.  A hearing was never conducted on this measure.
 
AB 784 (Gaines):
This bill would have provided that a non-admitted insurer that is affiliated with a California domestic insurer shall not be deemed to be transacting insurance in California as long as all California business written by the non-admitted insurer is transacted by and through a surplus lines broker licensed in California.  The bill would have also authorized a non-admitted insurer to receive administrative services rendered in California by its California domestic insurer affiliate or any other affiliate as long as the administrative services do not relate to the placement or transaction of any California risk or constitute management of the non-admitted insurer.  Lastly, AB 784 would have permitted a non-admitted insurer and its California domestic affiliate to have common directors and officers as long as the non-admitted insurer maintains a resident operating manager in its home state.
 
Status: This two-year bill died in the Assembly Insurance Committee.  A hearing was never conducted on this measure.
 
AB 786 (Jones): This two-year bill, as amended August 18, 2010, would have provided that it is an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance if an insurer uses a retained-asset account and does not take certain actions.
 
Status: This bill was removed from the inactive file and re-referred to the Assembly Rules Committee as a result of the substantial amendments.  The measure died in the Rules Committee.
 
AB 802 (Duvall): This bill would have required insurers to release to specified government agencies any unlawful activity uncovered in the course of an insurance fraud investigation, when an insurer receives a written request by specified peace officers.
 
Status:  This two-year bill passed the Assembly; however, died in the Senate Banking, Finance & Insurance Committee.  A hearing was scheduled, but later cancelled at the request of the author.
 
AB 954 (Jones): This bill would have required the California Department of Insurance to use the Administrative Procedures Act when adopting rules, regulations, or insurance standards recommended by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
 
AB 954 would have created an exception to the aforementioned requirement if the Insurance Commissioner adopts a technical or ministerial rule, regulation, or insurance standard that is recommended by the NAIC, in which case that rule, regulation, or insurance standard shall be posted on the California Department of Insurance's Internet website.
 
Status: This two-year bill was held on the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last year.  No action was taken on the bill in 2010; therefore, the bill died pursuant to legislative deadlines.
 
AB 989 (Block): This bill would have created a private right of action for seniors harmed by violations of the laws regarding senior insurance, to allow for recovery of damages.
 
Status: This two-year bill died in the Assembly Insurance Committee.  AB 989 was never heard before the committee.  The author decided not to move forward with this measure and instead introduced a similar measure in the form of AB 2619 (see below).
 
AB 1011 (Jones): This bill adopts legislative findings and declarations to the effect that climate change is going to have substantial impacts on many industries, including the insurance industry, and that insurer investment in low and moderate-income communities in "green investments" can help these communities effectively respond to the impacts of climate change.
 
"Green investments," under this bill, are defined as investments in low- and moderate-income communities that emphasize renewable energy, economic development, and affordable housing on infill sites, as well as investments that promote the reuse and rehabilitation of city centers including solar and wind power, multimodal transportation systems, transit-oriented development that advance economic development, housing and jobs.  In addition, the bill requires the Department of Insurance to post on its Internet Web site data related to insurers' green investments.
 
Votes: Assembly 50-25, Senate 23-14
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 418, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 1051 (Fletcher): This bill consolidates the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Programs’ (Program) four insurance reserve funds into the Pooled Self-Insurance Fund (Pooled Fund), and allows the VA to purchase insurance related to the Program from the monies appropriated from the Pooled Fund.  This bill also maintains the four reserve funds as sub-funds within the Pooled Fund and requires that any internal sub-fund borrowing be repaid in full within three years.  In addition, the bill requires the VA to report annually to the Legislature on the status of the Pooled Fund and that the sub-funds be subject to audit.
 
Votes:  Assembly 77-0, Senate 38-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 502, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 1650 (Feuer): This bill would prohibit a person or entity that provides goods or services of $20,000,000 or more in the energy sector of Iran, as identified on a list created by the Department of General Services, or a financial institution that extends $20,000,000 or more in credit to such a person, from bidding on or entering into or renewing a contract for goods or services of $1,000,000 or more with a public entity.  AB 1650 would, by June 1, 2011, require the Department of General Services to, using credible information available to the public, develop, or contract to develop, a list of persons it determines provide goods or services of $20,000,000 or more in the energy sector of Iran.  This bill would, before a person or entity is included on the list, require the Department of General Services to provide 90 days' written notice of its intent to include the person or entity on the list and to inform the person that inclusion on the list would make the person or entity ineligible to bid on, submit a proposal for, or enter into or renew, a contract for goods and services of $1,000,000 or more with a public entity, and would require the department to provide the person or entity with an opportunity to comment in writing that it is not engaged in investment activities in Iran.
 
In addition, this bill would require a prospective bidder for those contracts to certify that it is not identified on a list created by the Department of General Services, or a financial institution that extends $20,000,000 or more in credit to such a person, as provided, and would impose penalties for a person or entity that provides a false certification.  This bill would require a local public entity, or the Department of General Services in the case of state contracts, to provide a person or entity with 90 days' written notice and an opportunity to comment in writing before the penalties are imposed.  The bill would allow a public entity, under specified conditions, to permit a person or entity engaged in investment activities in Iran to be eligible for, to bid on, submit a proposal for, or enter into or renew, a contract for goods or services.  Lastly, this bill would preempt any law, ordinance, rules, or regulation of any local public entity involving contracts for goods or services of $1,000,000 or more with a person or entity engaged in investment activities in Iran. 
 
This bill was a highly controversial bill that was negotiated with the author and interested parties until the very last day of session.  Opponents of the bill included the California Chamber of Commerce, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Council of Life Insurers, Association of California Life & Health Insurance Companies, California Bankers Association and California Manufacturers and Technology Association.
 
Votes:  Assembly 76-0, Senate 29-3
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 573, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 1708 (Villines): This bill, sponsored by the California Department of Insurance, increases the minimum capital and surplus requirement for surplus lines companies from $15 million to $45 million.  The bill requires $25 million of this amount to be held in forms that meet the requirements of Department of Insurance statutes relative to the general investment law.  AB 1708 authorizes the balance of the required minimum capital to be held in instruments that are allowable under either the General Investments Law or the Excess Funds Investments Law.
 
AB 1708 requires, for a surplus lines carrier on the Department of Insurance's LESLI list which does not, as of January 1, 2011, meet the capital and surplus requirements imposed by this act, to have at least 30 million dollars of capital and surplus as of December 31, 2011 and at least 45 million dollars of capital and surplus by December 31, 2013.  Lastly, AB 1708 provides for a staged transition to the new capital and surplus requirements by December 31, 2013.  This bill was supported by the Surplus Line Association.
 
Votes:  Assembly 77-0, Senate 34-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 362, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 1837 (Gaines): This bill, sponsored by the Pacific Association of Domestic Insurance Companies, permits a California domestic insurer to provide designated administrative services to an affiliated non-admitted insurer which is approved by the California Department of Insurance for accepting surplus lines placements in California.  Administrative services include computer operations, clerical and administrative staffing support, human resources, claims adjusting and investing services.
 
Votes:  Assembly 74-1, Senate 32-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 581, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2002 (Huffman): This bill provides for across-the-board application of risk-based capital financial oversight to insurers operating in California by repealing a pre-risk-based capital statute that mandates a statutory minimum level of capital reserving for certain non-auto and automobile bodily injury liability insurers.
 
Votes:  Assembly 70-0, Senate 31-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 61, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2128 (Gaines):
This bill would have increased the minimum amount of insurance coverage private patrol operator employers (PPOs) must carry from $500,000 to $1 million and requires PPOs to maintain an insurance policy, regardless of whether employed security guards carry a firearm.
 
Votes:  Assembly 78-0, Senate 30-3
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix C.
 
AB 2367 (C. Calderon): This bill would have required the Insurance Commissioner to provide notice electronically to insurers of changes in the Departments requirements for annual and quarterly statement filings which are required by law.
 
Status: This bill died on the Inactive File on the Assembly Floor.
 
AB 2395 (Anderson): This bill would have required the Insurance Commissioner's investigation of public complaints against insurers and production agencies to be limited to the allegations specified in the complaint.
 
Status: This bill died in the Assembly Insurance Committee. A hearing was scheduled, but later cancelled by the author.
 
AB 2404 (Hill): This bill requires insurance policies that will refund premiums on other than a pro rata basis to disclose that fact in writing at the time of application for the insurance coverage, and authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to postpone a market conduct examination of an insurer up to an additional three years if certain conditions are met.
 
Votes:  Assembly 75-1, Senate 26-10
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 387, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2411 (Jones): This bill would have provided disclosure of the terms of pet insurance products.  The bill would have, in connection with the sale of a new, amended, or renewed pet insurance policy on or after July 1, 2011, required pet insurers to reasonably disclose to the consumer (1) if the policy excludes coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition or other disorder, as specified, (2) any policy provision that limits coverage in a specified manner, and (3) whether the insurer reduces coverage or increases premiums based on claims experience in any preceding policy period.
 
AB 2411 would have also, with respect to pet insurance policies marketed, issued, amended, renewed, or delivered on or after July 1, 2011, required pet insurers that determine claim payments on any basis or that use a benefit schedule to clearly disclose that basis or schedule in the policy and through a link on the insurer's Internet Web site.  In addition, the bill would have required the Department of Insurance to post on its Internet Web site a list of the insurers that offer, issue, or underwrite pet insurance in the state; the names of the products that those insurers offer, issue, or underwrite; the names of their general agents with authority to offer, issue, or underwrite pet insurance; and a link to insurers' company profiles maintained by the department.
 
Votes:  Assembly 49-26, Senate 27-9
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Attachment D.
 
AB 2619 (Block): This bill authorizes victims of elder and dependent adult financial abuse to collect on judgments through wage garnishment.
 
Votes:  Assembly 71-0, Senate 31-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 64, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2780 (Committee on Insurance): This bill permits the Insurance Commissioner to modify the frequency and due date of certain reports under current law and eliminates one annual report to the Governor and the Legislature.
 
Votes: Assembly 77-0, Senate 35-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 611, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2782 (Committee on Insurance): This bill makes various changes to California laws including licensing-related changes to align law with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Producer Licensing Model Act (PLMA).
 
Specifically, this bill:
 
1. Makes technical changes in current law to enable insurers to invest in mutual funds that make investments in foreign securities without the requirement that such a fund must have arrangements to hold all assets in the United States.
 
2. Requires a person to be licensed as an accident and health agent in order to transact disability insurance.
 
3. Separates current fire and casualty broker-agent licenses into two separate licenses:  property broker-agent license and casualty broker-agent license.  Also, adjusts the pre-licensing education requirement to 20 hours for each respective license so there is no net change resulting from the bifurcation, and would reduce the continuing education requirement for individuals licensed less than four years from 30 hours to 24 hours every two years.
 
4. Clarifies that the obligation under current law for an insurance licensee to immediately notify the Insurance Commissioner of their change of address includes changes of address to either their residence or their principal business.
 
5. Provides to the Department of Insurance (CDI) authority to summarily issue a restricted license to a business entity when an officer or controlling person of the entity holds a restricted individual license, but maintains the business entity's right to request DOI to reconsider the restricted license decision.
 
6. Aligns the definition of "Credit Insurance Agent" in the Insurance Code with the definition used in the NAIC Producer Licensing Model Act.  The PLMA definition permits these credit insurance agents to transact Guaranteed Automobile Protection (GAP) insurance.  GAP insurance is insurance which protects a car buyer/lessee with a promise to indemnify the purchaser or lessee for any of the difference between the actual cash value of the insured's vehicle at the time of an unrecovered theft or total loss and the amount owed on the vehicle pursuant to the terms of a loan, lease agreement, or installment sales contract used to purchase or lease the vehicle).
 
7. Changes the bail agent and solicitor license from a one-year term to a two-year term, and would modify the continuing education requirement to 12 hours biennially so there is a no net change from current requirements.
 
8. Specifies that the expiration date on new bail and insurance adjuster licenses issued after December 31, 2010 is the last day of the month in which the original license was issued.
 
9. Clarifies the DOI's authority to summarily revoke a bail license if the licensee is convicted of a felony.
 
10. Specifies that three of the 24 hours of continued education that independent public insurance adjusters must complete as a condition of license renewal must be in ethics training.
 
11. Repeals the sunset date of December 31, 2010 for the law authorizing the Insurance Commissioner to receive attorney fees and costs as part of a judgment in "qui tam" cases (suits brought in the state's name by private parties) in which the Department intervenes.  The cases impacted by this provision involve insurance fraud and the department's involvement in such cases serves as a significant fraud deterrent.
 
12. Makes other minor, conforming, and related changes and deletes obsolete provisions.
 
13. Provides that a report of insurers which write liability insurance for long-term care facilities or other elderly residential care facilities is to be filed by a date specified by the Insurance Commissioner not more than once each calendar year.
 
14. Requires automobile insurers to report certain data related to inspections of vehicles for which a property damage claim was paid, and claims payment data, at the request of the Insurance Commissioner, but not more than annually.
 
15. Repeals a requirement that the Insurance Commissioner report annually to the Governor and Legislature an analysis relating to the relationship between uninsured motorists and the affordability of automobile insurance.
 
Votes:  Assembly 78-0, Senate 36-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 400, Statutes of 2010.
 
SB 983 (Hollingsworth):
This was a spot bill relative to insurance rates.
 
Status: This bill died in the Senate Rules Committee.  No action was taken on this measure. 
 
SB 997 (Cogdill): This was a spot bill relative to the financial statement of insurers.
 
Status: This bill died in the Senate Rules Committee.  No action was taken on this measure.
 
SB 1228 (R. Calderon): This bill declared the intent of the Legislature to later amend this bill to govern the use of insurance contracts in order to provide for equitable resolution of claims for fraud, willful injury, and any other violation of law.
 
Status: This bill died in the Senate Rules Committee.  No action was taken on this measure. 
 
EARTHQUAKE
 
AB 2535 (Blakeslee): This bill would have specified the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), upon request, shall make available in an electronic form by which the CEA holds or uses the information or has made copies for the use by others, nonproprietary materials and documents its Governing Board uses in the determination of whether to open CEA participation to additional insurers who are not currently participating insurers.
 
Status: This bill died on the Senate Inactive File.
 
AB 2746 (Blakeslee):
This bill authorizes the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) to contract for the services of a chief mitigation officer, whose duties shall be established and directed by the CEA board, to support and enhance the Authority's various mitigation programs, including collaborative efforts with public and private entities, and subject this post to Fair Political Practices Commission Form 700 filing.
 
Votes: Assembly 76-0, Senate 34-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 609, Statutes of 2010
 
SB 1406 (Committee on Banking, Finance & Insurance): This bill would have stated that existing law should be construed as authorizing an insurer, for up to 60 days after issuing or renewing a policy of residential property insurance, to focus its resources on its services to existing policyholders in the event of an earthquake and to temporarily defer the mandatory offer.
 
Votes: Assembly 78-0, Senate 37-0
Status: Vetoed by the Governor. See veto message, Appendix E.
 
EMPLOYMENT/BUSINESS ISSUES

 
AB 482 (Mendoza): This bill would have banned the use of consumer credit reports in employment, unless two criteria are met.  First, the information in the credit report must be substantially job-related, where the applicant or promotion candidate would have access to money, other assets, trade secrets, or other confidential information.  Second, the position sought is either managerial, a sworn peace officer or employee of the state Department of Justice, or the information is already required by law.  This bill would have also exempted financial institutions already subject to existing privacy requirements under federal law.
 
Votes: Assembly 45-30, Senate 21-14
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix F.
 
AB 857 (Galgiani): This bill would have required the Employment Development Department (EDD), by July 1, 2010, to provide in-person unemployment benefit assistance in at least one comprehensive state one-stop career center in each workforce area of the state.  In addition, this bill would have required that the unemployment benefit assistance services required to be provided at these centers be funded with existing moneys available to EDD for the administration of the unemployment compensation program.
 
Status: This two-year bill was held on the Suspense File of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  No action was taken in 2010; therefore, the measure died pursuant to legislative deadlines.
 
AB 1814 (Buchanan): This bill provides that the age discrimination prohibitions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act do not prohibit an employer from providing health benefits or health care reimbursement plans to retired persons that are altered, reduced, or eliminated when the person becomes eligible for Medicare health benefits.
 
Votes: Assembly 74-0, Senate 33-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 130, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 1827 (Arambula):
This bill would have required the Employment Development Department (EDD), commencing by July 1, 2011, to provide unemployment insurance (UI) benefits assistance in at least one comprehensive one-stop career center in each workforce area.  This bill would have also required that the unemployment benefit assistance services required to be provided at these one-stop career centers be funded with existing moneys available to EDD for the administration of the unemployment compensation program.  The provisions of this bill were set to sunset on December 31, 2014.
 
Status: This bill was held on the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
 
AB 1881 (Monning):
This bill would have increased the amount of liquidated damages that an employee is entitled when recovering wages that were unlawfully unpaid.  This bill would have permitted an individual to sue his/her employer for liquidated damages in an amount that is twice the amount of the wages unlawfully unpaid when the employer pays that individual less than the minimum wage.
 
Votes: Assembly 48-27, Senate 21-15
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix G.
 
AB 2030 (Yamada): This bill would have established the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEA) and required unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to be paid to eligible individuals who are pursuing training related to self-employment.  Under current law these benefits are not paid to individuals participating in this type of training.  This bill would have required the SEA weekly benefits to be equal to current law UI benefits.  Lastly, AB 2030 would have limited the number of SEA UI beneficiaries to 5% of the total statewide UI beneficiaries.
 
Status: This bill was held on the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
 
AB 2055 (De La Torre): This bill allows a person who imminently will be in a registered domestic partnership to become eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
 
Votes: Assembly 53-24, Senate 23-12
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 590, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2058 (Block):
This bill establishes the California Training Benefits (CTB) Program within the Employment Development Department (EDD) and revises eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation benefits to specify that a person who qualifies for such benefits, extended duration benefits, or federal-state extended benefits or any federally funded unemployment compensation benefits shall be deemed to automatically be eligible for the program during a period of training or retraining.  This bill requires that a determination of eligibility for training or retraining be issued to a person if any of specified conditions apply.  This bill requires that, if training or retraining is not authorized under provisions governing automatic eligibility for those benefits, a determination of potential eligibility for benefits are issued to the person if EDD finds that specified criteria apply.  Lastly, AB 2058 also requires that EDD, no later than September 1, 2016, prepare and submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report evaluating the effectiveness of the California Training Benefits Program.
 
Votes: Assembly 61-16, Senate 24-8
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 591, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2187 (Arambula): This bill would have increased criminal penalties for an employer who willfully fails to pay wages due to an employee who resigns or is discharged.
 
Votes: Assembly 47-27, Senate 21-14
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix H.
 
AB 2312 (Blakeslee):  Spot bill relative to unemployment insurance and contribution rates.
 
Status: This bill was introduced and died at the desk.  No action was taken on this measure.
 
AB 2340 (Monning): This bill would have given employees in California the right to take three days of unpaid time off in the event of the death of certain relatives.
 
Votes: Assembly 47-28, Senate 22-10
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix I.
 
AB 2364 (Nava): This bill clarifies the scope of the law that defines "good cause" to voluntarily leave employment and retain eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.
 
Votes: Assembly 78-0, Senate 25-10
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 678, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2423 (Niello): This bill stated the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require the Department of Industrial Relations to convene an advisory committee consisting of employers, injured workers, doctors, and other stakeholders when setting the assessments and surcharges in compliance with Sections 62.5 and 62.6 of the Labor Code.
 
Status: This bill died in the Assembly Insurance Committee.  The bill was scheduled for a hearing, but it was later cancelled by the author.
 
AB 2424 (Niello): This bill would have extended the time for payment of wages to discharged employees from immediately to within 24 hours.
 
Status: This bill died in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.  The bill was scheduled for a hearing, but it was later cancelled by the author.
 
AB 2433 (Ruskin): This bill authorizes the Employment Development Department to share employment tax information to assist in the administration of tax programs.  This bill specifies the sharing of tax information must be limited to the exchange of information permitted by federal law.
 
Votes: Assembly 74-0, Senate 33-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 139, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2468 (De Leon): This bill would have allowed a business to use the designation Breast-Feeding Mother Friendly Worksite in its promotional materials if the Labor Commissioner determines the employer breast-feeding policy meets specified criteria and requires the Labor Commissioner to post a listing of businesses with this designation on its Web site.
 
Votes: Assembly 63-7, Senate 21-6
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix J.
 
AB 2570 (Ma): This bill would have, on and after January 1, 2012, for purposes of all unemployment insurance laws of this state, provide that a professional employer organization (PEO) shall be deemed to be an employing unit for covered employees under a professional employer agreement.  This bill would have required the Employment Development Department (EDD) to administer the provisions of the bill.  Lastly, AB 2570 would have imposed various requirements on PEOs and clients, and would also have provided for an assessment, fines, and disciplinary actions.
 
Status: This bill was held on the Suspense File in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
 
AB 2604 (Fong): Spot bill relative to unemployment insurance.
 
Status: This bill was introduced but died at the desk.  No action was taken on this measure.
 
AB 2727 (Bradford): This bill would have prohibited an employer from denying an application for employment based on the individual's prior conviction for a criminal offense, unless the employer determines that there is a direct relationship between the criminal offense and the employment sought, or the granting of employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or the safety of welfare of specific persons or the general public.  The bill would have also required that, in making the determination, the employer take into account a variety of factors, including: the public policy of this state to encourage the employment of persons previously convicted of criminal offences; the specific duties of the employment sought; the time between conviction and application; the seriousness of the offense; and the legitimate interests of the employer to protect property and the safety and welfare of specific individuals and the general public.
 
Status: This bill was held on the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
 
AB 2770 (Monning): This bill would have established a pilot program to investigate employment and payment practices within the swimming pool and spa construction industries to identify non-compliant contractors and those firms operating in the underground economy.
 
Specifically, AB 2770 would have required the Labor Commissioner, in consultation with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC), to develop and implement standards that, if met by an employer, would trigger a recommendation for an audit or investigation by appropriate state tax authorities of employers in violation of statutes relating to employee wages, hours, and working conditions.  After July 1, 2011, this bill would have required the Labor Commissioner or the EEEC to take actions to facilitate audits and investigations of employers who meet the standards required by this bill.
 
Votes: Assembly 59-12, Senate 24-3
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix K.
 
AB 2772 (Committee on Labor & Employment): This bill clarifies that an employer wishing to appeal a Labor Commissioner decision with the superior court must first post a bond in the amount of the judgment rendered in the administrative hearing.
 
Votes: Assembly 55-20, Senate 21-12
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 102, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2773 (Swanson): This bill would have exempted civil actions brought pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act from the statute that provides discretion to judges to determine costs, in a case other than a limited civil case, if the prevailing party recovers a judgment that could have been rendered in a limited civil case.
 
Votes: Assembly 46-28, Senate 22-12
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix L.
 
AB 2774 (Swanson): This bill establishes a rebuttable presumption as to when an employer commits a serious violation of the provision requiring an employer to provide employees with a safe workplace and establishes new procedures and standards for an investigation and the determination by the division of a serious violation by an employer which causes harm or exposes an employee to the risk of harm.
 
Votes: Assembly 50-26, Senate 23-13
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 692, Statutes of 2010.
 
AB 2778 (Committee on Insurance): This bill authorizes the Director of the Employment Development Department to approve a single voluntary plan of disability insurance for multiple small employers.
 
Votes: Assembly 78-0, Senate 33-0
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 399, Statutes of 2010.
 
SB 909 (Wright): This bill requires a prospective employer who procures an investigative consumer report for employment purposes to disclose to the applicant the Internet Web site of the investigative consumer reporting agency.  This bill requires the agency to conspicuously post on its Internet Web site its privacy policy, including information on whether reports are prepared or processed outside of the United States or its territories. If the agency does not have an Internet Web site, it shall mail a written copy of the information to the consumer upon request.  Lastly, the bill provides that an investigative consumer reporting agency shall be liable if a consumer is harmed by an unauthorized access of the consumer's personally identifiable information, or act or omission that occurs as a result of the agency negligently preparing or processing a report, or portion thereof, outside of the United States or one of its territories.
 
Votes: Assembly 73-1, Senate 24-10
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 481, Statutes of 2010.
 
SB 933 (Oropeza): This bill would have prohibited a retailer from imposing a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a debit card and expands the existing definition of "debit card" to include prepaid cards.
 
Votes: Assembly 45-24, Senate 22-9
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix M.
 
SB 968 (Negrete McLeod): This bill would have made changes to the current eligibility and determination requirements necessary for approval to participate in the California Training Benefits program.
 
Status: This bill was held on the Suspense File in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
 
SB 989 (Hollingsworth):
This bill would have required an employee requesting court approval of the settlement of a civil action brought under the Labor Code Private Attorney General Act to serve a copy of the courts final approval order and settlement agreement to the Labor Workforce Development Agency within 20 days after the order is made and the settlement is final.
 
Status: This bill passed the Senate and was held at the Assembly Desk.  No further action was taken on the measure.
 
SB 990 (Dutton): This bill would have revised the statutory requirements for the provision of meal periods to specify that the requirements apply only to employees subject to the meal period provisions of an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC).  The statutory requirements for providing the meal periods would have been revised to specify that a meal period based on working more than 5 hours in a workday is required to be provided before the employee completes 6 hours of work, unless the existing waiver provision is invoked.  The waiver provision for the 2nd meal period would have been changed to provide an exception for different provisions within IWC wage orders in effect as of January 1, 2009, and to permit the employer and employee to agree to waive either the first or the 2nd meal period if the employee otherwise is entitled to 2 meal periods.
 
The bill also would have specified conditions under which on-duty meal periods are permitted rather than meal periods in which the employee is relieved of all duty.  The meal period provisions of a valid collective bargaining agreement would be required to be implemented for covered employees rather than the statutory requirements.  Lastly, the bill would have required that orders of the IWC be interpreted in a manner consistent with this section, and would require the Department of Industrial Relations to amend and republish specified IWC wage orders to be consistent with the revised meal period requirements.
 
Status: This bill died in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  A hearing was never conducted on this measure.
 
SB 1180 (Dutton): This bill would have required that a person or agent or officer thereof who coerces or compels any person to do any of the following, as a condition of securing employment or continuing in the employment of any such person, is guilty of a misdemeanor:
a) enter into an agreement, written or verbal, not to join or to remain a member of a labor organization; b) pay any dues, fees, or assessments, or other similar charges, however denominated, of any kind or amount to a labor organization; c) pay to any charity or other third party, in lieu of the payments described above, an amount equivalent to, or a pro rata portion of, dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of a member of a labor organization.
 
SB 1180 would have also provided that any person who was injured as a result of a violation or threatened violation of this section may obtain injunctive relief against a violator or person threatening a violation, as well as monetary damages, including costs and reasonable attorney's fees, resulting from a violation or threatened violation.
 
Status: This bill died in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  A hearing was scheduled, but was later cancelled by the author.
 
SB 1182 (R. Calderon): Spot bill relative to employment meal periods.
 
Status: This bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Rules Committee.  No action was taken on this measure.
 
SB 1259 (DeSaulnier): This bill would have created the Economic Development and Job Creation Agency in state government.  This bill would have provided for the appointment of the Secretary of Economic Development and Job Creation who would serve as executive officer.  SB 1259 would have required the secretary to develop a reorganization plan and to propose a structure for the agency.  This agency would be required to perform duties relating to economic development and job creation.
 
Status: This bill was held on the Suspense File in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
 
SB 1267 (Aanestad): This bill would have allowed penalties to be waived for an employer who violates the laws pertaining to wage deduction statement requirements, the employment of minors requirements, and workers' compensation attainment if (1) the employer employs 15 or fewer employees, (2) the employer has never violated these laws before, and (3) the employer can show proof of compliance.
 
Status: This bill failed passage in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.
 
SB 1304 (DeSaulnier): This bill requires private employers to permit employees to take paid leaves of absence, similar to those currently available to public employees, for the purposes of organ and bone marrow donations, and prohibits retaliation against employees who take this leave.
 
Votes: Assembly 43-28, Senate 22-13
Status: Signed by the Governor.  Chapter 646, Statutes of 2010.
 
SB 1335 (Cox): This bill would have enacted the Workplace Flexibility Act of 2010 which would have permitted an individual nonexempt employee to request an employee-selected flexible work schedule providing for workdays of up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek, and would have allowed an employer to implement this schedule without any obligation to pay overtime compensation.
 
Status: This bill failed passage in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.
 
SB 1370 (Ducheny): This bill would have required that all employees who are paid by commission are provided with a written contract on the terms and conditions of employment.
 
Votes: Assembly 47-27, Senate 22-13
Status: Vetoed by the Governor.  See veto message, Appendix N.
 
SB 1438 (DeSaulnier): This bill would have authorized the Employment Development Department to temporarily suspend unemployment insurance regulations that slow the disbursement of unemployment insurance benefits.  This bill would have also required the Department and the Bureau of State Audits to publish a study of unemployment insurance regulations that includes a list of regulations to be suspended and to present the findings of the study and the list of regulations to the relevant legislative committees. This bill would have also authorized the Legislature to extend, by statute, the suspension of any or all of the suspended regulations. 
 
Status:  This bill died in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  A hearing was never conducted on this measure.
 
SBx8 64 (Hollingsworth): This bill would have repealed the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, which was enacted to provide aggrieved employees with a nonexclusive remedy acting as private attorneys general to seek civil penalties for violations of the Labor Code on their own behalf or on behalf of other employees, which penalties previously could be assessed and collected only by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency or its subordinate entities.
 
Status: This bill was introduced but no action was taken on the measure.
 
SBx8 66 (Cox): This bill would have enacted the Workplace Flexibility Act of 2010 which would have permitted an individual nonexempt employee to request an employee-selected flexible work schedule providing for workdays of up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek, and would have allowed an employer to implement this schedule without any obligation to pay overtime compensation.
 
Status: This bill failed passage in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.
 
SBx8 70 (Dutton): This bill would have extended the time in which an employee can take a meal period, redefined the employer's responsibility for providing his or her employees a meal period, codified and expanded qualifying circumstances for on-duty meal period agreements, removed the ability of employees to revoke on-duty meal period agreements, and decreased the statute of limitations for failing to provide a meal period
 
Status: This bill failed passage in the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.