Final Weeks of Session -- What's Passing, What's Not



 

The following measures were sent to the Governor this past week:



AB 211 (Cedillo):
This bill would provide, for injuries that cause permanent partial disability and occur on or after January 1, 2012, for a supplemental job displacement benefit in the form of a voucher for up to $6,000 to cover various reeducation and skill enhancement expenses which would expire two years after the date the voucher is furnished to the employee or five years after the date of injury, whichever is later.  This bill would exempt employers who make an offer of reemployment or continued employment from providing vouchers.  This bill would require the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation within the Department of Industrial Relations to adopt regulations implementing the program.



AB 211 passed the Assembly with a vote of 54-21 and the Senate with a vote of 24-13.



AB 261 (Dickinson):
This bill would clarify that prescriptive easements run with the tax-defaulted property sold in a tax sale and require any person wishing to commence a proceeding in court based on alleged invalidity or irregularity of a sale of tax-defaulted property to first petition the local board of supervisors, as specified, to have the tax sale rescinded.



AB 261 passed the Assembly with a vote of 62-16 and the Senate with a vote of 26-12.



AB 316 (Carter): This bill would create a fine for every person who steals, takes, or carries away copper materials of another, including, but not limited to, copper wire, copper cable, copper tubing, and copper piping, which are of a value exceeding $950 is guilty of grand theft.  Grand theft of copper shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,500, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding 16 months, or two or three years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.



AB 316 passed the Assembly with a vote of 78-0 and the Senate with a vote of 37-0.



AB 397 (Monning):
This bill would require a licensed contractor with an exemption for workers’ compensation insurance to recertify the exemption upon license renewal or provide proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage.



AB 397 passed the Assembly with a vote of 60-0 and the Senate with a vote of 34-0.



AB 689 (Blumenfield):
This bill would require that insurance producers and insurers selling annuities have reasonable grounds to believe that their recommendations are suitable for consumers, and would adopt a regulatory process to enforce this requirement.



AB 689 passed the Assembly with a vote of 76-0 and the Senate with a vote of 34-0.



AB 878 (Berryhill):
This bill would require a workers’ compensation insurer to report to the Contractors State License Board when the insurer cancels the insurance policy of a licensed contractor after the insurer has conducted an audit of the contractor, the contractor has made a material misrepresentation that results in financial harm to the insurer, and no reimbursement has been paid by the contractor to the insurer.  This bill would also provide that willful or deliberate disregard and violation of workers' compensation insurance laws by a contractor constitutes a cause for disciplinary action by the Registrar of Contractors against the licensee.



AB 878 passed the Assembly with a vote of 78-0 and the Senate with a vote of 34-0.



AB 1293 (Blumenfield):
This bill would create an exception, allowing assets to be frozen after just one instance of theft or embezzlement from an elder or dependent adult.  Specifically, AB 1293 would authorize the prosecuting agency in conjunction with a criminal proceeding alleging theft or embezzlement of property worth $100,000 or more, to file a petition of forfeiture, as prescribed, with the superior court of the county in which the defendant has been charged with elder or dependent financial abuse, and alleging that the defendant has acquired the property or proceeds through theft or embezzlement of an elder or dependent adult's property.



AB 1293 passed the Assembly with a vote of 76-0 and the Senate with a vote of 34-0.



AB 1396 (Committee on Labor & Employment):
This bill would require that all employers provide a written contract to employees who are paid commission.  Specifically, AB 1396 would: (1) declare legislative intent of this bill, in light of the Federal District Court (Northern District) decision of  Lett v. Paymentech  , to restore the employee protections that had been in effect by making Labor Code Section 2751 apply equally to employers with a fixed place of business in the state and to employers who do not have a fixed place of business in the state, (2) require all employers, by January 1, 2013, to provide a written contract, with specified details, to employees who are paid commission, (3) add when a contract expires and where the parties continue to work under the terms of the expired contract, the contract terms are presumed to remain in full force and effect until the contract is superseded or employment is terminated by either party, and (4) repeal the provision of law which states that an employer shall be liable to the employee in a civil action for treble damages when an employer does not provide a written commission contract, as specified.



AB 1396 passed the Assembly with a vote of 51-28 and the Senate with a vote of 25-12.



SB 127 (Emmerson):
This bill would require the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation to annually adopt the Current Procedural Terminology codes, descriptors, and modifiers published by the American Medical Association.



SB 127 passed the Assembly with a vote of 79-0 and the Senate with a vote of 39-0.



SB 131 (Gaines):
This bill would clarify the allocation of Department of Insurance reporting requirements under the surplus lines law when multiple brokers are involved in a single surplus lines transaction by permitting delegation of the responsibility by mutual agreement among the brokers as a recognized option.



SB 131 passed the Assembly with a vote of 78-0 and the Senate with a vote of 38-0.



SB 599 (Kehoe): This bill would require life insurers to provide beneficiaries with settlement options on the life insurance benefit claim form.  This bill would authorize a retained asset account (RAA) to be the default method of settlement payment provided that the claim form provides a prominent disclosure, as specified, that the RAA will be the default payment mechanism if no other option is selected by the beneficiary, and requires that a life insurer who recommends to a policyholder or beneficiary that the beneficiary receive life insurance proceeds in the form of a RAA or any arrangement other than a lump-sum payment provide in writing to the policyholder or beneficiary the terms of each settlement option.  This bill is contingent upon the successful enactment of SB 713 (Calderon).



SB 599 passed the Assembly with a vote of 78-0 and the Senate with a vote of 36-0.



SB 684 (Corbett):
This bill would require an insurer that intends to use a dispute resolution or arbitration agreement to resolve disputes arising in California out of a workers' compensation insurance policy or endorsement issued to a California employer, as defined, to disclose to the employer, contemporaneously with any written quote that offers to provide insurance coverage, that choice of law and choice of venue or forum may be a jurisdiction other than California and that these terms are negotiable between the insurer and the employer.  This bill would require that the employer sign the disclosure, as evidence of receipt, when the employer accepts the offer of coverage.  Lastly, this bill would authorize the dispute resolution or arbitration agreement to be negotiated before any dispute arises.  These provisions would apply to workers' compensation policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2012.



SB 684 passed the Assembly with a vote of 75-4 and the Senate with a vote of 24-15.



SB 718 (Vargas):
This bill would allow mandated reporters to report known or suspected elder abuse over the Internet, and requires an Internet report to contain the same information elements as a telephone report.  In addition, the bill would allow a written abuse report that is currently required as a follow-up to the telephone report to be submitted through a confidential Internet reporting tool, if the county or long-term care ombudsman program chooses to implement such a system.  Finally, this bill would require that county ombudsmen who implement the Internet reporting option report to the relevant legislative policy committees on the effectiveness of this reporting tool.



SB 718 passed the Assembly with a vote of 78-0 and the Senate with a vote of 38-0.



SB 826 (Leno):
This bill would establish penalties for the failure of an employer to report claim information to the Workers' Compensation Information System (WCIS).  Specifically, this bill would require the Administrative Director (AD) to promulgate a schedule of penalties capped at $5,000 against a claims administrator in any given year, that provides for no more than $100 per violation for violations where a report is not submitted or not accepted, and no more than $50 per violation for violations involving errors or late filings.  SB 826 would also require the AD to publish an annual report on the compliance of claims administrators, and authorizes the administrators to be named in the report.



SB 826 passed the Assembly with a vote of 66-9 and the Senate with a vote of 31-8.