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Legislative Updates

Approximately 2,200 bills have been introduced for review and consideration during this calendar year legislative session; an exceptionally high number considering this is an election year where every Assembly seat is up for election as well as a high number of Senate seats. 

The State Legislature is in recess during the month of July and reconvenes after a well deserved respite from “conducting the populace’s” business? The legislature reconvenes August 1st; needless to say, it will be a hectic month of lobbying, negotiating and cajoling in order to meet the deadline of August 31st when all bills must pass both houses of the legislature before they are sent to the Governor for veto or passage.

This year, URCA has targeted and is actively lobbying three bills:

AB 626 ( Chiu)- ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­SUPPORT WITH RESERVATION:  This bill is a carry over from last year’s AB 1347, which was vetoed by the Governor.  It would establish, for contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2017, a claim resolution process applicable to any claim by a contractor in connection with a public works project.  The bill would define a claim as a separate demand by the contractor for one or more of the following: a time extension for relief from damages or penalties for delay; payment of money or damages arising from work done pursuant to the contract for local public work, or payment of an amount disputed by the public local entity.  This bill, which was originally an education bill, was “gutted” on June 15th and became a Public Contracts Claims Resolution Process bill. The bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on June 28th and is now residing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  URCA and the American Subcontractors Association of California proposed amendments to the sponsors and author, which would “clean up” some ambiguous language that might be problematic to subcontractors.  In as much as the sponsors and author have not yet accepted our amendments, URCA’s current position is still in place. On August 1st, the bill was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Pursuant to the author’s request, the bill was placed in the Suspense file for future review and consideration. On August 11th, the bill passed out of the Committee by a vote of 7-0 and ordered to third reading.

AB 1963 (Calderon)- SUPPORT:  Existing law, the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act requires specified conditions to be met before an association may file a complaint for damages against a builder, developer or contractor of a common interest development based upon a claim for defects in the design or construction of the common interest development. This bill extends the sunset of the aforementioned provisions from July, 2017 and make them inoperative on July 1, 2024 and would repeal the provisions as of January 1, 2025.  The bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and has been enrolled and sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.

SB 1170 (Wieckowski)- SUPPORT:  This bill would prohibit a public entity, charter city, or charter county from delegating to a contractor the development of a plan used to prevent or reduce water pollution or runoff on a public works contract. Also, the bill would prohibit a public entity, charter city or charter county from requiring a contractor on a public works contract that includes compliance with a plan to assume responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of a plan developed by that entity. However, the bill stipulates that these prohibitions do not apply to contracts that use specified procurement methods if the contractor or construction manager at risk is required by the bid or procurement documents to retain a plan developer for the project owners.  This bill easily passed through all assigned Senate committees and passed out of the Senate Floor by a vote of 36-1.  From the Senate, it moved to the Assembly and was assigned to the Committee on Local Government where it passed out of committee on June 29th. On August 3rd, the bill was heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Pursuant to the author’s request, the bill was placed in the Suspense file for future review and consideration.

SB 1387 (DeLeon)-  OPPOSE:  As background, California has led the nation in employing state-of-the-art market based incentive programs as exemplified by the SCAQMD’s RECLAIM program, which was approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. EPA and was included within the California State Implementation Plan several years ago.  RECLAIM was implemented to cost-effectively achieve emission reduction is Southern California. Its primary purpose was to achieve reductions equivalent to command and control programs with fewer resources while maintaining or enhancing the State’s economy. While not perfect, it is a far more beneficial alternative to the business community than that which is proposed by Senate Pro-Tem Kevin DeLeon. SB 1387 completely deletes economic protection and economic benefits and calls for reductions greater than can be achieved by command and control measures. The bill would add a new provision allowing CARB, under the anti-business leadership of Mary Nichols, to revise any market –based incentive plan provision with a simple notification to the affected air quality district. This provision takes planning out of local hands and gives it to CARB. Just as importantly, the second part of the bill is equally repugnant. For years, the 13 member Governing Board was comprised of 10 members representing cities and counties in the District and 3 appointed by state officials.             

At the beginning of this year and, for the first time in decades, the 13 member board consisted of a conservative majority, which realizes that it is advantageous to the populace and state economy to promote a balance between “environment and business.  Its first action taken was to fire the current Executive Director of the SCAQMD, Barry Wallerstein.  AB 1387 adds a provision, (completely motivated by politics) to increase the number on the Governing Board by adding 3 new members appointed by state officials, thus diluting local control of those responsible to the communities they were elected to represent.  In URCA’s opinion, it is entirely irresponsible to shift local control over critical regional air quality planning to state lawmakers in Sacramento. AB 1387 did pass out of all assigned committees, as well as the Senate Floor but with strong opposition from a coalition of over 70 state associations ( including URCA) and regional chambers of commerce.  On August 3rd, the bill was heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Pursuant to the author’s request, the bill was placed in the Suspense File for future review and consideration.  On August 12th, the bill passed out of the Committee by a vote of 11-4 and ordered to third reading.




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