Keenan Briefings


California Property & Casualty Legislative Summary 2020 End of Session

October 28, 2020

On August 31, 2020, the California legislature ended the most unusual legislative session we have seen in decades. Both COVID-19 (which caused the legislature to close for weeks) and a drastically changed budgetary landscape focused the attention of the legislature and limited the number of bills it passed this year. That said, the Governor signed the majority of the bills sent to him by the legislature. Below are the new laws that will have an impact on schools’, municipality and hospitals’ property, liability and workers’ compensation programs.

Workplace Safety

AB 685 (Chapter 84) — COVID-19: Imminent Hazard to Employees: Exposure: Notification: Serious Violations

This bill requires employers to provide written notice and instructions to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at their worksite within one business day of receiving notice of a potential exposure. Employers are required by the bill to maintain records of the written notifications for a period of at least three years. The bill also enhances the Division of Occupational Health and Safety's (Cal/OSHA) ability to enforce health and safety standards to prevent workplace exposure to and spread of COVID-19 by closing a workplace if it deems the threat of COVID-19 constitutes an imminent hazard to employees. These provisions do not apply to healthcare facilities. For more detailed analysis of AB 685, please refer to our Keenan Briefing on the law here.

SB 275 (Chapter 310) — Health Care and Essential Workers: Personal Protective Equipment

This bill will require the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to establish a personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile for essential workers, and will require certain health care employers, including hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), to maintain an inventory of PPE at least sufficient for 45 days of surge consumption, effective on January 1, 2023, or one year after regulations are adopted defining 45 days of surge consumption, whichever is later.

SB 1044 (Chapter 308) — Firefighting Equipment and Foam: PFAS Chemicals

This bill will prohibit the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of class B firefighting foam containing per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS chemicals) by January 1, 2022, with some exceptions, and requires notification of the presence of PFAS in the protective equipment of firefighters.

Human Resources

AB 1867 (Chapter 45) — Small Employer Family Leave Mediation: Handwashing: Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

This budget trailer bill makes a number of changes to California sick leave laws. Most notably for Keenan clients, it establishes COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for covered workers including those persons employed by private businesses of 500 or more employees, persons employed as certain types of health care providers, and emergency responders employed by public or private entities, all of whom were excluded from the paid sick leave provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The bill also establishes a small employer family leave mediation pilot program for family leave disputes with employers of 5-19 employees. Finally, the bill requires workers in food facilities (including school cafeterias) to wash their hands every 30 minutes and additionally as needed. A Briefing detailing these provisions and their impact on Keenan clients can be found here.

AB 2992 (Chapter 224) — Employer Practices: Leave time

This bill expands existing protected leave under Labor Code §§ 230 and 230.1 to victims of any violent crime, and to immediate family members of homicide victims; and further allows additional reasonable forms of documentation to verify that a crime or abuse occurred to determine employee eligibility for protected leave.

SB 973 (Chapter 363) — Employers: Annual Report: Pay Data

This bill will require, on or before March 31, 2021, and on or before March 31 each year thereafter, a private employer with 100 or more employees and who is required to file an annual Employer Information Report (EEO-1 Report) under federal law, to submit a pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) that, upon request, shall make the report available to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). The bill requires that the pay data report be broken down by specified job categories and include the number of employees by race, ethnicity and sex with annual earnings separated in pay bands used by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Disaster Planning

AB 2213 (Chapter 98) — Office of Emergency Services: Planning Guidance: Telecommunications

This bill will require the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) and California Volunteers, in coordination with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) and VOAD member agencies, to develop planning guidance to identify volunteers and donation management resources that could assist in responding to or recovering from local, tribal, regional, national, or international disasters. The bill authorizes a local government to enter into an agreement with a, or use the records of its own, social services department to access the contact information of persons from the access and functional needs population for the sole purpose of enrolling those individuals in a city-operated or county-operated public emergency warning system. The bill authorizes a county, in the event of a public safety power shutoff, to disclose contact information to the extent necessary to prepare an individual for the loss of power. It also authorizes cities to enter into agreements to access the contact information of resident accountholders through the records of a public utility for the sole purpose of enrolling residents in a city-operated or county-operated public emergency warning system. It authorizes postsecondary institutions to access their own enrollment, registration, and personnel records for the sole purpose of enrolling students and employees in a university- or college-operated public emergency warning system. The bill will require a local government or postsecondary institution, upon receipt of contact information, to notify the individuals that they have been entered into the public emergency warning system and give individuals an opportunity to opt out.

AB 2386 (Chapter 254) — Office of Emergency Services: Disaster Council Plans

This bill will require OES to annually review ten local emergency plans to determine if they conform or exceed best practices identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and in carrying out this new requirement, will prioritize a plan submitted from a county determined to be at a high risk of wildfire disaster. The legislation was introduced in response to a December 5, 2019 California State Auditor report entitled, "California Is Not Adequately Prepared to Protect Its Most Vulnerable Residents From Natural Disasters," which highlighted deficiencies in state and local emergency preparations for addressing the needs of people with access and functional needs.

Civil Liability

AB 2445 (Chapter 51) — Civil Actions: Wrongful Death

This bill authorizes the legal guardians of a decedent to bring a wrongful death action as if they were the decedent’s parents, if the deceased parents of the decedent would be entitled to bring an action.

AB 2143 (Chapter 73) — Settlement Agreements: Employment Disputes

This bill will allow an employer to include a no-rehire clause in a settlement agreement with a worker who filed an official complaint in good faith if, before the worker filed the complaint, the employer made and documented a good faith determination that the worker engaged in sexual harassment, sexual assault, or any criminal conduct.

AB 2717 (Chapter 352) — Motor Vehicles: Unattended Children: Liability

This bill exempts from civil and criminal liability a person who takes any reasonable steps that are necessary to remove a child from a motor vehicle if the person holds a reasonable belief that the child’s safety is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the child, so long as the person complies with certain requirements. The bill also clarifies that a peace officer, firefighter, or other emergency responder who removes a child from a motor vehicle, or who takes possession of a child who has been removed from a motor vehicle is to arrange for treatment and transport of the child according to the medical control policies of the local EMS agency.

Open Meetings

AB 992 (Chapter 89) — Open Meetings: Local Agencies: Social Media

This bill provides that the Brown Act’s prohibition on serial communications shall not be construed to prevent a member of a local agency’s legislative body from engaging in communications on an internet-based social media platform to answer questions, provide information to the public, or solicit information from the public regarding matters in its jurisdiction provided that members do not discuss among themselves business of a specific nature within their jurisdiction. The bill prohibits members of a legislative body from responding directly to any communication on an Internet-based social media platform regarding a matter within their subject matter jurisdiction from another member of the legislative body. The bill sunsets as of January 1, 2026.

Mandated Reporters

AB 1145 (Chapter 180) — Child Abuse: Reportable Conduct

This bill specifies that “sexual assault” for purposes of reporting incidents of abuse under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) does not include certain voluntary sexual acts, if there are no indicators of abuse, unless the conduct is between a person who is 21 years of age or older and a minor who is under 16 years of age.

AB 1929 (Chapter 242) — Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting

This bill will authorize any county welfare agency to develop and implement a system for internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect. The internet-based reporting system could be used to receive reports from any mandated reporter of suspected child abuse or neglect but could not be used if there is an indication that the child is at an immediate risk or in imminent danger of severe harm or death. In a county where the internet-based system is active, a mandated reporter will be allowed to use that system instead of the initial telephone report required by existing law, provided the mandated reporter who submitted the internet-based report cooperates, as soon as practically possible, with the agency on any request for additional information if needed to investigate the report, as determined by the county welfare agency.

AB 1963 (Chapter 243) — Child Abuse or Neglect: Mandated Reporters

This bill adds a human resource employee of a business with five or more employees that employs minors to the list of individuals who are mandated reporters. It also adds, for the purposes of reporting sexual abuse, an adult whose duties require direct contact with and supervision of minors in the performance of the minors’ duties in the workplace of a business with five or more employees to the list of individuals who are mandated reporters.

Higher Education

SB 493 (Chapter 303) — Education: Sex Equity

This bill requires, by January 1, 2022, that any postsecondary institution that receives state financial assistance comply with various requirements pertaining to student sexual harassment protections and provide students with procedural protections relating to claims of sexual harassment. Among the bill’s requirements, it will require a college to: disseminate a notice of nondiscrimination to each employee, volunteer and individual or entity contracted with the institution; designate at least one employee of the institution to coordinate its efforts to comply with this bill's requirements; adopt rules and procedures for the prevention of sexual harassment; adopt and publish on its website grievance procedures related to the prompt and equitable resolution of sexual harassment complaints; publish on its website the name, title and contact information for the Title IX Coordinator or other employee designated to coordinate the institution's efforts to comply with this bill's requirements and individuals with the authority to investigate complaints or to institute corrective measures; provide training for each employee engaged in the grievance procedure; include annual training for residential life student and nonstudent staff for the trauma informed handling of reports regarding incidents of sexual harassment or violence at an institution with on-campus housing; notify employees of the obligation to report sexual harassment to appropriate school officials; provide training to all employees on the identification of sexual harassment. A full Briefing on the bill’s impact can be found here.

Workers’ Compensation

SB 1159 (Chapter 85) — Workers’ Compensation: COVID-19: Critical Workers

With regard to workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 this bill would:

  • Codify the terms and conditions of Executive Order N-62-20, which expired on July 5.
  • Adopt a rebuttable presumption that a peace officer, firefighter, EMT, home health worker, and certain health care employees (those who provide direct patient care or had contact with a patient within 14 days before a COVID-19 diagnosis), who contract COVID-19 were infected with the virus via a workplace exposure.
  • Establish a rebuttable presumption of compensability for employees who contract COVID-19 from any employer that experiences an "outbreak" of COVID-19 cases at a particular work location.

Keenan’s full Briefing on SB 1159 can be found here.

Youth Sports

AB 2300 (Chapter 49) — California Youth Football Act

Under the California Youth Football Act beginning January 1, 2021, a youth sports organization that conducts a tackle football program must comply with certain requirements, including, among other things, having a licensed medical professional, which may include a state-licensed emergency medical technician, paramedic, or higher-level licensed medical professional, present during games. This bill additionally authorizes a certified emergency medical technician, state-licensed paramedic, or higher-level licensed medical professional to provide prehospital emergency medical care or rescue services consistent with their certification or license.

Keenan & Associates is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Clients are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the clients’ business activities.