As a service to our member programs, we wanted to share the following information about California bills. In 2013, we tracked bills affecting our members, offered our position and the positions of our members (if known), and offered links to template letters in support/opposition or fact sheets.
AB 10 (Alejo) Minimum Wage: Annual Adjustment
Update 9/25: The Governor signed the bill today!
This bill increases the state minimum wage in increments.
AB 140 (Dickinson) Undue Influence
Update 10/9: The Governor signed the bill today!
This bill changes the definition of undue influence to mean excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting and results in inequity.
AB 198 (Wieckowski) Exempt Property
Update 9/25: This bill passed out of Assembly Judiciary Committee, but was held in the suspense file in Appropriations.
This bill would have protected more property from the enforcement of a monetary judgment against a debtor. AroundTheCapitol.com has a great summary through the legtrack link.
AB 218 (Dickinson) Employment Application: Criminal History
Update 10/10: The Governor signed the bill today!
This bill will prohibit a state or local agency from asking an applicant to disclose information regarding a criminal conviction, except as specified in the bill, until after the applicant’s qualifications for the position have been determined to meet the requirements for the position. LAAC member program Legal Services for Prisoners with Children is a major sponsor of this bill. Press release
AB 233 (Wieckowski) Wage Garnishment: Exempt Earnings
Update 9/25: This bill passed the Assembly and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but failed passage in the Senate. Senator Evans requested it be moved to the inactive file. The request was granted.
This bill would prohibit the issuance of an earnings withholding order for purposes of collecting debt on a student loan that is not made, insured, or guaranteed by the United States Government pursuant to the Federal Family Education Loan Program or the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
AB 267 (Chau) Evidentiary Privileges: Lawyer Referral Service-Client Privilege
Update 8/19: The Governor signed the bill today!
This bill provides that a person who consults a lawyer referral service, as defined, for the purpose of retaining a lawyer or securing legal advice has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent the lawyer referral service from disclosing, a confidential communication between the client and the lawyer referral service. The bill would further provide that the lawyer referral service-client privilege may be waived in accordance with existing law.
AB 1127 (Chau) Court Interpreters
Update 10/12: The Governor vetoed the bill, stating that the Judicial Council already had the authority to create pilot projects and already has two groups working on best practices.
This bill declares the intent of the Legislature that every effort be made to recruit and retain qualified interpreters to work in the state courts, and that the Judicial Council make further efforts to improve and expand court interpreter services and address the shortage of qualified court interpreters.
SB 345 (Evans) Attorneys: Annual Membership Fees
Update 10/9: The Governor signed this bill!
This bill would allow the State Bar Board of Trustees to charge attorney dues for membership. As part of the bill, the State Bar can collect a $30 opt-out amount in the 2014 dues statement to benefit legal services programs. Additionally, the State Bar is permitted to take part in the California Franchise Tax Board’s Intercept Program for outstanding fines and fees due to the State Bar. The recovered amounts will also go to legal services, though the amounts are less certain due to the nature of the Intercept Program. This is permitted under Cal B&P 6033. LAAC supports this bill because it has the potential to raise over $3 million for legal services programs each year.
SB 515 (Jackson) Payday Lending Reform
Update: Bill failed in committee April 17, reconsideration granted for next year.
This bill could significantly curb the payday lending that occurs in California. There is an existing coalition supporting the bill. For updates, or to sign your organization on as a supporter, please go to coalition-against-pay-day-predators.org/.
SB 597 (Lara) Legal Aid: Court Interpreters
Update: Passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee, now held under submission in Senate Appropriations.
This bill would require the Judicial Council to select up to five (5) courts to participate in a pilot project, to commence on July 1, 2014, to provide interpreters in civil proceedings. The bill would provide that the initial pilot courts participate until June 30, 2016, and would require the Judicial Council to consider whether a pilot court should continue participating in the project and whether to select another court or additional courts.
The LAAC Advocacy Committee will soon meet to decide whether to take a position on the following bills. Until then, we are watching them and tracking their progress. We have posted fact sheets and other resources if we have access to them.
AB 5 (Ammiano) Homelessness
Update 6/26: This bill is held in the suspense file of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
This bill would enact the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act, which would provide that no person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged because he or she is homeless, has a low income, or suffers from a mental illness or physical disability. The bill has additional protections and provisions related to discrimination.
AB 35 (Roger Hernandez) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Update 10/5: The Governor signed this bill!
The bill prohibits immigration consultants from practices that amount to price gouging and includes a process for DACA individuals to get California identification cards.
AB 251 (Wagner) Electronic Court Reporting
Update: Bill failed in committee April 9, reconsideration granted for next year.
This bill would allow a court to use electronic recording equipment in a family law case if an official reporter or an official reporter pro tempore is unavailable.
AB 365 (Mullin) Court Reporting
Update 9/25: Ordered to Inactive File at request of Assemblymember Mullin.
Among other changes, this bill would require that the report of the official court reporter or official court reporter pro tempore be transcribed and certified by a certified shorthand reporter, as defined, in order to qualify as prima facie evidence of that testimony and proceeding.
AB 642 (Rendon) Publication: Newspapers of General Circulation
Update: Hearing set for May 7 cancelled at the request of the author.
This bill would provide that a newspaper that is available on an Internet Web site may also qualify as a newspaper of general circulation, provided that newspaper meets certain criteria.
AB 888 (Dickinson) State Bar of California: Enforcement Actions
Update 10/9: The Governor vetoed this bill. The State Bar has stated they’ll try again next year.
This bill would allow the State Bar of California more power over the Unauthorized Practice of Law. The current bill includes a provision for a civil penalty up to $2,500 or $6,000, if intentional, that would be paid to the State Bar of California.
AB 1005 (Alejo) Judicial Appointments: Demographic Data
Update: LAAC withdrew its early support, along with many California Disability Rights organizations, when the author chose a more restrictive definition of disability in an amendment to the bill. The author’s definition of disability does not line up completely with California’s definition of disability.
Update 9/25: The Governor has approved this bill, and it is now chaptered as Cal. Gov. Code Section 120011.5.
This bill asks that disability and veteran status be added to the demographic data collected from California judicial candidates. Fact Sheet Sample Letter of Support from Disability Rights Legal Center.
AB 1125 (Wagner) Attorney’s Fees
Update: The bill died in committee.
This bill would require the court, in setting the amount of an award of attorney’s fees to a prevailing party, to determine a lodestar, as defined, and an adjustment pursuant to specified procedures.
AB 1159 (Gonzalez) Immigration Services
Update 10/5: The Governor signed this bill!
This bill has changed many times since its creation. LAAC members currently stand on both sides of the bill, so LAAC did not take a position. The bill primarily is focused on preventing immigration fraud by attorneys and immigration consultants through additional requirements related to bonds, contract language, and pre-payment of services. The bill also seeks to eliminate any confusing translation of terms, specifically “notario,” which would could lead an immigrant to misunderstand the American use of the term “notary public.” The enrolled version is here.
SB 612 (Leno) Residential Tenancy: Victims of Human Trafficking and Elder or Dependant Adult Abuse
Update 9/25: Chaptered!
National Housing Law Project recommends supporting this bill that would amend the early lease termination law, CA Civil Code 1946.7, in three important ways:
Survivors of human trafficking. SB 612 would extend Civil Code 1946.7’s protections to survivors of human trafficking so that they may terminate a lease with documentation of abuse. The current law covers survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and elder abuse.
Documentation. Currently, survivors can only use the law to break the lease if they have a police report or restraining order. The legislation would amend the law to allow documentation from a qualified third party, including a medical professional and a domestic violence or sexual assault counselor or caseworker.
Confidentiality. To protect the safety of survivors, SB 612 would ensure that documentation of abuse remains confidential, except in two limited situations: when the tenant consents in writing to the disclosure and when the disclosure is required by law or a court order. The existing law does not include any confidentiality provisions.
SB 737 (Huff) Appeals: Representative Actions
Update: Hearing occurred on April 30. Click here for an analysis. This bill failed passage in committee, and reconsideration was granted for next year.
This bill would allow the appeal of an order granting or denying class action certification, at the discretion of the Court of Appeal.
LAAC is not taking a position on the following bills
LAAC’s Advocacy Policy often guides the Advocacy Committee to not take an official position on a bill, even when we as an organization support or oppose a bill based on our work. We include information on these bills below.
AB 870 (Jones-Sawyer) Public Contracts: Bidders: Employment Contracts
This bill is related to AB 218 (Dickinson) and would prohibit the state from contracting with a person or entity that inquires into or considers the criminal history of a potential employee on an initial employment application, though that person or entity may consider the criminal history after the initial employment screening. The bill also states that removing barriers to employment is a matter of statewide concern.
AB 969 (Ammiano) Landlord and Tenant
This bill gives additional protections to tenants regarding payment of rent and breach of obligations.
AB 1124 (Muratsuchi) Medi-Cal: Public Assistance Reporting Information System
This bill would implement statewide a previous pilot project to help identify veterans and their dependents and assist them in obtaining federal veteran health care benefits.
AB 1263 (Perez) Medi-Cal: CommuniCal
This bill would require the creation of a Medi-Cal Patient-Centered Communication Program. More information on the bill can be found through AroundtheCapitol.com’s legtrack link. LAAC has been asked to share a template letter of support, created by the United Domestic Workers of America. If you have any clients who are interested in testifying or writing their legislator about this bill, please contact Salena at email@example.com, and she will put you in contact with the UDWA.
If you would like to learn more about the 2013-2014 California budget please see LAAC’s Special 2013 Budget Update presented by Western Center on Law and Poverty.