Legislators introduce new bills

Facing a deadline of Feb. 16 to introduce new bills, legislators are slowly rolling out new measures for consideration in this second year of the biennial session. While the pace of introduction seems to be a trickle, staff anticipates a flood of bills as we get closer to the mid-February deadline.

Here is a brief rundown of bills of interest to newspapers that were introduced in the last few weeks:

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

SB 908 by Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) would amend the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) to require public disclosure of complaints and investigation and settlement records created on or after January 1, 2009, that reasonably relate to allegations of conduct by a member of the Legislature that violate the sexual harassment policy of the house in which the member serves. The bill would require personally-identifying information of victims and witnesses to be redacted from the records.

SB 830 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Santa Rosa) would require the state Instructional Quality Commission to develop a model voluntary curriculum in media literacy for students in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12 on or before January 1, 2020. The bill would also require the State Department of Education to make available on its website a list of resources and instructional materials on media literacy, including media literacy professional development programs for teachers.

AB 1783 by Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) would require the Board of State and Community Corrections to collect and analyze data regarding recidivism rates of all persons who receive a felony sentence punishable by imprisonment in county jail or who are placed on post-release community supervision. The bill would also require the board to make this data available on the board’s website.

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

AB 1867 by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez-Reyes (D-San Bernardino) would require an employer with 50 or more employees to maintain records of employee complaints of sexual harassment for 10 years from the date of filing. The bill also would authorize the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to seek an order requiring an employer that violates the recordkeeping requirement to comply.

AB 1938 by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) would expand the definition of familial status to include foster parents, individuals with legal custody of a person under 18 years of age, individuals who are pregnant, individuals who are in the process of securing legal custody of any individual under 18 years of age, or individuals who are in the process of being given care and custody of any individual under 18 years of age by a state or local governmental agency responsible for the welfare of children.

SB 937 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would, among other things, require an employer that provides a lactation room or location to include prescribed features as well as access to a sink and refrigerator in close proximity to the employee’s work space. The bill would allow an employer with fewer than five employees to apply to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for an undue hardship exemption from the lactation room or location requirement.

The bill would require an employer to develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation and make it available to employees. The bill would require an employer to respond to an employee’s request for lactation accommodation within five days and provide a written response to the employee if an employer cannot provide break time or a location that complies with the policy.

The bill would also require an employer to maintain records of requests for lactation accommodation for three years and to give the Labor Commission access to those records and would authorize an employee to bring a civil action to obtain applicable remedies, and increase the civil penalty to $500 for violations.