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Council reviews state legislation concerns

Ceres City Manager Toby Wells briefly discussed last week some of pending state legislation that affects cities like Ceres.

Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to decide on the fate of 780 bills that were passed by the state Senate and Assembly onto his desk for signing.

Wells said he participated in a Sept. 7 webinar conducted by the League of California Cities to go over 20 keys bills affecting cities.

Wells touched on the cities' support of SB 441 authored by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, which would exempt from disclosure any identification number, alphanumeric character, or other unique identifying code used by a public agency to identify a vendor or contractor, or an affiliate of a vendor or contractor, unless the identification number, alphanumeric character, or other unique identifying code is used in a public bidding or an audit involving the public agency.

The cities are also in support of AB 1244, authored by state Assemblyman Adam Gray to require the administrative director to suspend any physician, practitioner, or provider from participating in the workers' compensation system if that person has been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor involving fraud or abuse of the Medi-Cal program, Medicare program, or workers' compensation system or the license has been suspended for fraud or abuse.

The League opposes SB 1069, authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, which would further restrict a city's or a county's ability to impose requirements on second units, which would be renamed "accessory dwelling units." In addition, this measure could result in rate hikes to existing private and public utility customers since a second unit would not be considered a new residential unit for purposes of calculating utility connection fees.

Cities are also opposed to AB 626 which affects public contracts. The bill is authored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco.

Once the Legislature recesses it will reconvene on Dec. 5 to start the Legislative session in January.

Wells also touched on some of the 17 statewide ballot measures. The League has taken position on four of them:

• Opposed to Prop. 53, which requires voter approval before the state could issue more than $2 billion in public infrastructure bonds that would require an increase in taxes or fees for repayment. Wells said the backstory is there are some who don't like Gov. Brown's Twin Pipes project.

• Supports Prop. 54 which prohibits the Legislature from passing any bill until it has been in print and published on the internet for 72 hours prior to the vote;

• Opposes Prop. 65, which is an effort to redirect money collected from the sale of carry-out bags by grocery or other retail stores to a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board.

• Supports Prop. 67, which upholds or ratifies the contested legislation banning plastic bags that was enacted by the California State Legislature under the name Senate Bill 270. The American Progressive Bag Alliance, an opponent of the measure, is leading the "No" campaign to repeal SB 270. Yes on 67, a coalition of environmental groups, grocers, and others, is leading the "Yes" campaign to uphold SB 270.

"Confused?" asked Wells of the council. "It's going to be confusing for the voters as well."