The following bills were signed by Governor Brown and take effect January 1, 2017, unless otherwise noted.
AB 2231 (Calderon) Civil Penalties – CALA Opposition changed to Support
The signing of AB 2231 marks the end of a three-year effort to completely revise the CCLD civil penalty system. CALA worked hard to ensure appropriate increases in 20-year-old fine levels and secured important due process features, including: triggering fines after plan of correction date passed for most violations; a strong definition of “repeat” violation; language to make fines payable upon completion of appeals; and the elimination of “inconclusive” complaint findings. CALA opposed the original version of the bill but was able to obtain amendments that brought us to support. This bill has a delayed implementation date of July 1, 2017.
SB 939 (Monning) CCRC Entrance Fees – CALA fought to remove penalties
SB 939 (Monning) intends to incentivize fast repayment of entrance fees for CCRC contracts that condition repayment upon resale of the unit, but its financial penalties do nothing to locate a buyer and instead will result in higher fees to existing and future residents. CALA provided the foundation needed to lessen the negative impact of this bill and succeeded in removing the early partial repayment requirement. The interest penalties remain 4% at six months and 6% at eight months. Other provisions include requiring disclosure of resale history and allowing early repayment. The bill also prohibits a provider from charging a resident or his or her estate a monthly fee once a unit has been permanently vacated, unless that fee is part of an equity interest contract.
SB 1065 (Monning) Arbitration – CALA Opposition Removed
This bill originally would have eliminated the right to appeal an order dismissing or denying a petition to compel arbitration when the plaintiff has filed a motion for preference and a claim under the Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. CALA was part of a large coalition that succeeded in securing amendments to preserve the right to appeal, but speed up the process. With these amendments, CALA and the other opponents removed opposition.
The following bills failed in the legislature or were vetoed by the Governor.
AB 2301 (Chu) County Elder Abuse Study – CALA Opposition Removed
CALA was opposed to this bill when it required a new poster with law enforcement phone numbers and addresses. CALA argued that the two current posters with toll-free numbers for the Ombudsman, CCLD, and 9-1-1, along with the emergency plan that includes local law enforcement numbers, are sufficient and that another poster on the wall would not accomplish the intended goal. Those provisions were removed and the bill amended to require the Health & Human Services Agency to conduct a four-year study regarding the manner in which each county invests in and conducts services that train and equip law enforcement officers to identify and investigate instances of elder abuse. The bill failed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 648 (Mendoza) Referral Agencies – CALA Neutral
The Governor vetoed SB 648. This bill would have required DSS to license RCFE referral agencies. It would have required specific disclosures and consumer consent before sharing information, prohibited “kickbacks,” and required training for referral agents, among other things. CALA secured amendments early on to ensure that RCFE employees and residents weren’t considered “referral agencies” when they referred friends or family, or when they successfully marketed the community. While there appeared to be broad support for the overall goal of disclosure and consent, the bill language was somewhat confusing and imposed a significant new licensing function on DSS. Referral agencies themselves were split on the bill.
SB 878 (Leyva) Work hours: Scheduling – CALA Opposed
This bill would have eliminated flexibility and imposed costly penalties by mandating retail, grocery, and restaurant employers, regardless of the scope of retail or restaurant services, to provide a 21-day work schedule, with penalties for adjusting it. CALA was concerned that the definition of “restaurant” services would be interpreted to apply to Assisted Living dining services, thus triggering the advance scheduling requirement. CALA was part of a large opposition coalition led by the Cal Chamber. This bill failed in Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 938 (Jackson) Dementia Conservatorship – CALA Opposed
For individuals under a dementia conservatorship, this bill would have expanded the current court prior approval requirement from medications used to treat dementia to any psychotropic medication needed by a person with dementia. For example, before prescribing an anti-anxiety medication prior to an MRI, the physician and conservator would have to petition the court for approval. The goal of preventing inappropriate use of antipsychotics is well-intended and there is recognition that the existing statute is outdated; however, this bill would have imposed additional barriers to needed care. CALA was part of a coalition, including the Alzheimer’s Association, opposed to this bill. The bill failed to receive the votes necessary to pass off the Assembly Floor.
SJR 25 (Wieckowski) Arbitration and Class Actions – CALA Opposed
This nonbinding resolution encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue rules to limit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts for financial products and services. It set forth inaccurate claims regarding arbitration and class actions. For that reason, CALA was part of a large coalition opposed to this resolution. It failed on the Assembly Floor.