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Meeting Information

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 

State Legislation Committee
May 11, 2005

Bill Summary

AB 783 (Jones) - Support
Would restore and extend permanently a recently sunsetted provision for state reimbursement of counties' costs of conducting special elections called by the governor and held after January 1, 2005.

AB 117(Murray) - Support
Would require election officials to provide absentee voters with a ballot that includes a business reply envelope. The bill creates the Absent Voting Postage Fund.

AB 1438 (Salinas) - Support
Would allow Local Initiative Health Plan Governing Board members who are physically outside the jurisdiction and participating via teleconference to count towards a quorum, if at least 50 percent of the members counted towards the quorum are present within the physical jurisdiction. AB 1438 would greatly facilitate the San Francisco Health Plan Governing Board in conducting its business in a timely and efficient manner. San Francisco Health Plan has a 19-member board that meets only every two months. As required by statute, a range of stakeholders including health care providers, advocates and members hold seats on the board. A quorum is critical, but it can be difficult to obtain given the schedules of our diverse and busy board members.

AB 283 (Koretz): Support
Would place restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine containing products, which are used to manufacture methamphetamines. Among recent cases of syphilis more than 50% report methamphatamine use. In a study completed in the San Francisco STD clinic, methamphetamine users were 4 to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis and other STDs. Recent data from newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection show than more than one-third report methamphetamine use. A study completed at the UCSF anonymous HIV testing center showed that methamphetamine users were 3 times more likely to test positive with a new HIV infection than non-methamphetamine users. Finally, a recently completed CDC study in San Francisco HIV clinics showed that 20% of HIV-positive patients used methamphetamine in the past month and 40% in the past year. Clearly methamphetamine use is common and associated with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV infection. The use among people already HIV-infected is particularly concerning since methamphetamine use is often associated with high risk sexual behavior that could include the further transmission of HIV infection.

AB 371 (Goldberg) - Support
In 1991 the Legislature adopted a goal of using 1,000,000 acre-feet of recycled water in California by 2010. In the years since, several local recycling projects have succeeded and others have encountered obstacles that prevent their completion. One of the chief obstacles has been the need to meet multiple and conflicting requirements imposed by state regulators, regional water quality boards and local officials. AB 371 shifts the regulation of water recycling from local government to a statewide process and otherwise encourages water recycling. With statewide standards and a general recycled water project permit, local recycling project sponsors need address only one set of regulatory requirements and will not encounter multiple and conflicting requirements

imposed by regional water quality boards or local officials. There is no known opposition.

SB 769 (Simitian) - Support
Would create a refrigerator replacement program run by the CPUC for low-income residential rental units paid for by the Public Goods Charge. The program goal is to replace 50,000 inefficient refrigerators annually through a subsidy program for landlords. This bill is targeted at low-income renters who do not own their own refrigerators but pay their own electric bills; that is why the landlord will get the subsidy. Low-income customers are defined as households with incomes less than 175% of the federal poverty guidelines; for the disabled and senior citizens the limit is 200%.

AB 672 (Klehs) - Support
Would permit trail access on lands adjacent to publicly owned reservoirs and fishing from the shoreline or from non-motorized boats (permissive). The bill also would require public agencies owning reservoirs larger than 3,500 acre-feet to prepare and adopt watershed or recreation master plans that balance recreation and watershed protection. An adopted watershed master plan will allow a water agency to restrict access to reservoirs in order to protect water quality, plants and wildlife, public safety and address fiscal concerns. Finally, if an agency already has an adopted plan (like SFPUC) the agency would not be required to revise the plan until 2011. Sierra Club has removed its opposition. This bill will allow water agencies to appropriately balance the needs for recreation and the protection of water quality while encouraging a process to provide public input.

SB 855(Poochigian) - Oppose
Would impose additional procedural and legal barriers to the enforcement of disability access codes. In an attempt to address the problem of "drive-by" litigation, it would require a 30-day notification period and a 120 day waiting period before any suit could be filed against private business owners who are in violation of access codes. Opponents argue that the bill sets up hurdles to litigation for disabled people that it does not establish for other classes. The Mayor's Office on Disability reports that the bill may create extra burdens for DBI in obtaining code compliance.

AB 855(Bass) - Support
AB 855 would allow persons convicted of drug felonies for use or possession to receive CalWORKS assistance, if they are able to provide proof of completion, participation or enrollment in a government recognized drug treatment program; placement on a waiting list for such a program; or other evidence that their illegal use of controlled substances has ceased. By refusing to provide CalWORKS assistance and welfare-to-work services to this population, we are reducing their ability to achieve self-sufficiency for their family. This change in the CalWORKS rules will mirror the Food Stamp rules for this population, and will reduce client confusion and promote county efficiency.

AB 436 (Migden) - Support
SB 436 is another THP+ bill that would require counties that provide transitional housing placement services to describe in their annual Independent Living Program reports the currently available transitional housing resources for emancipating pregnant or parenting foster youth, and a plan for meeting any unmet transitional housing needs of these youth. San Francisco already operates a THP+ program that provides 10 out of 31 units of transitional housing for pregnant and parenting youth. The purpose of this bill is to bring attention to this underserved population that can also benefit from THP+.

SB 471 (Escutia) - Support
In 2001, the California legislature enacted the California Land Environmental Restoration and Reuse Act of 2001 (SB 32 Escutia). The legislation created a local agency hazardous materials clean up program to facilitate and expedite the clean up of brownfields by municipalities. The legislation provides tools for local agencies to address idle or underutilized sites where development is stymied because of real or perceived environmental pollution, especially those in low income or minority communities, without taking on the environmental liabilities for those sites. The grant of immunity for local agencies and its transferees makes this a very valuable tool in addressing brownfields.

The legislation includes a long list of the type of property that cannot be included in the program, including sites already under a cleanup order, sites owned or operated by a operating industrial or commercial activity; and residential property with an owner/occupied dwelling or family owned business. The exclusion of these properties could be an obstacle to constructively returning such properties to productive use. Last year, the City supported an amendment to revise the law so that infill sites larger than five acres could take advantage of the program. SB 471 would allow sites to be eligible for the program even if they have full-time employees (excluding security personnel), if they meet the other criteria. Currently such sites are not able to be covered by the program. This provision could serve as a loophole for landlords to have a single employee in order to escape liability for site cleanup and allow the abandoned site to continue to create blight in the community.

Because this program limits the City's environmental liability for sites it wishes to rehabilitate, it is a valuable mechanism in brownfields revitalization. It expands the list of sites that could be covered under this program.

SB 308 (Simitian) - Support
Would authorize the Board of Supervisors to approve by ordinance a fee up to $2.00 on specified real estate document recordings. The Elder and Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Prevention Trust Fund would be created with the fee money collected, which would be used to deter, investigate, and civilly prosecute elder or dependent adult financial abuse in the context of real estate transactions.

The City and County currently collects a similar fee under Government Code Section 27388. This statute authorizes the fund to only be used for criminal real estate fraud investigation and prosecution. Currently, the fund is at about $300,000 and is usually split between the Police Department and District Attorney. The City Attorney's Office anticipates the current elder real estate fraud cases to cost approximately $500,000.