Brothers & Sisters,
As we informed you last week, Local 1014 was in Sacramento lobbying for several critical pieces of legislation with our state union, California Professional Firefighters (CPF). We are pleased to report that we had a successful year passing important pro-Firefighter legislation items including protecting the families of our fallen Firefighters, adding more protections for workers’ compensation, and banning the sale of products containing toxic-flame retardant chemicals that can have long-term effects on our Firefighters. We would like to thank CPF President Brian Rice and his team for a successful legislative year at the state level.
See list below of the CPF-backed measures signed into law this year. These bills take effect January 1, 2019 unless otherwise noted:
- SB 1086 (Atkins, D-San Diego) – Ensures that survivors of fallen public safety officers, including fallen firefighters, are not “timed out” from filing for workers’ compensation death benefits in cases where the officer’s death is the result of occupational cancer, tuberculosis, or a blood-borne infectious disease.
- AB 2334 (Thurmond, D-Richmond) — Provides that workplace recordkeeping violations continue until corrected or discovered, and requires the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to form an advisory committee if a federal government’s rule for employer electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses is eliminated or substantially diminished. The new law also enhances public access to workers’ compensation data as it relates to public self-insured employers.
- AB 2380 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Napa) – Enacts strict standards and regulations for privately contracted fire-prevention crews, to keep them from complicating disaster response when operating during an active fire incident.
- AB 2554 (Bonta, D-Alameda) – Ensures survivors of California federal firefighters who die in the line of duty can attend UC, CSU and California community colleges tuition free.
- AB 2696 (Rodriguez, D-Pomona) – Clarifies the calculation of penalties paid by CalPERS-contracting employers, which are owed to CalPERS when an employer violates the 960-hour per fiscal year limit on an employee’s out-of-class appointment.
- AB 2961 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) – Requires local emergency medical services agencies (LEMSAs) to report ambulance patient offload time (APOT) data to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA). EMSA must report the data twice a year to state’s Emergency Medical Services commission and submit a report to the legislature.
- AB 2990 (Low, D-Campbell) – Requires California public colleges to make information about fallen firefighter survivor higher education benefits easily accessible on their websites.
- AB 2998 (Bloom, D-Santa Monica) – Bans the sale of mattresses, kids’ products and upholstered and reupholstered furniture that contain toxic-flame retardant chemicals.
While we were successful in many of our efforts, two of our important bills were vetoed by the Governor. Although this is a setback for our efforts in peer support and community paramedicine, we will not rest until we have completed this mission. Please see links to bills below along with links to the Governor’s veto message for each bill.
- AB 1116 (Tim Grayson, D-Concord) — Would have established a confidential Peer Support and Crisis Referral Services pilot program for California’s firefighters, correctional officers and parole officers seeking support for psychological and emotional stressors associated to their profession. See Governor Brown’s veto message here.
- AB 3115 (Mike Gipson, D-Carson) — Would have authorized programs to provide for specified community paramedic or triage to alternate destination paramedic services. See Governor Brown’s veto message here.
As Chair of the California Fire Service Task Force on Behavioral Health, and on behalf of Local 1014, we are deeply disappointed in the Governor’s veto of AB 1116. I would like to thank CPF President Brian Rice, all the committee members and Assemblymember Greyson for their hard work and commitment to this much needed legislation. We will rewrite this bill and get back after it with a new legislative session and a new governor and we will see success.
On AB 3115, the Los Angeles County Fire Department will be working towards a pilot program under the existing Governors’ authority to begin transporting patients to alcohol, drug treatment and behavioral health centers instead of emergency rooms. We will update you as we work with the Fire Chief and the County Board of Supervisors to get this done. We would like to thank LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn for her work on AB 3115 and for her efforts to give our First Responders the tools they need to protect our communities.
Next year we will have a new governor and new opportunities to increase protections for our Firefighters and improve service to our communities. As you know we have joined 30,000 other Firefighters as part of the CPF in endorsing Gavin Newson for Governor. We know his record on Firefighter issues is strong and we believe he will be the candidate to get these important items done for us next year. We have a plan and we are confident that we will be able to get these items done. This is yet another reminder of why political action is one of the most important things we do as a Union and as Firefighters. We need to ensure our voices are heard loud and clear by our elected officials so we can ensure our members get the protections they need.
Finally, as many of you know, every year the County of Los Angeles meets its annual cap for LA County Choices employees enrolled in a 2018 Dependent Care Spending Account (DCSA). As a result, the monthly County contribution for your DCSA in October 2018 will be approximately 20% of the full contribution, and it will stop completely starting in November 2018 and through the remainder of the calendar year. This benefit will reset in January 2019.
If you currently have a DCSA, this will not affect your take-home pay, and your own monthly contribution to your DCSA will remain the same unless you elect to increase it. Any reimbursements to you for dependent care expenses during 2018 will be limited to the amount of your own contributions during 2018, plus the County contributions through October 2018.
For more information or to increase your contribution to you DCSA, please see attached notification.
President Dave Gillotte and your Executive Board