New California laws that affect the Developmental Disability Community
Are You Prepared for the New Laws Taking Effect January 1st, 2020?
This past October Governor Gavin Newsom completed the process of signing new bills for the state of California. Many bills were passed during 2019 which take effect January 1, 2020. As we head into January 2020, there will be new bills introduced that impact our community and we will keep you updated on this new legislation as it is introduced.
Here are some brief summaries of the laws that impact the disability community set to take effect January 1, 2020:
AB 169 (Lackey)
Protections for Guide, Signal, and Service Dogs
Authored by local assemblymember Tom Lackey, AB 169 expands the existing law that states it is a misdemeanor for a person to allow their dog to injure or kill a guide, signal or service dog while on duty. The bill makes these crimes applicable to the injury or death of dogs that are enrolled in a training school or other specified program for guide, signal, or service dogs. In addition to existing law requiring repayment to the person who has the disability for veterinary bills or replacement costs as a result of the service dog’s injury or death, the bill requires the defendant, if convicted, to provide repayment for medical expenses, loss of wages, and if needed, the replacement costs of traveling to pick up and then train a new service dog.
Developmental Screening Services for Children Zero to Three
Authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty who represents the Sacramento-area assembly district 7, this bill adds developmental screening services for children ages zero to 3 to the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefits for individuals in the Medi-Cal program under the age of 21. The bill also requires the Medi-Cal program to adjust their ability and readiness to provide these services based on need and allow an external organization to track Medi-Cal managed care plans’ compliance to ensure these services are provided to program participants.
Authored by local Assemblymember Tom Lackey, AB 1351 requires that the Department of Transportation assess how transit operators provide dial-a-ride or paratransit services to individuals with disabilities who are visiting their service areas and providing public transit cards authorized for a different paratransit or dial-a-ride service area in the state. The assessment will be used to develop guidelines for a statewide program to support individuals with disabilities who are certified to use one public transit service also be able to easily use other in-state public transit services. This bill is a great example of local advocacy as Assemblymember Lackey realized a need for change in paratransit services during a discussion with an NLACRC client who was visiting his Sacramento office.
“Major Transit Stop” and “Bus Line” Definitions Revised
Authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman of the 43rd assembly district, which includes the Burbank and Glendale areas, AB 1560 revises the definition of “major transit stop” as it applies in the California Environmental Quality Act’s exemptions for projects located within ½ of a mile of these major transit stops. The definition of “major transit stop” now also includes a “bus rapid transit station,” with a frequency of service interval of 20 minutes (revised from 15) or less during the morning and afternoon peak transit periods.
Authored by local Senator Robert Hertzberg, SB 389 amends the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). While previously MHSA funds were not allowed to be used for people in state prison or parolees, the bill authorizes the Mental Health Services Act funds to be accessible to various county mental health programs and include services for persons who are participating in a pre-sentencing or post-sentencing diversion program, or who are on parole, probation, post-release community supervision, or mandatory supervision.
Authored by local assemblymember Scott Wilk, SJR 8 is a formal request to the Congress and President that they enact the already existing IDEA Full Funding Act during the current congressional session to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The federal government has never yet paid its promised 40% share of the IDEA mandate, and for years Congress has paid less than 8% of the excess cost of educating children with disabilities. The remaining costs of educating children with disabilities has fallen on the states and local agencies.
Here are some general changes to law that take effect in January 1, 2020.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) adds a new definition to the term “race.” Effective January 1, 2020, “race” includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles. The term “protective hairstyles” includes hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.
Enforcement of California fair employment laws
Effective January 1, 2020, the statute of limitations for filing a claim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation increases from 1 year to 3 years (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12960).
Maternity and pregnancy
State law gives a mother the right to breastfeed her child in any location where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present (CA Civil Code Sec. 43.3). Effective January 1, 2020, a new law amends the requirements for lactation accommodation in the workplace.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires employers to notify employees and applicants about personal information the employer collects and the purposes for which the information will be used. The enforcement deadline is July 1, 2020. Proposed regulations have been issued but are not yet finalized.