From time to time the Association will have a need to share, outside of our active legislative agenda, information on bills that our members are calling us directly with questions on or that may have a broad impact for our membership as a whole. These legislative alerts in no way imply a stance on any one bill, but instead, are designed to inform our membership on a bills’ language and possible implications to those we serve.
Please check back frequently for regular updates regarding our ongoing legislative efforts. For more information on all the bills currently being tracked by the Association’s Legislative Committee, their status and more, please click on the Legislative Active Agenda button to the right of the page.
Senator Bob Wieckowski, at the request of the CA PA|PG|PC Association, has introduced SB 919; legislation that would increase the minimum statutory fee Public Administrators can charge for managing a decedent estate. The bill also includes language that requires review of the fee amount every three years to allow for future increases according to the federal cost of living index. Click here to view the bill.
This alert provides further updates on several bills the Association has been monitoring and actively engaged in discussion with the authors over the last several months to mitigate the negative impact for Public Administrators, Guardians and Conservators: AB 1971, SB 1303 and SB 1045.
AB 1971 – LPS Bill sponsored by LA County (Association Current Stance – Oppose): On Tuesday, 6/26/18 the Senate Health Committee made several significant Amendment recommendations to this bill, which include:
- Amendment #1 changes the criteria from: “if the failure to receive medical treatment results in a deteriorating physical condition or death” to 1) remove the word “death” and insert: “that a licensed medical professional, in his or her best medical judgment, attests in writing, that the failure to receive medical treatment will more likely than not, lead to death within six months”
- Amendment #2 adds the following language to the bill: “The establishment of a Conservatorship pursuant to this section is subject to a finding by the court that the BHS director of the county or the city and county has met both of the following criteria:
- BHS has offered and made best efforts to provide the proposed Conservatee with voluntary treatment for applicable mental health disorders, which must include, but not be limited to, an individual personal services plan for services as described in section 5348, and the proposed Conservatee refused the voluntary treatment or the voluntary treatment failed to treat the person’s mental illness, and,
- The BHS director has offered and has made best efforts to provide the proposed Conservatee with proposed treatment for the physical health condition included in the proposed conservatee’s individual person services plan, and the proposed Conservatee refused that voluntary physical health treatment
- Amendment #3 makes the bill a pilot project only in LA County with a 5-year sunset. However, that may be expanded to both Orange and Ventura counties, as Senators from each were interested in their counties participating in the program as well.
In our arguments against this bill the Association focused on dispelling the misunderstanding that LPS Conservatorship receives funding via MSHA, Realignment and the new Homeless bill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move the bill forward on the condition the author accepts all the amendments, which he agreed to do (the changes do not yet appear in the official bill on line), and the bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee sometime in August.
SB 1303 – Coroner Bill requires large counties to create a Medical Examiner’s Office (Association’s Current Stance – Oppose): The bill was heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. CSAC and the Sheriff’s Association testified against this bill (only two entities were allowed to testify). I attended the hearing and verbally stated our opposition to the bill. The Committee voted to move the bill forward and it will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in August.
SB 1045 – LPS: Based on amendments made to this bill at the end of May 2018, the Association has changed its stance from Opposed to No Position. The Association felt that continuing to oppose the bill after the amendments were made would not be in the Association’s best interest as we run the risk of being viewed as uncooperative and unwilling to compromise. In addition, the most recent amendment requires additional measures be taken before a conservatorship is pursued. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee sometime in August. The amendments include:
- That the bill would apply to only Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties and be a pilot project for 5 years
- A requirement that prior to the establishment of a conservatorship, a finding by the court that the behavioral health director of the county or the city and county has previously attempted by petition to obtain a court order authorizing assisted outpatient treatment pursuant to Laura’s Law for the person for whom conservatorship is sought, that the petition was denied or the assisted outpatient treatment was insufficient to treat the person’s mental illness, and that assisted outpatient treatment would be insufficient to treat the person in the instant matter in lieu of a conservatorship
This update focuses on two bills the Association has been monitoring and actively engaged in discussion with the authors over the last several months to mitigate the negative impact for Public Guardians and Conservators: AB 1971 and SB 1045.
AB 1971 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations committee last Friday with a unanimous vote and no proposed amendments while SB 1045 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee with the proposed amendment to require a county to attempt to treat a person through an outpatient treatment center before conserving. The bill passed 5-2 with Republicans voting NO. The amended language is not yet available. Click the below links to view the Association opposition letters:
Both bills will now go to their respective house floors for a vote. If passed on the floor, they will go to the other house (AB 1971 to the Senate and SB 1045 to the Assembly) where they will go through the Committee Hearing process again.
Our continued advocacy efforts will include:
- Continued discussions with the authors of each bill to change the language
- Meeting with partners to form a more powerful voice
- Meeting with legislators and their staff of the opposite house to educate them about the reality of these bills
- Testifying at hearings
- Sending new opposition letters to Chairpersons of each assigned Committee
CSAC has created an excellent recap (found here) of the various legislative bills recently proposed related to conservatorship. The CAPAPGPC Executive Office, in conjunction with our Legislation Chair, Arlene Diaz, the Legislation Committee, and our legislative advocate, Trent Smith, is working on gathering information regarding the possible impact to PA/PG/PC programs from these proposed bills. A survey will soon be sent to members requesting data about the financial cost to your programs should these bills be successful. Please respond to the survey as soon as possible. It is vital to our advocacy efforts that we communicate the potentially enormous financial consequences of these various bills, as well as, challenges that may exist around implementation of the mandates.
In addition to the bills outlined by CSAC, another bill, SB 1303, may have a significant impact for some of our Public Administrator (PA) members. SB 1303 would, for counties with a population of 500,000 or greater, require that the office of the coroner or the sheriff’s coroner’s office, be replaced with an office of the medical examiner without a public vote or election. The bill does not address issues concerning the impact to PA Offices currently under a coroner or sheriff’s coroner’s office, such as, would the PA Office remain with the sheriff’s office or be under the medical examiner, etc.
Our Association has not yet taken an official position on any of these bills, as many of them are just now being finalized. However, as the Association’s Executive Director, I am taking the lead in representing our members’ interest and working with the authors of these bills and our various partners, such as CSAC and CA Behavioral Health Director’s Assn, Coroner’s Association, Sheriff’s Association, etc. Thank you.