SB 571 (Newman D) Driver’s licenses: instruction permits and provisional licenses
The Brady-Jared Teen Driver Safety Act of 1997 establishes a provisional licensing program and generally requires that a driver’s license issued to a person at least 16 years of age but under 18 years of age be issued pursuant to that provisional licensing program. This bill would, commencing July 1, 2022, expand the scope of the provisional licensing program by expanding the applicable age range for the program to persons at least 16 years of age, but under 21 years of age. The restrictions on provisional licensees described above would apply during the first 6 months after issuance of a provisional license to a licensee who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age, subject to specified exemptions. The bill would, commencing July 1, 2022, require a person at least 18 years of age, but under 21 years of age, to hold an instruction permit for at least 60 days before applying for a provisional license. By expanding the scope of the provisional licensing program, the violation of which constitutes an infraction, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would, commencing July 1, 2022, make other technical and conforming changes. The bill would also include specified findings and declarations.
PIFC sent a letter of support for SB 571 to the Senate Transportation Committee on March 9. PIFC has supported similar legislation in the past, AB 3067 (Medina). Insurers have an established interest in reducing the number of automobile accidents for teen drivers because they have the highest crash rate of any group of drivers in the U.S. and are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than adult drivers. SB 571 would expand the state’s graduated driver’s license program (GDL) to all new drivers under age 21. PIFC believes implementation of the reforms contained in SB 571 could help to save lives and reduce the cost impact of teen-related automobile accidents. Click here to view the support letter.
SB 11 (Rubio) The California FAIR Plan Association: basic property insurance: exclusions.
Under current law, the California FAIR Plan Association, is a joint reinsurance association in which all insurers licensed to write basic property insurance participate in administering a program for the equitable apportionment of basic property insurance for persons who are unable to obtain that coverage through normal channels. Current law defines “basic property insurance” for these purposes, and excludes from that definition insurance on automobile or farm risks. This bill would modify that definition by deleting the reference to farm risks, and would instead exclude agricultural crop risks from that definition.
PIFC signed on to this support letter because unlike homeowners and many business property owners, California’s commercial farms and ranches do not have access to basic property insurance provided by the California FAIR Plan. An uninsured farm or ranch cannot be collateralized, potentially leaving the farmer or rancher with no access to financial capital for their operation. Senate Bill 11 (Rubio) corrects this problem by clarifying existing California insurance law to ensure that permanent structures used primarily for the production of commercial agricultural commodities or livestock are eligible for basic property insurance via the California FAIR Plan. Click here to view the letter.
AB 642 (Friedman) Wildfires
This bill would require the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection to identify areas in the state as moderate and high fire hazard severity zones. The bill would additionally require the director classify areas into fire hazard severity zones based on additional factors including possible lightning caused ignition. The bill would require a local agency, within 30 days of receiving a transmittal from the director that identifies fire hazard severity zones, to make the information available for public comment.
PIFC supported this bill because it would increase the pace and scale of prescribed fire and takes important steps to restoring cultural burning in California by improving prescribed fire training, permitting, and through the creation of a cultural burning liaison at the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Click here to view the letter.
AB 13 (Chau D) Personal rights: automated decision systems
This bill would enact the Automated Decision Systems Accountability Act of 2021. The bill would require a business in California that provides a person, as defined, with a program or device that uses an automated decision system (ADS) to take affirmative steps to ensure that there are processes in place to continually test for biases during the development and usage of the ADS, conduct an ADS impact assessment on its program or device to determine whether the ADS has a disproportionate adverse impact on a protected class, as specified, examine if the ADS in question serves reasonable objectives and furthers a legitimate interest and compare the ADS to alternatives or reasonable modifications that may be taken to limit adverse consequences on protected classes.
PIFC has joined its state advocacy partners, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and the Pacific Association of Domestic Insurance Companies, in opposing Assemblymember Ed Chau’s AB 13, Personal rights automated decision systems bill. The bill is overly broad because its definition of “automated decision systems” (ADS) captures any “computational process” that “facilitates human decision making” that “impacts persons.” AB 13 would force insurers to collect information they do not normally collect. This bill would also impose civil penalties for failure to comply. PIFC opposed an identical bill last year from Assemblymember Chau, AB 2269, which did not make it out of the Assembly. Click here to view the coalition oppose letter.
SB 440 (Dodd D) Earthquake and wildfire loss mitigation
Would require the Wildfire Fund Administrator, the Office of Emergency Services, and the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety to create the California Wildfire Residential Loss Mitigation Program as a joint powers authority. The bill would require that program to provide mitigation against wildfire risk, including a grant program to assist qualifying owners to retrofit their structures to protect against wildfire or to create a defensible space around their structures. The bill would establish the Wildfire Loss Mitigation Fund as a continuously appropriated subaccount in the Wildfire Fund to fund the program.
PIFC recently signed on to a letter in opposition to SB 440. This bill was not sponsored by the CEA and all indications show that they do not intend to support this legislation. PIFC opposed this bill because it is unfair to millions of Californians. Only 13% of California residential homeowners have earthquake insurance, but this bill would impose a tax on tens of millions of policyholders for the insurance on their homes, cars, and their businesses (e.g., restaurants, nail salons, gyms, trucking companies, wineries, and farms) in order to make sure the small minority who are fortunate enough to afford earthquake insurance can rebuild after a catastrophic earthquake. This bill would also divert money from the utility Wildfire Fund, which is intended to help survivors of wildfires receive appropriate compensation to help them recover. This bill would transfer money from that fund, potentially jeopardizing its actuarial soundness and impairing its ability to compensate victims of catastrophic wildfires. Click here to view the oppose letter.
SB 324 SB 324 (Limón) Unsolicited commercial mail advertisements
This bill would require a company that sends one or more unsolicited commercial mail advertisements to the same address in a year to include specified information on those advertisements, including a toll-free number that can be used to opt out from or cease receiving commercial mail advertisements from the company. The bill would require a company, upon receiving a request from a recipient to opt out from or cease receiving advertising, to remove the recipient’s mailing address from the company’s internal mailing lists and to contact any mail delivery service or third party to ensure that the recipient no longer receives the company’s commercial mail advertisements. This bill would subject a company that knowingly violates those provisions to a civil fine of at least $1,000 and up to $1,000,000 for each violation and would specify factors to be used to determine the amount of the fine.
PIFC recently signed on to a coalition letter in opposition to SB 324. PIFC opposed this bill due to the fact that it would have a detrimental impact on the postal service by restricting consumers access to marketing mail. Under new federal regulations, for every 10% national reduction in marketing mail caused by this bill, postage rates across the country will increase 2.5% or $1 billion per year. Not only would this bill directly affect millions of jobs in the postal industry, it would also significantly impact small businesses that rely on the postal service for low cost marketing opportunities. Click here to view the opposition letter.