Your PIFC team has been busy tracking bills that could affect the way you do business in California. Below is a list of bills that we have been actively engaged on in 2022. Because PIFPAC and our members are such a strong political force in Sacramento and throughout the state, our legislative advocates can always count on lawmakers to give us an opportunity to express our concerns and to work with us on ways to mitigate those concerns.
The Legislature is in the final stretch of the 2022 session. Friday, July 1, was the last policy committee deadline of the year before the summer recess, and the Legislature will reconvene on August 1. August 12 brings the next major deadline requiring all fiscal bills to move out of their Appropriations committees and on to the Floor. August 31 is the last day for each house to pass bills and the Governor has until September 30 to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature.
SB 1107 (Dodd)- Vehicles: insurance – minimum financial responsibility limits – Neutral
Senate Bill 1107 increases the minimum financial responsibility (FR) limits in California from $15,000 for a single injury, $30,000 for multiple injuries, and $5,000 for property damage to $30,000/ $60,000/ $15,000, respectively. The FR limit increase proposed in the bill would require considerably higher insurance rates in order for insurers to fund the increased liability claims. The bill raises the prospects of an important trade-off where many drivers will carry higher insurance limits while others will opt out of the auto liability insurance system due to cost.
PIFC ACTION: While policy concerns remain with this trade-off, PIFC is neutral on this bill after extensive negotiations with the author, sponsors, and committee staff. SB 1107 is part of a package that includes SB 1155 (see below), and we would like both bills to be enacted because the overall benefits outweigh any negatives. SB 1107 recently passed out of the Assembly Insurance Committee and will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 1155 (Caballero) Liability claims: time-limited demands – Support
A time-limited demand is a settlement offer made by a claimant, early in the litigation process, to the insurer of a defendant. Senate Bill 1155 provides a framework for parties to settle a liability claim by requiring that a time limited settlement demand in a personal injury claim remain open for a sufficient period of time so that insurers may adequately respond to a demand. The bill will benefit Californians by assisting insurers in meeting obligations to protect their policyholder and ensure that they can conduct a complete review of a claim before accepting or denying a settlement demand.
PIFC ACTION: After extensive discussions, PIFC staff was able to insert enactment language into SB 1155 and SB 1107, which makes clear that each bill will move forward, or both will fail. The savings accrued from reduced litigation costs and related expenses that SB 1155 provides will create an offset that will balance the increase in financial responsibility limits under SB 1107. SB 1155 recently passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee next.
AB 2372 (Calderon) Insurance: privacy notices – Support
PIFC ACTION: After extensive discussions with committee staff, AB 2372 continues to receive bi-partisan support and recently passed out of its policy committees and will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 2682 (Gray) Vehicles: catalytic converters – Support
Due to the increased number of catalytic converters being stolen annually, both across the nation and California, there have been staggering increases in the number of claims for theft submitted to California insurers. AB 2682 will increase identification and tracking ability of these parts and increase the risk of penalties to thieves.
PIFC ACTION: Though not the sponsor of this bill, PIFC is pleased to support this bill which will help promote insurance affordability by increasing the tracking and identification of catalytic converters.
SB 896 (Dodd) Wildfires: defensible space: grant programs: local governments – Support
Senate Bill 896 will require any local government entity that conducts defensible space inspections in very-high wildfire threat severity zones and reports the assessment information to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), to utilize the common reporting platform maintained by CalFire. In addition, the bill would require CalFire to provide an annual report to the Legislature regarding all defensible space data collected through the common reporting platform.
PIFC ACTION: PIFC has long supported legislation to develop model defensible space programs in order to promote positive action by building owners, contractors and local government. A defensible space area around a building in which vegetation, debris, and other types of combustible fuels have been treated, cleared, or reduced can help slow the spread of fire to and from the building. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect a building from a wildfire and can often be created by the property owner. Though not the sponsor of this bill, PIFC is pleased to support this measure. SB 896 has passed out of its policy committees and is now awaiting to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 522 (Fong, V) Forestry: Forest Fire Prevention Exemption – Support
PIFC supports Assembly Bill 522, which would improve proactive forest management by removing barriers to use of the Forest Fire Prevention Exemption. This bill would remove the existing 300-acre cap on the total number of acres treated, allow temporary road construction of over 2 miles, and would extend the existing sunset date from February 19, 2019, to January 1, 2026.
PIFC ACTION: PIFC has long supported legislation to encourage proactive pre-hazard mitigation and projects that reduce the risk of wildfire spreading into populated areas from wildlands. By helping property owners to engage in effective fire-risk reduction work, this bill will improve forest health, increase fire resiliency, and help reduce the impacts of wildfires on California communities. AB 522 recently passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee next.
AB 2330 (Bigelow) Total loss salvage and nonrepairable vehicles – Support
Assembly Bill 2330 builds on the important pathway created by AB 1122 (Wyland; Chapter 412, Statutes of 2006) to streamline and provide greater efficiencies for insurance companies and their authorized representatives to obtain salvage/non-repairable vehicle titles from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after a vehicle has been in an accident and the insurance claim has already been settled.
PIFC ACTION: This bill seeks to improve the efficiency in this DMV process without restricting or impacting any rights to Californians. PIFC supports this bill and believes that AB 2330 will protect consumers and streamline the process of obtaining salvage/non-repairable vehicle titles.
AB 2125 (Fong, V) Driver’s licenses: motorcycle licensing pilot program – Support
Assembly Bill 2125 allows prospective motorcycle licensees over 21 years old to schedule and take the Motorcycle Skills Field Test portion of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) test at California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) approved sites. By allowing motorcyclists the choice to take the skills test at either the DMV or an approved CMSP site, they can become licensed more quickly.
PIFC ACTION: By allowing for an instruction riding course program for experienced and knowledgeable riders, AB 2125 is an efficient and effective way to improve the safety of our roadways, save public funds, and allow the DMV to reduce wait times. Following the successful completion of course and receiving a DMV DL389 waiver, riders would still be required to pass the written Department of Motor Vehicles motorcycle test. PIFC has a long-standing record of supporting sound safety measures that serve to reduce injuries and enhance public road safety. AB 2125 passed out of its policy committee and will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.