CASA’s State Legislative Committee met Friday to review and take positions on about 100 bills introduced in the 2018 legislative session. Here’s a highlight of the bills we support and oppose. We also took a “work with author” position on several bills. We will provide technical input and feedback on these bills as they move forward.

Bills We Support

AB 2379 (Bloom) aims to curb the introduction of microfibers in the wastewater stream by encouraging hand washing of clothing with high microfiber content. CASA has long advocated for source control measures to eliminate pollutants at the front end of the waste stream as proposed by this bill. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee will hear AB 2379 in April.

Microfiber contamination in the ocean and other water supplies has been a hot topic lately and one that has implications for the wastewater community.  (See the related comments we submitted to the Ocean Protection Council on its draft Ocean Litter Strategy).

Most wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to filter out the microscopic particles of plastic fibers that pass through treatment plants and enter the environment. Like plastic microbeads, studies have shown microplastic fibers attract other chemicals and, when present in the environment, wildlife ingest them. The microplastics and associated chemicals are passed up the food chain.

Bills We Oppose

SB 831 (Wieckowski) would eliminate all fees for accessory dwelling units in all circumstances, including the limited application we negotiated in the previous two bills (SB 1069 and SB 229). The first hearing on SB 831 is in early April in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.  Following this hearing, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee will hear the bill. We’ll let you know in the coming weeks how your agency can help us oppose the bill.

Eliminating fee authority for one particular type of residential construction presents a big problem for local wastewater agencies that assess proportional fees under Propositions 218 and 26. For this reason, we oppose SB 831. We are also leading an opposition coalition of local agency organizations facing the same Prop 218 and 26 fee issues.

Faced with new legislation to address ADUs, CASA has negotiated language for the assessment of connection and capacity fees for the construction of accessory dwelling units.  With the passage of SB 1069 in 2016 and passage of SB 229 in 2017, new fee restrictions are in place that allow for the assessment of connection or capacity fees on a more limited basis.  The new fee requirements have been in effect for cities and counties for a little over a year and for special districts for just three months.  Read our fact sheet for more information about ADU fees.

Bills to Work with Author

SB 1215 (Hertzberg) establishes new authority for the State Water Resources Control Board to require septic to sewer consolidations in specified circumstances. The new authority is modeled after a 2015 bill (SB 88) that granted the Water Board the authority to consolidate drinking water systems.

We will work with the author to provide technical input and feedback as the bill moves forward. We may revisit our position at a future meeting if the bill is amended.  The Senate Environmental Quality and Senate Governance and Finance Committee will hear the bill in April.

AB 2072 (Quirk) establishes a new program at the State Water Resources Control Board dedicated to researching contaminants of emerging concern. 

Assembly Member Quirk chairs the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, which has jurisdiction over CECs and water quality issues.  We will work with Assembly Member Quirk and other stakeholders including WateReuse CA as the bill moves through the Assembly. The Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee will hear the bill March 20.

The CASA State Legislative Committee took active positions on several other bills. Take a look at our bill list to see the legislation we will focus on in the 2018 legislative session.