The final state legislative deadline for the year was October 10th, when Governor Newsom issued his final actions on legislation passed to him during the 2021 legislative session. There were several bills of significant interest to CASA that the Governor signed in the weeks leading up to the final deadline, including the following:
AB 818 (Bloom): Disposable Nonwoven Products Labeling
We are happy to report that AB 818 (Bloom), CASA’s sponsored wipes labeling bill, has been signed by Governor Newsom. It goes into effect on January 1, 2022.
AB 818 requires the manufacturers of all wet wipes products, including all diaper wipes, cosmetic wipes, and surface cleaning wipes, to include on-package “Do Not Flush” warnings and the universal Do Not Flush symbol. The labeling requirements take effect July 1, 2022, and US EPA regulated disinfecting wipes will have an additional year to comply with the law.
Non-compliant Manufacturers may be penalized up to $2500 per day with a maximum violation of $100,000 per non-compliant branded package.
In consultation with CASA, this bill also requires that manufacturers of wipes products conduct mandatory education and outreach to California consumers about the meaning of the Do Not Flush symbol and warning and about the adverse impacts of improperly flushing these products. The campaign materials will be made available to California wastewater agencies to use for their own communications purposes.
CASA has been advocating for the passage of this bill for several years and we are looking forward to shifting our focus to the implementation of the bill requirements in the coming year. Thank you to all of our members who supported the legislation and continue to promote the proper disposal of non-flushable products.
SB 273 (Hertzberg): Stormwater Authority
We are also pleased to announce that the Governor has signed SB 273 (Hertzberg), another CASA co-sponsored bill with California Coast Keepers Alliance, which provides all wastewater treatment agencies the authority to divert, treat and dispose of stormwater and urban runoff.
This bill builds off prior legislation that provided this authority to several agencies on a case-by-case basis. It also affords all existing local protections and requires projects utilizing this authority to be voluntary between all involved entities. We believe this bill strikes the right balance between innovative water management and local control.
SB 323 (Caballero): Water and Sewer Rates: Statute of Limitations
Governor Newsom signed ACWA’s sponsored bill, SB 323 (Caballero), establishing a 120-day statute of limitations for disputing water and sewer rates.
This 120-day statute of limitations has been in place for other utilities for several years. Extending this statute to water and sanitation agencies will allow greater financial stability for agencies that have previously had difficulty planning for lawsuits arising years after adopting rates.
SB 323 gives ratepayers ample time to bring forth challenges while also providing water and sanitation agencies the chance to recover from the fiscal uncertainty induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AB 1200 (Ting): PFAS Ban in Food Packaging, Warning on Cookware
The Governor signed Assembly Member Ting’s bill, AB 1200, which bans the sale of food packaging that contains “intentionally added” PFAS in food packaging. It also requires cookware manufacturers to label their product if it contains chemicals on the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) list of hazardous chemicals and prohibits manufacturers from claiming that cookware is free of a chemical if the chemical belongs to a specific chemical class. Another bill, AB 652 by Assembly Member Laura Friedman was also signed into law and prohibits the sale of juvenile products containing PFAS by July 2023. These two bills represent significant progress toward the goal of reducing the sources of PFAS in our environment, and we appreciate our partners in the NGO community that we worked with in getting this legislation passed.
SB 619 (Laird): Organics Diversion Enforcement
Governor Newsom signed SB 619 (Laird), which creates a process at CalRecycle for local jurisdictions to demonstrate that they have made a reasonable effort to comply with SB 1383’s organic waste recycling requirements, in advance of any enforcement action. This bill is intended to provide relief to local governments who faced severe economic shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic that has created challenges for getting into compliance with SB 1383 requirements.