SB 193 - Assisting Employers to Protect Employees

Exposed to Toxic Materials

Introduced by Senator Bill Monning

Click here for a FACT SHEET with details about SB 193.

Click here for a copy of the original bill dated February 7, 2013 and click here for the amended bill dated August 6, 2013.

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Your help is needed. Please write a letter in support of SB 193. Click here for a model letter. Please also share with us a copy of any letter you submit so we can alert you as to what is happening with this legislation. Click here to email your letter or you can fax it to (510) 835-4913.

UPDATE: First Hearing

SB 193 successfully passed its first policy committee. SB 193 was heard in the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday April 23. State Senator Bill Monning gave an opening statement. Dr. Julia Quint then testified in support of the bill. Ricardo Corona also provided a moving testimony. Corona previously worked in a flavorings company where he was exposed to diacetyl which caused bronchiolitis obliterans.  The disease ultimately required a lung transplant. Several groups supported the bill in person: attorney Barry Broad testified on behalf of the California Conference of Machinists, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the United Food & Commercial Workers.  Kazan attorney Fran Schreiberg represented the Labor & Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, Laura Chin represented Clean Water Action, Don Schinske represented the Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association and Scott Bernstein represented the California Employment Lawyers Association.  The bill was opposed by a variety of business and chemical industry groups. Click here for the bill analysis that lists the supporters and opponents of the bill and also summarizes the arguments from each side.  The bill passed successfully out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote. The bill has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  We believe we should not be held up in this fiscal committee as the legislation does not create a cost to government.  When this bill passes, it will actually save money.

UPDATE: Second Hearing - Senate Appropriations committee
SB 193 was sent to the Senate Appropriations committee, but the consultant did not believe it had a fiscal impact.

UPDATE: Senate Floor
On May 28, 2013, the bill passed successfully the State Senate floor by a vote of 21 - 14. There were 4 abstentions. Click here for the bill analysis. Click here for the list of members who voted for and against the bill.

UPDATE: Third Hearing - Assembly Judiciary committee
On June 25, 2013, SB 193 successfully passed out of the Assembly Judiciary committee. The hearing was similar to the one on April 23, but did not include Ricardo Corona. The bills passed successfully out of the committee by a party line vote of 6 to 2. Click here for the bill analysis. Click here for the list of members who voted for and against the bill. One Republican and one Democrat abstained or didn't vote.

UPDATE: Fourth Hearing - Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials committee
On July 2, 2013, SB 193 successfully passed out of the Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials committee. The hearing was similar to the one on April 23 and June 25. Dr. Julia Quint testified in support of the bill. Ricardo Corona did fly up from southern California to testify and his contribution was greatly appreciated. The bill passed successfully out of the committee by a party line vote of 5 to 2. Click here for the bill analysis. Click here for the list of members who voted for and against this bill.

NEXT STEPS: Fifth Hearing - Assembly Appropriations committee
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will have hearing date with the committee on August 14, 2013. We believe we should not be held up in this fiscal committee as the legislation does not create a cost to government. When this bill passes, it will actually save money.

FINAL STEPS: Assembly Floor
Assuming the bill is not held up in the fiscal committee, it will be voted on by the full Assembly some time in August. There are 80 Assembly members. There are 53 Democrats, 25 Republicans and 2 seats are vacant. We need 41 Democrats to win the vote. We cannot assume that our large majority will be sufficient as there are many moderate business oriented Democrats.

FINAL STEP: Governor Brown
Assuming the bill passes the Assembly floor, the Governor will have until October 13 to sign or veto bills.

 

SUPPORT

SUMMARY

SB 193 would require chemical manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, importers and their agents, when requested to do so by the Hazardous Evaluation System and Information service (HESIS or the "repository" - a government agency maintained jointly by the Department of Industrial Relations and the Department of Public Health), and under conditions of confidentiality, to provide HESIS with a) the names and addresses of California employer customers who purchased specified toxic chemicals or commercial products containing specified toxic chemicals, b) the amounts purchased, and c) the proportion of the specified toxic chemical in the mixture, if a mixture.

BACKGROUND

In 1978 the Legislature established HESIS mandating that it provide reliable information to employers and employees on potential hazards to employees of exposure to toxic materials and harmful physical agents and to collect and evaluate related toxicological and edidemiological data. HESIS als recommends to the Chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration when standards should be developed to address potential workplace exposure risks. SB 193 supports HESIS' ability to carry out its mandates.

PROBLEM

In the absence of a robust federal policy on chemicals, California has encountered many difficulties when addressing the exposure of California workers to toxic chemicals. Too often, protection only comes after damaging effects to workers' health have become pervasive. Sharing information about the dangers of serious new or unrecognized health hazards posed by a toxic chemical and about safe substitutes is very difficult when products are used in many different settings. When HESIS obtains new scientific or medical information, it has provided early warnings to various industries concerning prospective hazards, such as alerts warning about cancer, reproductive or developmental harm, and organ system impairment such as serious lung disease.

SOLUTION

SB 193 is a necessary tool so HESIS may effectively implement its existing legislative mandate to provide information of practical use to employers, employees, and other governmental agencies on the hazards of toxic materials used in workplaces. The information will help HESIS identify California workers at risk and increase the efficiency of its program. This bill provides HESIS the authority to obtain needed information and effectively utilize scarce resources by contacting the actual employers or others to whom toxic material is being shipped (the customer lists will be protected from public disclosure as a trade secret). It will allow HESIS to set priorities based on knowing where the largest shipments of greatest concentration are going. Thus HESIS can meet its mandate to provide information about toxic materials, including safe substitutes, so that employers have the infomration they need to protect California workers exposed to those substances as the law already requires. Getting information directly to the employers who need it - and then from the employers to their employees - is an effective approach.

Specifically, SB 193 will: 1) Require certain entities to provide specified customer information (see Summary above);  2) Entitle CDPH to be reimbursed for attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in seeking an injunction to enforce this requirement; and  3) Assure that the customer list would be kept confidential under the California Public Records Act.