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CSLSA Legislative Committee update: November 30, 2016

The CSLSA Legislation Committee continually monitors the California State Legislature for the introduction of new laws--or the amending of existing ones--that are relevant to lifeguards, EMT's, firefighters, peace officers or other emergency personnel. Additionally, the committee will actively provide pertinent information about lifeguards and beach safety to local and state lawmakers who are sponsoring legislation that could impact, either positively or negatively, the profession of lifeguarding.

Current Legislation Impacting Lifeguards

There are currently a number of Bills being proffered by Legislators with language incorporating - and regulating - the growing existence of drones in society, in general, and specifically their use by civilians during emergency situations.

        AB 1680 is now law! This bill now includes a person who operates or uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone and impedes in an emergency operation. It amends the bill to include lifeguards. A person who impedes in the lifeguards' performance of their duties in coping with the emergency is guilty of a misdemeanor. Effective Jan. 1, 2017.

        The proposed SB 164, which would have added an additional year of severe injury leave for many classes of public employees including Lifeguards of LA County and San Diego, sailed through the Assembly and Senate with landslide "yes" votes. However, the Governor vetoed it on Sept. 30, 2016. There is a slimmer of hope however, as it went back to the Senate in consideration of the Governor's Veto pending.

        AB 2404 was signed into law by the Governor on Aug. 26, 2016. It simplifies retirement options for members of CAL PERS by combining the many offerings for easier understanding.

        Among other amendments, AB 1719 shields any CPR instructor from civil liability from the use or instruction of CPR to students. It was signed into law by the Governor on Sept. 24, 2016.

        SB-826/AB-1598 - Contained within the more than 700-page California Budget Act of 2016, are numerous budget line items for the Department of Parks and Recreation benefitting lifeguards/peace officers with appropriations for capitol improvements at several State Parks/Beaches, including $8.3 million for construction of a Lifeguard Operations Headquarters at El Capitan State Beach as part of the Prop 84 Bond Measure passed in 2013. (The LG HQ is budgeted at $10.7 million; completion in 2019). Additionally, $162 million was appropriated for DPR employee compensation increases and $110 million for PERS funding. Also, Boating Safety and Enforcement was reduced by $11.5 million. The 2016 Budget was signed by Governor Brown on June 27, 2016, and covers 2016-2017 appropriations.

        ACR 1717 - Declares that May 15 to May 21, 2016 is "Emergency Medical Services Week."
        SCR 164 -   Declares that October 15, 2016 is "California Firefighters Memorial Day."

        Specialty License Plates -- Draft Legislation has been written for the CSLSA sponsored Specialty License Plates acknowledging and supporting California Lifeguards, to change the appropriate Vehicle Code section that would instruct the Department of Motor Vehicles to establish the CSLSA Specialty License Plate, (as the DMV calls it) and an avenue for processing orders. We are awaiting the adoption by CSLSA of an approved image for use on the License Plates (the topic was discussed in the Membership Committee meeting during the Fall, 2015 CSLSA Board of Directors meeting) before presenting the proposed Legislation to targeted state lawmakers for committee hearings and eventual voting by the California State Senate and Assembly in order to create a new law that can be signed by the Governor.

State of California Court Decision:

James Perry et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants v. East Bay Regional Park District et al., Defendants and Respondents. The opinion of the court establishes new points of law relevant to lifeguards and agencies providing lifeguard services including: (1) A swim fee charged for lifeguarded swimming does not "carry over" to hazardous recreational activity ... since that would defeat the intent of the statute. (2) A lifeguard at a public entity lake has the discretion to go off-duty without clearing the lake as long as he or she takes reasonable precautions to warn patrons of that fact. Click here to view the court proceedings.

Bills and Proposed Legislation:

The following bills (below) are being considered. Additional items of interest can be brought to the attention of the California Surf Lifesaving Association by clicking


Labor S.B. 559 An act to amend Section 4850 of the Labor Code, relating to Workers' Compensation. Existing law (Labor Code 4850) provides that certain peace officers, firefighters, and other specified state and local public employees are entitled to a leave of absence without loss of salary while disabled by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment. This bill would extend this leave of absence entitlement to lifeguards employed year round on a regular, full-time basis by the City of Imperial Beach and City of San Diego. Go to to see complete proposal. (SB 559) *Status: INACTIVE. Set for first hearing canceled at request of author. 7/8/15.
Penal A.B. 1959 An act to amend Section 245 of the Penal Code, relating to crimes. Topic: Assault on an emergency medical technician. This bill would amend existing law to include 'assaults on EMT's engaged in performance of duties...' The current law makes it a crime and specifies terms of imprisonment for assault on a peace officer or firefighter when the person knows or reasonably should know that the person is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties. This would add the words "emergency medical technician". By increasing the penalty for a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. Go to to see complete proposal. (AB 1959) *Status: ACTIVE. In ASM Appropriations committee: Held under submission. 5/27/16.

Proposed California legislation is listed by House number (starting with AB for Assembly or SB for Senate). While an effort is made to keep the site current with the latest version, interested parties are encouraged to review the actual legislation on-line by going to the official site for California legislative information at Click on the Bill Information button, enter the bill number and then press search. One can also enter keywords, such as lifeguards, lifesaving, and press search.
Business and Professions Section
Amends Section 25620 relating to alcoholic beverages. Prohibits the possession of an open container in an area or unit of a state park if park has posted an order.
Fish and Game Section
(d) (1)
"...Publicly employed safety personnel, including, but not limited to, lifeguards, marine safety officers, harbor patrol officers, and peace officers, who, while engaged in the performance of their official duties, may remove a trap, buoy, or line located in or near breaking surf or adjacent to a public beach if they believe that the trap poses a public safety hazard. If any of those persons remove a trap, a buoy, or a trap or buoy line, any captured marine life shall be immediately returned to the ocean." (continues with attempt to notify person)
Government Section
Added self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving to hazardous activities. Public entities and public employees are generally not liable to any person who participates in various hazardous recreational activities, including kayaking, surfing, waterskiing, windsurfing, etc..
Government Section
False police reports causing emergency responses by public agencies. Liability and compensation are specific.
Government Section
Public property - employee liability, accidents and injury, public access, natural conditions, public easements and accesses, etc.
Government Section
Explains in detail, provisions of this section, including public beaches and natural conditions and the absence of lifeguards therein.
Government Section
Defines "hazardous recreational activity" and the liability thereof when lifeguards are not provided and warning has been given.
Government Sections
3401, 3402
This bill adds ocean lifeguards to the list of public safety officers eligible to receive the Public Safety Medal of Valor Award and authorize the United States Lifesaving Association to represent ocean lifeguards on the review board. Approved by Governor Sept. 28, 2015. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Government Section
Defines "state peace officer/firefighter member", which includes lifeguards.
Government Section
Defines "local safety member"...which includes lifeguards and lifesaving services.
Government Section
References the "County Employees Retirement Law of 1937, including provisions for employees who become incapacitated by age or long service. Employees are entitled to retirement compensation, death benefit, pension, annuity, or allowance according to the limitations as so described in this section.
Government Section
In a county with a population in excess of 500,000, its permanent employees as defined in this section (includes lifeguards) are hereby classified as employees whose principal duties consist in "active law enforcement", except for the director, asst. director, and deputy director of beaches (unless they previously were included within the classification).
Harbors and Navigation Section
This bill revises provisions regarding the authorization of the State Lands Commission to remove unattended vessels that obstruct traffic or create a hazard to other vessels or property by allowing the Commission to take immediate action, without notice, to remove vessels and expand the circumstances in which that authority may be exercised. (SB 595)
Harbors and Navigation Section
Amends code relating to abandoned vessels on public waterway or public/private property.
Harbors and Navigation Section
This bill would add an additional fee to the required registration fee for vessels. All funds from this fee will be used for eradicating the dreissenid mussel. (AB 2443) Adds Article 1.3 (commencing with Section 675) to Chapter 5 of Division 3.
Health and Safety Section
Provision by state of an EMT centralized registry system, available to the public,with the authority required to submit electronic fingerprints to the Dept. of Justice. (AB 2917)
Health and Safety Section
Each county in the state shall establish an emergency medical care committee, under the county board of supervisors, that will review operations, including emergency medical care and programs of lifesaving first aid techniques, and compile an annual report for the Board and the local EMS agency.
Health and Safety Section
"...local governments, agencies and other organizations shall be encouraged to offer training to assist others at the scene of a medical emergency and to offer training in CPR and lifesaving first aid..."
Health and Safety Section
Defines public swimming pools and the lifeguard services for public pools, along with requirements for personnel responsible for public safety for such pools, and posting of signs if lifeguard service is not provided.
Labor Section
References compensation awarded for skin cancer injury, including full hospital, surgical, and medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits to active lifeguards who are employed for more than three consecutive months in a calendar year.
Labor Section
Provides the right to a "leave of absence" for PERS, LA City ERS, or County Employees Retirement Law of 1937....if disabled by injury or illness during performance of duties...without loss of salary in lieu of temporary disability payments or maintenance allowance payments for period not to exceed one year or until earlier date of retirement or permanent disability pension. Includes lifeguards employed year round on a regular, full-time basis by a county of first class.
Labor Section
References death on duty and the employer's responsibility to provide health benefits to the surviving spouse or minor dependents.
Penal Sections
241, 243
This bill expands the scope of the crime of assault against specified public safety officers to include search and rescue members, as defined, while engaged in the performance of their duties, as specified. (SB 390)
New Law!
This bill now includes a person who operates or uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone and impedes in an emergency operation. It amends the bill to include lifeguards. A person who impedes in the lifeguards' performance of their duties in coping with the emergency is guilty of a misdemeanor. Effective Jan. 1, 2017.
Penal Section
References the scene of an accident and the management. Authority for patient care management shall be determined in accordance with Section 1798.6 of the Health and Safety code.
Penal Section
Provides that law and peace officers, including any publicly employed full-time lifeguard or publicly employed full-time marine safety officer while acting in a supervisory position in the performance of his/her official duties, may close an area where a menace (ex.-flood, storm, fire, earthquake, etc.) exists for the duration thereof and prevent persons not authorized by the lifeguard or officer to enter the area. The local health officer may close the area where the menace exists if the calamity creates an immediate menace to public health. Also includes the charge of misdemeanor to anyone, including news service reps, radio or tv networks, who knowlingly enters a closed area.
Public Resources Section
Defines the Dept. of Parks and Recreation and its control of the state park system and includes definitions and operations of the parks and beaches in state areas.
Public Resources Section
This bill authorizes the Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) to enter into operating agreements with qualified nonprofit organizations to operate a state park unit. (AB 42)
Vehicle Section
References red lights and sirens on vehicles engaged in police, fire and lifesaving services.
Vehicle Section
Defines an emergency vehicle, including lifeguard or lifesaving equipment.
Vehicle Section
Provides that a rescue team, in resuscitating any act or omission, when operating in conjunction with an emergency vehicle, shall impose any liability upon the rescue team.
Vehicle Section
References the operation of emergency vehicles.
Vehicle Section
Defines emergency vehicle permits for fire or law enforcement or for immediate preservation of life or property or for apprehension of law violators, including lifesaving equipment, and includes the requirement that such vehicles display a sign or lettering.
Vehicle Section
..and such vehicles shall be equipped with a resuscitator.
Vehicle Section
9853, 9860, 9863
This bill would add an additional fee to the required registration fee for vessels. All funds from this fee will be used for eradicating the dreissenid mussel. ( AB 2443)

This is not a list of laws to be used for the purpose of law enforcement but rather for the operation of lifesaving entities. These excerpts from the various California Codes are placed here for ease of reference. While every effort is made to insure accuracy, the reader is directed to the web site for the actual text of the statutes. Click on the California Law button and then input the appropriate Code. One can also input keywords, such as lifeguards, lifesaving.