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CSLSA Legislative Committee update: 9/28/15

        The CSLSA Legislation chair continually monitors the State Legislature for the introduction of new bills or laws that relate to lifeguards.
        After three floor votes (two in the Assembly; both 77-0 and one in the Senate 40-0), AB 489, the Bill that adds Ocean Lifeguards to those eligible to receive the State of California Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor was signed into law by Governor Brown on Sept. 28, 2015. The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
        The impetus for writing AB-489 was the line-of-duty death of Newport Beach Lifeguard Ben Carlson. The enacting of this legislation will continue Ben's legacy. This bill also authorizes the United States Lifesaving Association to be part of the process that suggests Medal of Valor candidates, who are then selected by the Governor, and are recognized by the Governor during an official ceremony.
        Additionally, Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 10 (ACR-10) was passed and proclaimed May 17-23, 2015 as Emergency Medical Services week.
        AB-172 is currently with the Governor for his signature. The law, which specifically includes EMT's and Lifeguards to an expanded list of health care workers, makes it a crime to assault these health care providers while performing emergency aid in the field. It expands the law which previously covered Emergency Department personnel.

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


Health & Safety A.C.R. 10 This measure would proclaim the week of May 17, 2015 through May 23, 2015, as Emergency Medical Services Week. Go to to see complete proposal. (ACR 10) *Status: Adopted on 6/11/15; filed with Secretary of State 6/16/15.
Health & Safety and Penal A.B. 172 An act to add Section 1317.5a to the Health & Safety Code and to amend Sections 241 and 243 of the Penal Code, relating to hospital emergency departments. The law, which specifically includes EMT's and Lifeguards to an expanded list of health care workers, would have made it a crime to assault these health care providers while performing emergency aid in the field - and increase jail time. It expands the law which previously covered Emergency Department personnel. The Governor explained his veto: "Emergency Rooms are overcrowded and often chaotic. I have great respect for the work done by emergency room staff and I recognize the daunting challenges they face every day. If there were evidence that an additional six months in county jail (three months once good-time credits are applied) would enhance the safety of these workers or serve as a deterrent, I would sign this bill. I doubt it would do either. We need to find more creative ways to protect the safety of these critical workers. This bill isn’t the answer." Go to to see complete proposal. (AB 172) *Status: INACTIVE. VETOED by Governor 10/10/15.
Labor A.B. 1451 An act to amend Section 4850 of the Labor Code, relating to workers' compensation. The bill would have added full-time lifeguards employed by the City of Oceanside to the list of employees who are entitled up to one year of leave, paid at full salary, without payroll tax deductions, if they suffer an illness or injury that arises out of their job duties. The Governor explained his veto: "Recent data indicates public employer’s costs related to this disability leave benefit have increased at an alarming rate. These figures give me pause to extend this benefit further in state law. If the City of Oceanside wishes to offer full salary in lieu of temporary liability for one year to their regular full-time lifeguards, they are free to do so by means of the collective bargaining precess process. Eligibility for this benefit is best left to the City of Oceanside, not the state, to determine." Go to to see complete proposal. (AB 1451) *Status: INACTIVE. VETOED by Governor 10/12/15.
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: ACTIVE. Awaiting hearing in Committee on Insurance. 7/8/15.

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.
New Law!
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. Go to
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)
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.