Today's Law As Amended


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SB-199 Public Utilities Commission: Office of the Safety Advocate.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 309.8 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

309.8.
 (a) There is hereby established within the commission the Office of the Safety Advocate to advocate for the continuous, cost-effective improvement of the safety management and safety performance of public utilities.
(b) The office shall promote public utility safety by doing all of the following:
(1) Advocating, as a party to commission proceedings and on behalf of the interests of public utility customers, for effective public utility safety management and infrastructure improvements and for the transparency of safety information, including, but not limited to, information relating to past performance.
(2) Informing the official record on safety-related risks in applicable commission proceedings and assisting the commission in its efforts to hold public utilities accountable for their safe operation.
(3) Conducting safety trainings for commission staff to bolster the safety management policies and safety culture at the commission.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 309.9 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

309.9.
 (a) The commission shall annually recommend improvements to its safety management policy and procedures and its safety culture, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Improvements to overhaul and reform commission procedures to implement safety-related initiatives and requirements more efficiently.
(2) Improvements based upon gap analysis of the commission’s safety structure and programs against a safety management system framework in order to assess the existence and maturity of existing safety elements.
(3) Improvements based upon evaluation of high-risk industry models to compare against the commission’s safety structure and processes.
(4) Improvements based upon assessing the impact and retention of commission staff safety trainings and making recommendations to improve such trainings.
(b) The executive director shall report the commission’s findings and recommendations pursuant to subdivision (a) directly to a subcommittee of the commission.
(c) The commission may contract with an independent entity to audit the effectiveness of the commission’s safety performance pursuant to this section. The hiring of an independent entity shall not relieve commissioners nor managers from responsibility for safety. It is the intent of the Legislature that the requirements of this section provide accountability for the commission’s safety management system and safety culture. It is the further intent of the Legislature that safety knowledge and accountability are to be shared throughout the commission.

SEC. 3.

 Section 911.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

911.5.
 (a) The commission shall annually provide the following information to the chairperson of the appropriate policy committee of each house of the Legislature:
(1) The actions taken by the commission in response to recommended improvements to the commission’s safety management policy and procedures and its safety culture made pursuant to Section 309.9.
(2) The impact of commission safety trainings, with appropriate assessments, surveys, and interviews of staff pertaining to their understanding and implementation of the commission’s safety management system and safety culture.
(b) On or before February 1 of each year, the Office of the Safety Advocate shall provide the following information to the appropriate policy committee of each house of the Legislature:
(1) The actions taken by the office to recommend improvements to public utility safety management policy and procedures and safety culture.
(2) The proceedings in which the office participated and a brief description of the testimony it filed.