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SB-480 Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: rules: inappropriate conduct.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/15/2021 09:00 PM
SB480:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 15, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 10, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 480


Introduced by Senator Stern

February 17, 2021


An act to add Section 1798.138 to the Civil Code, relating to platform companies. An act to amend Section 126.7 of, and to add Section 14 to, the Metropolitan Water District Act (Chapter 209 of the Statutes of 1969), relating to water.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 480, as amended, Stern. Platform companies: content management: negative externalities: report. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: rules: inappropriate conduct.
The Metropolitan Water District Act provides for the creation of metropolitan water districts and specifies the powers and purposes of a district. The act requires the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to establish and operate an Office of Ethics and adopt rules relating to internal disclosure, lobbying, conflicts of interest, contracts, campaign contributions, and ethics for application to its board members, officers, and employees.
This bill would require the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to adopt rules relating to inappropriate conduct, as defined, by board members, officers, and employees. By imposing an additional requirement on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the bill would create a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Existing law, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), grants a consumer various rights with respect to personal information, as defined, that is collected or sold by a business, as defined, and also establishes, as approved by the voters as Proposition 24 at the November 3, 2020, statewide general election, the California Privacy Protection Agency and vests it with full administrative power, authority, and jurisdiction to implement and enforce the CCPA.

This bill would require a platform company, as described, to report annually to the Department of Justice by April 1 of each year prescribed information relating to content management and the negative externalities associated with the platform company’s business activities. The bill would require the platform company to also report that information to the Legislature and the agency.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 14 is added to the Metropolitan Water District Act (Chapter 209 of the Statutes of 1969), to read:

Sec. 14.

 “Inappropriate conduct” means any conduct toward others that is physical, verbal, or visual based on or because of sex, gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, age for 40 years of age and over, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital status, military or veteran status, medical condition, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal employment law when the conduct reasonably would be considered inappropriate for the workplace.

SEC. 2.

 Section 126.7 of the Metropolitan Water District Act (Chapter 209 of the Statutes of 1969), as added by Section 2 of Chapter 415 of the Statutes of 1999, is amended to read:

Sec. 126.7.
 (a) The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California shall establish and operate an Office of Ethics and adopt do both of the following:
(1) Adopt rules relating to internal disclosure, lobbying, conflicts of interest, contracts, campaign contributions, and ethics for application to its board members, officers, and employees consistent with the intent and spirit of the laws and regulations of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, the Fair Political Practices Commission, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
(2) Adopt rules relating to inappropriate conduct by board members, officers, and employees.
(b) The rules described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall address, and seek to avoid potential ethical abuses relating to, all of the following matters:
(1) The direct and indirect business relationships between board members, contractors, and vendors, and between board members and officers or employees of member public agencies.
(2) The solicitation of campaign contributions by board members, officers, or employees and the receipt of contributions from bidders, contractors, or subcontractors.
(3) Public notice and approval procedures for contracts of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.
(c) (1) The office shall operate as an independent entity that is not subject to political influence and shall be staffed with professional, qualified persons.
(2) The office shall adopt the rules described in subdivision (a) for approval by the board, educate the board, staff, contractors, and subcontractors concerning those rules, and shall investigate complaints concerning the violation of those rules.
(3) The office shall adopt procedures for protecting the confidentiality of sources, the job security of “whistle blowers,” and the due process rights of the accused.
(d) Subject to paragraph (3) of subdivision (c), the office shall make available to the public the results of the investigations that it undertakes.
(e) The office shall propose, and the board shall adopt, a schedule of penalties for violations of the rules described in subdivision (a) by board members, officers, staff, or contractors.
(f) For any association of individuals or entities that includes board members, officers, or employees of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California or of a member public agency of that district that is known by a name other than the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California or the name of a member public agency of the district, the rules of ethics shall prohibit any association structure or identification that is likely to mislead the public as to the association’s true identity, its source of funding, or its purpose.
(g) Nothing in this section prohibits the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a member public agency of that district, or a board member, officer, or employee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California or of a member public agency of the district, from participating in, or providing funding in a clearly identifiable way for, an association formed for the purpose of undertaking legitimate activities, including, but not limited to, advocating on behalf of that association before a local agency, the Legislature, or the United States Congress.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.
SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the Legislature for major social media platforms to account for, and mitigate, negative externalities from their business activities on the public health, democratic security, mental health, violence, extremism, and other impacts on the people of California.

SEC. 2.Section 1798.138 is added to the Civil Code, to read:
1798.138.

(a)As used in this section, “platform” means any internet website or electronic or digital networking service or account that provides for the posting, display, or exchange of information, including, but not limited to, social media internet websites or other internet websites featuring videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or internet website profiles or locations.

(b)A platform company that, in combination with each subsidiary and affiliate of the service, has 25,000,000 or more unique monthly visitors or users for a majority of the preceding 12 months, shall report to the Department of Justice by April 1, 2022, and by that date each year thereafter, the following information:

(1)The amount of money, labor hours, and other efforts expended to prevent, mitigate the effects of, and remove potentially harmful content.

(2)Any internal accounting of the negative externalities associated with the platform company’s business activities.

(3)Quantified statistics on how much content is being reviewed, how much content is targeted for removal, and how much content is actually removed due to breach of terms-of-service agreement issues or other issues.

(4)The categories the platform places content into that the platform targets for removal and the corresponding number of postings that fall into each category.

(c)A platform company shall also report the information required by subdivision (b) to the Legislature and the California Privacy Protection Agency.