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Where Other New Tech, Innovation Laws Land in IT Landscape

State lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t just focus on broadband and cybersecurity this session. The governor recently signed several other bills of interest to the technology sector that run the gamut from wildfire tech to personal information.

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Broadband and cybersecurity issues weren’t the only sources for bills of interest to the IT sector this legislative session.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also recently signed into law legislation that would bring IT to bear on wildfires, map the accessibility of high-speed Internet, and refine aspects around the Cradle-to-Career Data System. Among the takeaways:

  • AB 172 on human services, from Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, formalizes a reorganization of offices at the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHSA) first suggested by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the proposed 2020-2021 Fiscal Year state budget — integrating the offices of Innovation, Patient Advocate (OPA) and Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) to create the Center for Data Insights and Innovation (CDII). (Work to stand up the center was already underway earlier this year.) The goal has been to build on the agency’s work and to “improve the transparency, efficiency, availability and utilization of data,” while managing data to promote “person-centered, data-driven decision-making and integrated care and services.” AB 172 requires CDII to hold all personal information it obtains confidential and to meet information disclosure requirements “including the development of a comprehensive program regarding the disclosure of information to qualified researchers according to specified data use agreements.” The bill specifies that violating these data use agreements is a misdemeanor — and by creating a new crime, it imposes “a state-mandated local program.” Newsom signed the bill Oct. 8, and as a bill “providing for appropriations related to the budget bill,” it took effect immediately.
  • State Senate Bill 456, from Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, is built on an executive order from Gov. Jerry Brown that created the Forest Management Task Force. It renames that group the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force and requires it — including representatives of the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) — by Jan. 1 to “develop a comprehensive implementation strategy” to achieve the goals in its action plan. The bill drives “innovation and measuring progress in achieving these goals” — goals that would include “an applied research plan” and “a forest data hub to serve as a multiple institutional clearinghouse for supporting, integrating, evaluating and synthesizing reporting and monitoring efforts.”
  • Assembly Bill 41, from Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, aims to further secure and plan for a future with high-speed Internet. Specifically, it requires the California Department of Transportation, as part of projects “funded by a specified item of the Budget Act of 2021” and located in priority areas of the state, “to ensure that construction includes the installation of conduits capable of supporting fiber-optic communication cables.” The bill also requires the California Public Utilities Commission to work with “other relevant state agencies and stakeholders” to maintain and update a “statewide, publicly accessible, and interactive map showing the accessibility of broadband service in the state ... .”
  • SB 169, a postsecondary education trailer bill from state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, builds on statute that created the Cradle-to-Career Data System to connect people and entities with “trusted information and resources, as a source for actionable data and research ... ,“ and to provide better access to tools and services in support of the “education-to-employment pipeline.” This bill requires any data managed by the system and which meets the definition of personal information not be “used or disclosed except for purposes consistent with the act and would require all data to be de-identified before being released to the public.”
  • AB 12 on personal information and Social Security numbers, builds on existing law starting Jan. 1, 2023, that prohibits a state agency “from sending any outgoing United States mail that contains an individual’s social security number unless the number is truncated to its last four digits ... .” This bill instead requires state agencies “as soon as is feasible, but no later than January 1, 2023” to stop sending outgoing mail “ ... that contains the individual’s social security number unless the number is truncated to its last four digits ... .” The bill was an urgency statute and took effect Oct. 5, when Newsom signed it.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.