California Lawmakers OK Bill to Help PG&E Pay for Wildfire Costs

California lawmakers passed legislation to help utility giant PG&E Corp. pay for billions of dollars in potential liabilities from wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country last year.

The state Assembly and Senate approved a wide-ranging plan Friday that includes directing regulators to limit how much PG&E shareholders would cover from the 2017 fires that killed dozens of people. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, who has supported helping PG&E dodge fiscal distress.

FDA Says Coffee Doesn’t Deserve California’s Cancer Risk Warning

The top U.S. regulator of food and health products endorsed a plan by California officials to exempt coffee from a state law that would have made Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and other coffee shops add a cancer warning to cups of joe.

The latest research “does not support a cancer warning for coffee,” Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. Such a label “could mislead consumers to believe that drinking coffee could be dangerous to their health when it actually could provide health benefits,” Gottlieb said. Misleading labeling could also violate federal law, he said.

Statewide Emergency Alerts Bill Passes California Legislature

(TNS) - A bill that would create statewide standards for warning the public about wildfires, floods, earthquakes and other emergencies awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature after both houses of the Legislature voted unanimously to approve it this week.

Senate Bill 833 was put forward by several North Coast lawmakers, including Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, after widespread public criticism about ineffective emergency notifications during last year’s firestorm. The legislation passed Monday in the state Assembly and Tuesday in the state Senate.

California Legislature Passes Bill Aimed Collecting Data and Helping Wildfire Victims

The California Legislature has passed Senate Bill 824, a bill aimed at provided information to the California Department of Insurance related to fire risk information on the residential property policies issued by insurers.

The bill prohibits insurers from canceling or refusing to renew a policy based solely on the fact that the insured structure is located in the area of a declared state of emergency.

Report Shows California Wildfires, Climate Change Altering Insurance Landscape

Insurers may be non-renewing more in wildfire-prone areas of California, sending an increasing number of people to the residual market or to surplus lines insurers.

A report released on Monday shows that market shares of the FAIR Plan, the state’s residual insurance market, and the surplus lines market, are on the rise, as people look for coverage, and look for more affordable coverage.

Dual Climate and Mitigation Plans Get Santa Cruz, Calif., into Action

Santa Cruz, Calif.’s Climate Adaptation Plan looks at storm surge long-term and offers estimates of what the coastline could look like in 2030, 2060 and again in 2100. But combined with the accompanying Hazard Mitigation Plan, it plants the seeds for preparing for the possibilities of a turbulent California.

The city updated its Climate Adaptation Plan from the original version developed in 2011 and this time included a sea-level rise vulnerability assessment that incorporated a social vulnerability aspect, looking at who was vulnerable at different time horizons, mapping those areas. It gives city officials a good idea of who will be vulnerable and when.

California High Court: Workers’ Comp Law Provides Exclusive Remedy in Utilization Review Case

The California Supreme Court issued an opinion today that utilization review physicians cannot be sued for malpractice, upholding established law that the workers’ comp system provides injured employees an exclusive remedy against an employer for compensable work-related injuries.

The court considered the application of workers’ comp exclusivity to claims arising from the utilization review process. Utilization reviewers act on behalf of employers and determine whether the treatment plan recommended for an employee’s injury is medically necessary after consulting a schedule of uniform treatment guidelines.

Federal Government Will Shrink California Beach City’s Flood Zone

A report says a Southern California beach city has persuaded federal officials to exclude about 2,700 coastal properties from updated flood maps, saving homeowners thousands in insurance costs.

The Los Angeles Times reported that as a result, homeowners in parts of Newport Beach would save up to $3,700 each, or $10 million combined, each year in premiums.

Study Looks at Polypharmacy Claims in California Workers’ Comp

A study from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute shows the likelihood that indemnity was paid on a workers’ comp claim increased with the number of concurrent prescriptions the injured worker was on.

Concurrent use of multiple medications to treat one or multiple medical conditions has become prevalent, with up to 10 percent of the U.S. population and up to 30 percent of older adults taking five or more drugs simultaneously, according to the CWCI study.

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