Advocacy for the needs and interests of mutual water companies is at the heart of CalMutuals mission.
CalMutuals has been successful in advocating against hostile legislation and advancing the interests of mutual water companies.
Members in attendance at the 2019 CalMutuals annual meeting participated in a roundtable discussion to set the legislative agenda for the association for the coming year. Priorities identified include:
- Contaminants of Emerging Concern. CalMutuals will seek partnerships with larger agencies who share a common concern about the ad hoc implementation of safe drinking water standards that is causing unwarranted public panics about water quality in several parts of the state. CalMutuals will also continue efforts to challenge new requirements for testing and reporting requirements for PFAS without a rigorous scientific process.
- AB 5: Worker Status — Employees and Independent Contractors. This new law to take effect in January 2020 reclassifies a large number of independent contractors as employees, entitling expensive labor compliance regulations. Written with companies like Uber or Lyft in mind, the law is being interpreted as applying to many other organizations including water suppliers. CalMutuals will review the bill’s language and seek opportunities to exempt mutual water companies (small systems with 20 or less) from impacts.
- SB 775: Mutual Water Company Tax Exempt Status. CalMutuals will continue efforts to secure California’s recognition of 501(c)(12) tax-exempt status for mutual water companies. Today, mutual water companies are subject to state income tax on reserve funds, grants, income from metered water and other resources, placing an undue burden on the company and impacting resources sorely needed to provide safe and affordable water to our shareholders.
- Joining the SGMA Conversation. CalMutuals will ramp up efforts to ensure that mutual water company interests are addressed in Sustainable Groundwater Management Agency activities. As currently implemented, most mutual water companies have been engaged as non-voting participants in Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) across the state — a tenuous status at odds with their role in the community.
- CDAG — Point-of-Use Devices. CalMutuals will advocate for requirements that address cost and liability issues for small systems that identify point-of-use devices in shareholder households as the best available mechanism to address contaminants.
Bills of interest
CalMutuals tracks a variety of bills related to water companies. We’ve consolidated the bills (and our position on the bills) into a quick list for your review. Member login is required!