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Existing law provides that certain peace officers, firefighters, and other specified state and local public employees are entitled to a leave of absence without loss of salary while disabled by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment.

The leave of absence, or “4850 time” is in lieu of temporary disability payments or maintenance allowance payments otherwise payable under the workers’ compensation system.

Assembly bill AB-346 would have added police officers employed by a school district, county office of education, or community college district to the list of public employees entitled to a leave of absence without loss of salary, in lieu of temporary disability payments, while disabled by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment.

Without passage of AB 346, if a local public agency wants to grant employees certain benefits of employment, it is able to accomplish that goal without need for a statutory change. In fact, the City of Los Angeles has provided “4850-like” benefits to a range of employees without need of a statute mandating the benefit for those employees. Thus some argued that the collective bargaining process, and not legislation, may be the better approach to enhancing the benefits of this class of employee.

According to the author, school peace officers face the same inherent dangers as other safety officers, and should receive the same benefits. In particular, the author notes that school district police officers employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District already receive this benefit. The author notes that in 2014, there were an estimated 700 peace officers employed by school districts and community college districts, and that 410 of these worked for Los Angeles Unified.

Thus, approximately 60% of school police officers already have this benefit.

The proposed law was widely supported by at least 13 organizations or pubic employee unions, and there was no organized opposition to the law.

The California Legislature sent Newsom 1,042 bills this year, with more than 70% of them landing on his desk in the state Capitol around the time that lawmakers adjourned last month.

When the dust settled on Sunday, the legal deadline to act, Newsom’s veto rate was looking as if it would be quite low until he rejected 68 of the 80 bills left to consider in the final hours this Sunday, including AB 346. Newsom said most of the bills he vetoed on Sunday were because of money concerns.