Government Finance and Operations
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Both the Senate and Assembly held floor sessions nearly every day last week. Below is a list of the bills they passed to the other house (relevant to the Government Finance and Operations subject area), and the one that was not voted upon and is therefore dead. These are in addition to bills passed earlier in the year and those held in policy committee or on the Appropriations Suspense File.
AB 1662 (Portantino) – Support – Disaster relief for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco, and Siskiyou Counties.
AB 1690 (Chesbro) – Support – Disaster relief for Humboldt County.
AB 1718 (Blumenfield) – Support – Recently amended to reinstate the Senior Citizens and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Postponement Law. CSAC has been working closely with the author’s office and the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors to find a way to reinstate this program, which the state cut last year for budget savings. The group has been working to make sure the program can cost the state’s General Fund nothing, be fiscally viable, and keep those the program benefitted in their homes. The program allows seniors and certain citizens with disabilities to defer their property tax payments until they no longer own the house.
AB 2136 (V. Manuel Perez) – Support – Disaster relief for Imperial County.
AB 2531 (Fuentes) – Pending – Adds broad authority for redevelopment agencies to undertake “economic development.”
SB 1140 (Yee) – Pending – Implements Election Day registration. Amended last week to remove many of the more onerous requirements on counties, and now only requires service to be available at permanent offices of county elections officials.
SB 1102 (Liu) – Support – Allows legislative vacancy elections to be held entirely by mail, at Board of Supervisors’ discretion.
AB 1955 (De La Torre) – Oppose
As Amended on April 12, 2010
CSAC has taken an oppose position on AB 1955, Assembly Member Hector De La Torre’s bill that amends the code section relating to incompatible offices. Counties are concerned about the unintended consequences of amending the common law ban on incompatible offices that has guided decision-making bodies in this state for more than a hundred years.
Specifically, AB 1955 amends the law that bans the holding of two incompatible offices to include offices or bodies in which both entities have the power of eminent domain, the power to set fees or levy taxes, or the authority to sue or be sued.
While counties are supportive of efforts to ensure accountability, integrity, and the highest ethical standards for those who serve the public in local elected office, AB 1955 changes what was a widely understood doctrine of common law to an extent that makes traditional practice less clear. Many county supervisors also sit on regional or countywide district boards, commissions, joint powers authorities, and other local governing entities with their elected colleagues from other public governing bodies. In most instances, these boards have the authority to use eminent domain, to set fees or impose taxes within the same jurisdiction, or to sue or be sued. We are concerned that, because AB 1955 substantially amends current law, legitimate government service could be swept in.
The Senate Local Government Committee will consider AB 1955 on Wednesday, June 16.
AB 1717 (de Leon) – Support
As Amended on June 10, 2010
AB 1717, by Assembly Member Kevin de Leon, would authorize local elections officials to develop procedures that would allow voters to opt out of receiving sample ballots and other ballot materials by mail and instead view them by e-mail or on the Internet. CSAC believes the measure is consistent with modern use of the Internet and has the potential to offer considerable cost savings in the administration of elections.
The Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee will consider AB 1717 at its meeting on Tuesday, June 15.
SB 1040 (Padilla) – Support
As Amended on June 10, 2010
SB 1040, by Senator Alex Padilla, would expand the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which encourages deployment of broadband in un- and underserved areas, from $100 million to $225 million. It would also delete the sunset date on the program; the sunset is unnecessary since the program caps the dollar amount.
The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Legislature created CASF in 2007 and 2008 to help fund the expansion of broadband infrastructure into difficult-to-serve areas. The CASF is an important part of closing the digital divide and creating economic opportunities for residents of rural areas.
The Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee will consider SB 1040 at its hearing on Monday, June 14.
Vehicle Registration Amnesty Program
AB 2461 (Emmerson) – Support
As Amended on May 24, 2010
AB 2461, by Assembly Member Bill Emmerson, would extend the current Vehicle License Fee (VLF) amnesty program for kit cars built since 1976 by two years and give the Bureau of Automotive Repairs the authority to carry out their related duties.
CSAC was pleased to support the bill by Assembly Member Emmerson that implemented a VLF amnesty program for so-called kit cars. This bill, AB 2461, would give explicit authority to the Bureau of Automotive Repairs to fulfill their duties under the program, thus making the amnesty program workable. Due to the problems related to implementing the program, it makes sense to extend the sunset date by a year; this will give kit car owners an opportunity to take advantage of the amnesty and come into compliance with the law.
The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee will consider AB 2461 at their hearing on Tuesday, June 15.
SB 1042 (Walters) – Support
As Introduced on February 12, 2010
SB 1042, by Senator Mimi Walters, would repeal the outdated article of law that permits a county’s Board of Supervisors to condemn land and pay for it with general-obligation debt, for the purpose of transferring that land to the federal government for its military purposes.
The United States government has its own powers of eminent domain, and need not rely on counties to acquire property from private owners. It seems highly unlikely that voters in any county would approve by the necessary two-thirds vote the general obligation bond needed to pay private property owners for land the federal government could purchase or condemn for itself. It seems nearly as unlikely that the military will be expanding the number of military bases in California anytime soon, given the number of bases it has closed in recent decades.
The Assembly Local Government Committee will consider SB 1042 at its meeting on Wednesday, June 16.