Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1391 Forest resources: state responsibility area fire prevention: vegetation management.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.

 Section 4214 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

4214.
 (a) Fire prevention fees collected pursuant to this chapter shall be expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, as follows:
(1) The State Board of Equalization shall retain moneys necessary for the payment of refunds pursuant to Section 4228 and reimbursement of the State Board of Equalization for expenses incurred in the collection of the fee.
(2) The moneys collected, other than those retained by the State Board of Equalization pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be deposited into the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury, and shall be available to the board and the department to expend for fire prevention activities specified in subdivision (d) that benefit the owners of habitable structures within a state responsibility area who are required to pay the fire prevention fee. The amount expended to benefit the owners of habitable structures within a state responsibility area shall be commensurate with the amount collected from the owners within that state responsibility area. All moneys in excess of the costs of administration of the board and the department shall be expended only for fire prevention activities in counties with state responsibility areas.
(b) (1) The fund may also be used to cover the costs of administering this chapter.
(2) The fund shall cover all startup costs incurred over a period not to exceed two years.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the moneys in this fund be fully appropriated to the board and the department each year in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
(d) Moneys in the fund shall be used only for the following fire prevention activities, which shall benefit owners of habitable structures within the state responsibility areas who are required to pay the annual fire prevention fee pursuant to this chapter:
(1) Local assistance grants pursuant to subdivision (e).
(2) Grants to Fire Safe Councils, the California Conservation Corps, or certified local conservation corps for fire prevention projects and activities in the state responsibility areas.
(3) Grants to a qualified nonprofit organization with a demonstrated ability to satisfactorily plan, implement, and complete a fire prevention project applicable to the state responsibility areas. The department may establish other qualifying criteria.
(4) Inspections by the department for compliance with defensible space requirements around habitable structures in state responsibility areas as required by Section 4291.
(5) (A) Loans and grants to persons subject to the annual fire prevention fee pursuant to this chapter for purposes of performing vegetation management as required pursuant to Section 4291.
(B) The director shall only enter into loans and grants pursuant to this paragraph with a person described in subparagraph (A) who is at or below 500 percent of the federal poverty level.
(5) (6)  Public education to reduce fire risk in the state responsibility areas.
(6) (7)  Fire severity and fire hazard mapping by the department in the state responsibility areas.
(7) (8)  Other fire prevention projects in the state responsibility areas, authorized by the board.
(e) (1) The board shall establish a local assistance grant program for fire prevention activities designed to benefit habitable structures within state responsibility areas, including public education, that are provided by counties and other local agencies, including special districts, with state responsibility areas within their jurisdictions.
(2) In order to ensure an equitable distribution of funds, the amount of each grant shall be based on the number of habitable structures in state responsibility areas for which the applicant is legally responsible and the amount of moneys made available in the annual Budget Act for this local assistance grant program.
(f) By January 31, 2015, and annually thereafter, the board shall submit to the Legislature a written report on the status and uses of the fund pursuant to this chapter. The written report shall also include an evaluation of the benefits received by counties based on the number of habitable structures in state responsibility areas within their jurisdictions, the effectiveness of the board’s grant programs, the number of defensible space inspections in the reporting period, the degree of compliance with defensible space requirements, measures to increase compliance, if any, and any recommendations to the Legislature.
(g) (1) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under subdivision (f) is inoperative on January 31, 2017, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (f) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(h) It is essential that this article be implemented without delay. To permit timely implementation, the department may contract for services related to the establishment of the fire prevention fee collection process. For this purpose only, and for a period not to exceed 24 months, the provisions of the Public Contract Code or any other provision of law related to public contracting shall not apply.