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AB-1514 Excavations: subsurface installations: violations.(2011-2012)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  May 09, 2012
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 01, 2012
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 10, 2012

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1514


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal, Dickinson

January 13, 2012


An act to amend Section 4216.6 of the Government Code, and to add Section 565 to the Public Utilities Code, relating to excavations.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1514, as amended, Bonnie Lowenthal. Excavations: subsurface installations: violations.
Existing law generally requires any person planning to conduct an excavation to contact a regional notification center prior to excavation, and, if practical, to delineate the areas to be excavated. Existing law authorizes the Attorney General, a district attorney, or the state or a local agency that issued a permit to excavate to bring an action for the enforcement of a civil penalty against an operator or excavator who negligently or knowingly and willfully violates these and related provisions.
This bill would increase the maximum amounts for civil penalties that may be assessed for negligent or knowing and willful violations, and would specify what are separate violations for purposes of assessing civil penalties. The bill would provide that authorize, upon receipt of an investigation report prepared by the Public Utilities Commission or an operator, an action may be brought by the Attorney General or the district attorney to bring an action in the name of the people of the State of California for the enforcement of those civil penalties. The bill would also permit authorize the Public Utilities Commission or an operator to provide an investigation report to the local or state agency that issued the permit to excavate, and would permit authorize the local or state agency to take action to assess those penalties.
The bill would require the commission to include a summary of any damage reported to the commission and of any investigation undertaken in a specified annual report to the Governor and the Legislature.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because the provisions of this bill are within the act and require action by the commission to implement its requirements, a violation of these provisions would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 4216.6 of the Government Code is amended to read:

4216.6.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), and in addition to all other penalties, any an operator or excavator that negligently violates any a requirement of this article is subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for the first violation, and not more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each subsequent violation.
(2) In addition to all other penalties, any an operator or excavator that knowingly and willfully violates any a requirement of this article is subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for the first violation, and not more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) for each subsequent knowing and willful violation.
(3) (A) Each violation of a separate requirement of this chapter is a separate violation that is subject to civil penalty pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2).
(B) Each day that a violation of a separate requirement of this chapter takes place is a separate violation that is subject to civil penalty pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2).
(C) Multiple separate violations as specified in this paragraph arising from a single excavation performed shall each only be subject to the maximum civil penalty for a first violation if the operator or excavator has not previously been subject to a civil penalty pursuant to this section.
(4) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this article, this section is not intended to does not affect any civil remedies otherwise provided by law for personal injury or for property damage, including any damage to subsurface installations, nor is this section intended to does this section create any new civil remedies for those injuries or that damage.
(5) This article shall not be construed to does not limit any other provision of law granting governmental immunity to state or local agencies or to impose any liability or duty of care not otherwise imposed by law upon any a state or local agency.
(b) (1) Upon receipt of an investigation report prepared by the Public Utilities Commission or an operator, an action may be brought by the Attorney General or the district attorney in the name of the people of the State of California for the enforcement of the civil penalty pursuant to this section. Alternatively, the Public Utilities Commission or an operator may provide an investigation report to the local or state agency that issued the permit to excavate and the local or state agency may take action to assess a civil penalty pursuant to this section. If penalties are collected as a result of a civil suit brought by the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a state or local agency that issued a permit to excavate, for collection of those civil penalties, the penalties imposed shall be paid to the prosecuting agency. If more than one agency is involved in enforcement, the penalties imposed shall be apportioned among them in a manner that will fairly offset the relative costs incurred by the agencies in collecting these fees.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to This section does not provide additional jurisdiction to the Public Utilities Commission.

SEC. 2.

 Section 565 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

565.
 (a) Subject to Section 583, the commission may provide the Attorney General, the district attorney for the county in which the damage occurred, the local or state agency that issued the permit to excavate, or the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a copy of an investigation report to take enforcement action pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 4216.6 of the Government Code.
(b) The commission shall include a summary of any damage reported to the commission and of any investigation undertaken in the report submitted to the Governor and Legislature pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 321.6.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.