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SB-759 Elections: vote by mail ballots.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 09/08/2017 09:00 PM
SB759:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  September 08, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  April 19, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 759


Introduced by Senator McGuire

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Sections 3723.5, 3724, 3724.1, 3724.6, and 3726 of the Public Resources Code, relating to wells. An act to amend Section 3019 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 759, as amended, McGuire. Wells: fees and indemnity bonds. Elections: vote by mail ballots.
Existing law requires an elections official, upon receipt of a vote by mail ballot, to compare the signature on the identification envelope with either the signature appearing on the voter’s affidavit of registration, or the signature appearing on a form issued by an elections official that contains the voter’s signature and that is part of the voter’s registration record. Existing law provides that, if the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted.
This bill would eliminate the prohibition on counting the ballot and would instead require the elections official to offer the voter an opportunity to verify his or her signature. By increasing the duties of local election officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

Existing law requires a person who acquires the ownership or operation of a well or wells, within 30 days of after acquiring the well or wells, to file with the State Oil and Gas Supervisor an individual indemnity bond in the sum of $25,000 for each well acquired or a blanket indemnity bond of $100,000 for any number of wells acquired.

This bill would require that person to file with the supervisor a financial assurance estimate and individual indemnity bond for each well acquired, with supporting data assessing the true cost of total completion and remediation of each well and well site upon cessation of operation or an individual indemnity bond in the sum of $100,000 for each well acquired.

Existing law establishes fees for the drilling of certain shallow geothermal wells of $25 per well or $200 per program, whichever is less. Existing law requires that fee to be deposited in the Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administrative Fund and to be available upon appropriation exclusively for the supervision of geothermal resource wells.

This bill would increase those fees to $100 per well or $500 per program, whichever is less. The bill would additionally make the revenue generated by these fees available upon appropriation for the plugging and abandonment of any geothermal well deemed deserted.

Existing law requires the owner or operator of any other geothermal well to pay the appropriate fees before commencing the original drilling of a geothermal well or the redrilling of an abandoned well.

This bill would delete those fees.

Existing law authorizes a person who engages in the drilling, redrilling, deepening, maintaining, or abandoning of a well to file with the supervisor one bond for $100,000 to cover the person’s operations in the state in lieu of an individual indemnity bond for each of the person’s operations.

This bill would increase that bond amount to $1,000,000.

This bill would include a change in state statute that would result in a taxpayer paying a higher tax within the meaning of Section 3 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution, and thus would require for passage the approval of 23 of the membership of each house of the Legislature.

Vote: TWO_THIRDSMAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NOYES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 3019 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

3019.
 (a) Upon receipt of a vote by mail ballot, the elections official shall compare the signature on the identification envelope with either of the following to determine if the signatures compare:
(1) The signature appearing on the voter’s affidavit of registration or any previous affidavit of registration of the voter.
(2) The signature appearing on a form issued by an elections official that contains the voter’s signature and that is part of the voter’s registration record.
(b) In comparing signatures pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official may use facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with the law.
(c) (1) If upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant to subdivision (a) the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.
(2) If upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant to subdivision (a) the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the rejection shall be written on the face of the identification envelope. elections official shall offer the voter an opportunity to verify his or her signature.
(d) The variation of a signature caused by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both, shall not be grounds for the elections official to determine that the signatures do not compare.
(e) In comparing signatures pursuant to this section, an elections official may use signature verification technology. If signature verification technology determines the signatures do not compare, the elections official shall not reject the ballot unless he or she visually examines the signatures and verifies that the signatures do not compare.
(f) (1) (A) Notwithstanding any other law, if an elections official determines that a voter has failed to sign the identification envelope, the elections official shall not reject the vote by mail ballot if the voter does any of the following:
(i) Signs the identification envelope at the office of the elections official during regular business hours before 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election.
(ii) Before 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election, completes and submits an unsigned ballot statement in substantially the following form:
“UNSIGNED BALLOT STATEMENT
I,, am a registered voter of __________ County,
State of California. I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I requested and returned a vote by mail ballot and that I have not and will not vote more than one ballot in this election. I understand that if I commit or attempt any fraud in connection with voting, or if I aid or abet fraud or attempt to aid or abet fraud in connection with voting, I may be convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years. I understand that my failure to sign this statement means that my vote by mail ballot will be invalidated.
Voter’s Signature
Address”
(iii) Before the close of the polls on election day, completes and submits an unsigned ballot statement, in the form described in clause (ii), to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box.
(B) If timely submitted, the elections official shall accept any completed unsigned ballot statement. Upon receipt of the unsigned ballot statement, the elections official shall compare the voter’s signature on the statement in the manner provided by this section.
(i) If the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall attach the unsigned ballot statement to the identification envelope and deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.
(ii) If the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted.
(C) An elections official may use methods other than those described in subparagraph (A) to obtain a voter’s signature on an unsigned identification envelope.
(2) Instructions shall accompany the unsigned ballot statement in substantially the following form:
“READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE COMPLETING THE STATEMENT. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS MAY CAUSE YOUR BALLOT NOT TO COUNT.
1. In order to ensure that your vote by mail ballot will be counted, your statement should be completed and returned as soon as possible so that it can reach the elections official of the county in which your precinct is located no later than 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election.
2. You must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s Signature).
3. Place the statement into a mailing envelope addressed to your local elections official. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed statement to the elections official. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed and that the address of the elections official is correct.
4. Alternatively, you may submit your completed statement by facsimile transmission to your local elections official, or submit your completed statement to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box before the close of the polls on election day.
(3) An elections official shall include the unsigned ballot statement and instructions described in this subdivision on his or her Internet Web site, and shall provide the elections official’s mailing address and facsimile transmission number on the Internet Web page containing the statement and instructions.
(g) A ballot shall not be removed from its identification envelope until the time for processing ballots. A ballot shall not be rejected for cause after the identification envelope has been opened.

SEC. 2.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
SECTION 1.Section 3723.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
3723.5.

Any person who acquires the ownership or operation of any well or wells, whether by purchase, transfer, assignment, conveyance, exchange, or otherwise, shall, within 30 days after acquiring the well or wells, file with the supervisor a financial assurance estimate and individual indemnity bond for each well acquired, with supporting data assessing the true cost of total completion and remediation of each well and well site upon cessation of operation. In lieu of the financial assurance estimate and individual indemnity bond in accordance with that estimate, an operator may file with the supervisor an individual indemnity bond in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each well acquired. The bond shall be stated in substantially the language set forth in Section 3725.

SEC. 2.Section 3724 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
3724.

(a)The owner or operator of any well, before commencing the original drilling of a well or the redrilling of an abandoned well, shall file with the supervisor or the district deputy a written notice of intention to commence drilling. Drilling shall not commence until approval is given by the supervisor or the district deputy. If the supervisor or the district deputy fails to give the owner or operator written response to the notice within 10 working days, the failure shall be considered as an approval of the notice and the notice shall, for the purposes and intents of this chapter, be deemed a written report of the supervisor. The notice shall contain the following:

(1)The location and elevation of the floor of the proposed derrick.

(2)The number or other designation by which the well shall be known. The number or designation shall be subject to the approval of the supervisor.

(3)The owner’s or operator’s estimate of the depths between which production will be attempted.

(4)Other pertinent data as the supervisor may require.

(b)After the completion of any well, this section shall also apply, as far as may be, to the deepening or redrilling of the well, or any operation involving the plugging of the well, or any operations permanently altering in any manner the casing of the well. The number or designation by which any well heretofore drilled has been known, and the number or designation specified for any well in a notice filed as required by this section, shall not be changed without first obtaining a written consent of the supervisor.

SEC. 3.Section 3724.1 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
3724.1.

(a)An owner or operator may submit to the supervisor for approval a written program to drill a shallow well or wells for temperature-gradient monitoring purposes. In order to qualify under this section, a program shall contain not more than 25 wells and the maximum total depth of each of these wells shall not exceed 250 feet. Each program submitted for approval shall include all of the following:

(1)Well numbers.

(2)Well locations and elevations.

(3)Geologic interpretation of the area under investigation, including any known or inferred temperature data.

(4)Any other data as may be required by the supervisor.

(b)The fee required to be filed for the drilling of these shallow wells shall be one hundred dollars ($100) per well or five hundred dollars ($500) per program, whichever is less. The fee shall be deposited in the Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administrative Fund, and shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, exclusively for processing of geothermal program applications, regulatory oversight of these shallow wells, and the plugging and abandonment of any well deemed deserted pursuant to Section 3755.

SEC. 4.Section 3724.6 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
3724.6.

The annual well fee established in accordance with Section 3724.5 shall be made payable to the Treasurer. The proceeds from the annual well fees shall be deposited in the Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administrative Fund, and shall be available for appropriation exclusively for the supervision of geothermal resource wells.

SEC. 5.Section 3726 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
3726.

Any person who engages in the drilling, redrilling, deepening, maintaining, or abandoning of one or more wells at any time, may file with the supervisor one bond for one million dollars ($1,000,000) to cover all his or her operations in drilling, redrilling, deepening, maintaining, or abandoning of any of his or her wells in this state in lieu of an individual indemnity bond for each such operation as required by Section 3725 or 3725.5. The bond shall be executed by such person, as principal, and by an authorized surety company, as surety, and shall be in substantially the same language and upon the same conditions as provided in Section 3725, except as to the difference in the amount.