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AB-1149 California Environmental Quality Act: record of proceedings.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/23/2019 09:00 PM
AB1149:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 23, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1149


Introduced by Assembly Member Fong

February 21, 2019


An act to add and repeal Section 14521.5 of the Government Code, and to add and repeal Section 21080.40 amend Section 21167.6 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1149, as amended, Fong. California Environmental Quality Act: exemption for transportation safety projects in the County of Kern. record of proceedings.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment.
In an action or proceeding alleging the lead agency violated the act, the act requires the lead agency to prepare and certify the record of proceedings and requires the parties to pay any reasonable costs or fees imposed for the preparation of the record of proceedings, as specified. The act authorizes the plaintiff or petitioner to elect to prepare the record of proceedings or for the parties to agree to an alternative method of preparation of the record of proceedings, subject to certification of its accuracy by the public agency.
This bill would eliminate the above authorization regarding the preparation of the record of proceedings. Because the bill would require a lead agency that is a local agency to prepare the record of proceedings in all cases, this 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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA, until January 1, 2020, exempts a project or an activity to repair, maintain, or make minor alterations to an existing roadway, as defined, if the project or activity is carried out by a city or county with a population of less than 100,000 persons to improve public safety and meets other specified requirements. Existing law exempts specified transportation projects from CEQA unless, on or after February 1, 2009, the lead agency changes the scope of those projects, as described.

This bill would, until July 1, 2026, exempt a transportation safety project within the County of Kern to correct a dangerous condition on a public roadway, as defined, from CEQA, if that project is initiated following an accident resulting in death or serious physical injuries resulting from that dangerous condition, and if the project is designed to reduce or eliminate the dangerous condition and substantially lessen future risk of fatalities or serious injuries resulting from future accidents. The bill would, until July 1, 2026, require the Department of Transportation, the County of Kern, or a city within the County of Kern to provide notice to the California Transportation Commission of any transportation safety project on a public roadway over which they have responsibility that they determine is exempt pursuant to the bill. The bill would require the commission to analyze the projects and all available information on accidents, and injuries or deaths resulting from those accidents, before, during, and following completion of the projects, and submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2027, of the results of the analyses along with any conclusions or recommendations as to whether the CEQA exemption facilitated the timely completion of those projects, saved lives, reduced injuries, or reduced property damage from accidents.

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

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21167.6 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21167.6.
 Notwithstanding any other law, in all actions or proceedings brought pursuant to Section 21167, except as provided in Section 21167.6.2 or those involving the Public Utilities Commission, all of the following shall apply:
(a) At the time that the action or proceeding is filed, the plaintiff or petitioner shall file a request that the respondent public agency prepare the record of proceedings relating to the subject of the action or proceeding. The request, together with the complaint or petition, shall be served personally upon the public agency not later than 10 business days from the date that the action or proceeding was filed.
(b) (1)The public agency shall prepare and certify the record of proceedings not later than 60 days from the date that the request specified in subdivision (a) was served upon the public agency. Upon certification, the public agency shall lodge a copy of the record of proceedings with the court and shall serve on the parties notice that the record of proceedings has been certified and lodged with the court. The parties shall pay any reasonable costs or fees imposed for the preparation of the record of proceedings in conformance with any law or rule of court.

(2)The plaintiff or petitioner may elect to prepare the record of proceedings or the parties may agree to an alternative method of preparation of the record of proceedings, subject to certification of its accuracy by the public agency, within the time limit specified in this subdivision.

(c) The time limit established by subdivision (b) may be extended only upon the stipulation of all parties who have been properly served in the action or proceeding or upon order of the court. Extensions shall be liberally granted by the court when the size of the record of proceedings renders infeasible compliance with that time limit. There is no limit on the number of extensions that may be granted by the court, but no single extension shall exceed 60 days unless the court determines that a longer extension is in the public interest.
(d) If the public agency fails to prepare and certify the record within the time limit established in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), or any continuances of that time limit, the plaintiff or petitioner may move for sanctions, and the court may, upon that motion, grant appropriate sanctions.
(e) The record of proceedings shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following items:
(1) All project application materials.
(2) All staff reports and related documents prepared by the respondent public agency with respect to its compliance with the substantive and procedural requirements of this division and with respect to the action on the project.
(3) All staff reports and related documents prepared by the respondent public agency and written testimony or documents submitted by any person relevant to any findings or statement of overriding considerations adopted by the respondent agency pursuant to this division.
(4) Any transcript or minutes of the proceedings at which the decisionmaking body of the respondent public agency heard testimony on, or considered any environmental document on, the project, and any transcript or minutes of proceedings before any advisory body to the respondent public agency that were presented to the decisionmaking body prior to action on the environmental documents or on the project.
(5) All notices issued by the respondent public agency to comply with this division or with any other law governing the processing and approval of the project.
(6) All written comments received in response to, or in connection with, environmental documents prepared for the project, including responses to the notice of preparation.
(7) All written evidence or correspondence submitted to, or transferred from, the respondent public agency with respect to compliance with this division or with respect to the project.
(8) Any proposed decisions or findings submitted to the decisionmaking body of the respondent public agency by its staff, or the project proponent, project opponents, or other persons.
(9) The documentation of the final public agency decision, including the final environmental impact report, mitigated negative declaration, or negative declaration, and all documents, in addition to those referenced in paragraph (3), cited or relied on in the findings or in a statement of overriding considerations adopted pursuant to this division.
(10) Any other written materials relevant to the respondent public agency’s compliance with this division or to its decision on the merits of the project, including the initial study, any drafts of any environmental document, or portions thereof, that have been released for public review, and copies of studies or other documents relied upon in any environmental document prepared for the project and either made available to the public during the public review period or included in the respondent public agency’s files on the project, and all internal agency communications, including staff notes and memoranda related to the project or to compliance with this division.
(11) The full written record before any inferior administrative decisionmaking body whose decision was appealed to a superior administrative decisionmaking body prior to the filing of litigation.
(f) In preparing the record of proceedings, the party preparing the record public agency shall strive to do so at reasonable cost in light of the scope of the record.
(g) The clerk of the superior court shall prepare and certify the clerk’s transcript on appeal not later than 60 days from the date that the notice designating the papers or records to be included in the clerk’s transcript was filed with the superior court, if the party or parties pay any costs or fees for the preparation of the clerk’s transcript imposed in conformance with any law or rules of court. Nothing in this subdivision precludes an election to proceed by appendix, as provided in Rule 8.124 of the California Rules of Court.
(h) Extensions of the period for the filing of any brief on appeal may be allowed only by stipulation of the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. Extensions for the filing of a brief on appeal shall be limited to one 30-day extension for the preparation of an opening brief and one 30-day extension for the preparation of a responding brief, except that the court may grant a longer extension or additional extensions if it determines that there is a substantial likelihood of settlement that would avoid the necessity of completing the appeal.
(i) At the completion of the filing of briefs on appeal, the appellant shall notify the court of the completion of the filing of briefs, whereupon the clerk of the reviewing court shall set the appeal for hearing on the first available calendar date.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.
SECTION 1.Section 14521.5 is added to the Government Code, to read:
14521.5.

(a)For any transportation safety project in the County of Kern for which the commission has received notice pursuant to Section 21080.40 of the Public Resources Code, the commission shall analyze the project and all available information on accidents, and injuries or deaths resulting from those accidents, before, during, and following completion of the project. The commission shall submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2027, of the results of its analysis of each of those projects along with any conclusions or recommendations of the commission as to whether the exemption in Section 21080.40 of the Public Resources Code facilitated the timely completion of those projects, saved lives, reduced injuries, or reduced property damage from accidents.

(b)A report to be submitted pursuant to this section shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(c)Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this section is repealed on January 1, 2031.

SEC. 2.Section 21080.40 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:
21080.40.

(a)This division does not apply to a transportation safety project within the County of Kern to correct a dangerous condition on a public roadway, initiated following an accident resulting in death or serious physical injuries resulting from that dangerous condition, if the project is designed to reduce or eliminate the dangerous condition and substantially lessen future risk of fatalities or serious injuries resulting from future accidents. For purposes of this section, a “public roadway” means city streets, county highways, and state highways as defined in Section 63010 of the Government Code.

(b)The Department of Transportation, the County of Kern, or a city within the County of Kern shall provide notice to the California Transportation Commission of any transportation safety project on a public roadway over which they have responsibility that they determine is exempt pursuant to subdivision (a). The notice shall include a statement of facts as to why the project is exempt pursuant to subdivision (a) and a description of the project and how it should eliminate or mitigate the dangerous condition.

(c)This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2026, and as of January 1, 2028, is repealed.