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AB-211 State responsibility area fire prevention fees: reporting requirement. (2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/15/2017 04:00 AM
AB211:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 14, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 14, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 211


Introduced by Assembly Member Bigelow
(Principal coauthors: Senators Berryhill and Morrell)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Obernolte, Patterson, and Wood)

January 23, 2017


An act to amend Section 4214 of the Public Resources Code, relating to fire prevention.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 211, as amended, Bigelow. State responsibility area fire prevention fees: reporting requirement.
Existing law requires the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to establish a fire prevention fee in an amount not to exceed $150 to be charged on each habitable structure on a parcel that is within a state responsibility area. Existing law requires the fee moneys to be expended, upon appropriation, in specified ways, including to reimburse the State Board of Equalization’s expenses incurred in the collection of the fee and to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for administrative purposes, with excess moneys being expended only for specified fire prevention activities, as provided. Existing law requires the fund to cover startup costs of the fire prevention fee program over a period not to exceed 2 years. Existing law, until January 31, 2017, requires the board to submit an annual written report to the Legislature on the status of the uses of the fee moneys.
This bill would require, by January 31, 2018, the department to submit the report to the Legislature and the board. The bill would require the report to include an itemized accounting of all expenditures from the fund, including a specific itemized accounting relating to equipment expenditures, and a description of any positions that are associated with each expenditure, among other things. The bill would require the reporting to occur annually for an indefinite period of time. The bill would delete the provision regarding the startup costs of the fire prevention fee program.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


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) Public education to reduce fire risk in the state responsibility areas.
(6) Fire severity and fire hazard mapping by the department in the state responsibility areas.
(7) 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, 2018, and, notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, annually thereafter, the department shall submit to the Legislature and the board a written report on the status and uses of the fund pursuant to this chapter. The report shall include all of the following:
(1) 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.
(2) An itemized accounting of all expenditures from the fund, including a specific itemized accounting relating to equipment expenditures, and a description of any positions that are associated with each expenditure.
(3) A description of each program, subprogram, and element for which the department uses moneys generated from the fire prevention fee, including an itemized accounting of expenditures for each program, subprogram, and element.
(4) A description of the grants awarded and expenditures of grant moneys.
(5) A description of actual expenditures for the previous fiscal year, estimated expenditures for the current fiscal year, and budgeted expenditures for the budget year.
(6) Any recommendations to the Legislature, including any recommendations on the status and use of the fund.
(g) A report to be submitted to the Legislature 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 Public Contract Code or any other law related to public contracting shall not apply.