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AB-756 California Environmental Quality Act: judicial review: public works projects.(2013-2014)



Current Version: 04/11/13 - Amended Assembly         Compare Versions information image


AB756:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 11, 2013
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 19, 2013

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 756


Introduced by Assembly Member Melendez

February 21, 2013


An act to add Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 21189.50) to Division 13 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 756, as amended, Melendez. California Environmental Quality Act: judicial review: public works projects.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), referred to as CEQA, requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR), referred to as an EIR, 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 establishes a procedure for the preparation and certification of the record of proceedings upon the filing of an action or proceeding challenging a lead agency’s action on the grounds of noncompliance with CEQA.
The Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 requires that any action or proceeding alleging that a public agency has approved or is undertaking a leadership project certified by the Governor, as specified, in violation of CEQA be conducted in accordance with specified streamlining benefits. The act also requires the preparation and certification of the administrative record for a leadership project that is certified by the Governor to comply with certain procedures. The act requires the draft and final EIR of a leadership project to include a specific notice relating to required procedures for judicial actions challenging the certification of the EIR or the approval of a project described in the EIR.
This bill would also apply these provisions to a public works project, defined to mean an infrastructure project carried out by the city, county, special district, or state government or contracted out to a private entity by the special district or local or state government. By requiring a lead agency to use these alternative procedures in preparing and certifying the administrative record, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also authorize the Judicial Council to adopt Rules of Court to implement these provisions.
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 these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 21189.50) is added to Division 13 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  7. Judicial Review of Public Works Projects

21189.50.
 “Public works project,” for purposes of this chapter, means an infrastructure project carried out by the city, county, special district, or state government, or contracted out to a private entity by a city, county, special district, or state government. Infrastructure projects include projects relating to transportation, such as the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, and ports, and the placement of traffic signs and street lights, projects relating to public health-related buildings such as hospitals and urgent care facilities, projects relating to public safety buildings such as law enforcement stations and correctional facilities, projects relating to water quality and water waste treatment facilities and their related infrastructures, and projects relating to electrical grid improvements, landscaping, seismic retrofitting, and technological retrofitting.

21189.51.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, any action or proceeding alleging that a public agency has approved or is undertaking a public works project in violation of this division shall be conducted in accordance with the following streamlining benefits:
(1) The action or proceeding shall be filed in the court of appeal with geographic jurisdiction over the project.
(2) Any A party bringing a claim described in this section shall also file concurrently any other claims alleging that a public agency has granted land use approvals for the public works project in violation of the law. The court of appeal shall have original jurisdiction over all those claims.
(3) The court of appeal shall issue its decision in the case within 175 days of the filing of the petition.
(4) The court may appoint a master to assist the court in managing and processing the case.
(5) The court may grant extensions of time only for good cause shown and in order to promote the interests of justice.
(b) The Judicial Council may adopt rules of court to implement this chapter.

21189.52.
 Notwithstanding any other law, the preparation and certification of the administrative record for a public works project shall be performed in the following manner:
(a) The lead agency for the project shall prepare the administrative record pursuant to this division concurrently with the administrative process.
(b) All documents and other materials placed in the administrative record shall be posted on, and be downloadable from, an Internet Web site maintained by the lead agency commencing with the date of the release of the draft environmental impact report.
(c) The lead agency shall make available to the public public, in a readily accessible electronic format format, the draft environmental impact report and all other documents submitted to, or relied on by, the lead agency in the preparation of the draft environmental impact report.
(d) A document prepared by the lead agency or submitted by the applicant after the date of the release of the draft environmental impact report that is a part of the record of the proceedings shall be made available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format within five business days after the document is released or received by the lead agency.
(e) The lead agency shall encourage written comments on the project to be submitted in a readily accessible electronic format, and and, except as provided in subdivision (f), shall make any comment available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format within five days of its receipt.
(f) Within seven business days after the receipt of any comment that is not in an electronic format, the lead agency shall convert that comment into a readily accessible electronic format and make it available to the public in that format.
(g) The lead agency shall certify the final administrative record within five days of its approval of the project.
(h) Any dispute arising from the administrative record shall be resolved by the court of appeal pursuant to Section 21189.51.

21189.53.
 The draft and final environmental impact report shall include a notice in no less than 12-point type stating the following:

“THIS EIR IS SUBJECT TO CHAPTER 7 (COMMENCING WITH SECTION 21189.50) OF DIVISION 21 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE, WHICH PROVIDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT ANY JUDICIAL ACTION CHALLENGING THE CERTIFICATION OF THE EIR OR THE APPROVAL OF THE PROJECT DESCRIBED IN THE EIR IS SUBJECT TO THE PROCEDURES SET FORTH IN SECTION 21189.51 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE AND MUST BE FILED WITH THE COURT OF APPEAL. A COPY OF CHAPTER 7 OF DIVISION 21 OF THE PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE IS INCLUDED IN THE APPENDIX TO THIS EIR.”

21189.54.
 The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any provision of this chapter or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

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.