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AB-1123 State of emergency: Governor’s powers: notice of executive action: audit of emergency fund expenditures.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/18/2021 09:00 PM
AB1123:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1123


Introduced by Assembly Member Rodriguez

February 18, 2021


An act to amend Sections 8567, 8571, 8625, 8626, 8627.5, 8654, and 8685.4 of, and to add Sections 8588.4 and 8645.5 to, the Government Code, relating to emergency services, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1123, as introduced, Rodriguez. State of emergency: Governor’s powers: notice of executive action: audit of emergency fund expenditures.
Existing law, the California Emergency Services Act (CESA), among other things, authorizes the Governor to proclaim a state of emergency in an area affected or likely to be affected thereby if (1) the Governor finds that certain conditions exist and (2) the Governor either is requested to do so by specified local officials or finds that local authority is inadequate to cope with the emergency. Upon the proclamation of a state of emergency, CESA authorizes the Governor to exercise various, specified powers, including the power to promulgate, issue, and enforce orders and regulations that the Governor deems necessary and to suspend any regulatory statute, statute prescribing the procedure for conduct of state business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency, as provided. CESA also authorizes the Governor to suspend certain local laws under specified circumstances.
This bill would require the Governor to immediately notify in writing the Speaker of the Assembly and the President pro Tempore of the Senate of a proclamation of a state of emergency or promulgating or issuing an order or regulation pursuant to these provisions. The bill would require the Governor to provide to the Speaker of the Assembly, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, and certain committees of the Legislature a monthly report on specified information relating to requests by local government for the Governor to proclaim a state of emergency. The bill would also require the Governor to immediately provide notification in writing to the governing body of each city and county affected by a suspension of a statute, order, rule, regulation, or local law, as described above, that only applies to those cities and counties.
CESA establishes the Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) in the office of the Governor and provides that the office is responsible for the state’s emergency and disaster response services for natural, technological, or manmade disasters and emergencies.
This bill would require CalOES, during a state of emergency, to provide certain committees of the Legislature an update every 60 days on the goals and objectives of the emergency response.
CESA authorizes the Governor to expend any appropriation for support of CESA to carry out its provisions and to make expenditures from any legally available fund in order to deal with actual or threatened conditions of a state of emergency. Existing law, the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA), which is administered by the Director of Emergency Services, provides for the allocation of funds to state and local agencies and to eligible private nonprofit organizations for specified purposes and in accordance with specified requirements, including, among others, that a local agency make application to the director for state financial assistance within 60 days after the date of the proclamation of a local emergency. Existing law establishes the Disaster Assistance Fund and continuously appropriates moneys in that fund for purposes of CDAA.
Existing law creates the California State Auditor’s Office, which is independent of the executive branch and legislative control, to examine and report annually upon the financial statements prepared by the executive branch and to perform other related assignments, including performance audits, that are mandated by statute. Existing law establishes, within the State Treasury, the State Audit Fund, which is a continuously appropriated fund, for the expenses of the California State Auditor.
This bill would require the Governor to immediately notify in writing certain committees of the Legislature of any expenditure of state or federal emergency response funds, and would require the California State Auditor’s Office, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to conduct annual performance audits of any expenditure of state or federal disaster emergency response funds. The bill would define “state or federal emergency response funds” to mean any moneys appropriated by the Legislature or provided by the federal government that are expended in response to a state of emergency, expressly including moneys expended pursuant to the above-described authority under CESA and the CDAA or any appropriation by the Legislature for purposes of emergency response and recovery.
This bill would require the Director of Emergency Services to provide to the Speaker of the Assembly, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, and certain committees of the Legislature a monthly report on specified information relating to applications by local agencies for state financial assistance pursuant to the CDAA.
This bill would also make various nonsubstantive changes to CESA.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 8567 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8567.
 (a) The Governor may make, amend, and rescind orders and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. The orders and regulations shall have the force and effect of law. Due consideration shall be given to the plans of the federal government in preparing the orders and regulations. The Governor shall immediately notify the Speaker of the Assembly and the President pro Tempore of the Senate of, and shall cause widespread publicity and notice to be given to to, all such orders and regulations, or amendments or rescissions thereof.
(b) Orders and regulations, or amendments or rescissions thereof, issued during a state of war emergency or state of emergency shall be in writing and shall take effect immediately upon their issuance. Whenever the state of war emergency or state of emergency has been terminated, the orders and regulations shall be of no further force or effect.
(c) All orders and regulations relating to the use of funds pursuant to Article 16 (commencing with Section 8645) shall be prepared in advance of any commitment or expenditure of the funds. Other orders and regulations needed to carry out the provisions of this chapter shall, whenever practicable, be prepared in advance of a state of war emergency or state of emergency.
(d) All orders and regulations made in advance of a state of war emergency or state of emergency shall be in writing, shall be exempt from Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2. As soon thereafter as possible they shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State and with the county clerk of each county.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8571 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8571.
 (a) During a state of war emergency or a state of emergency emergency, the Governor may suspend any regulatory statute, or statute prescribing the procedure for conduct of state business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency, including subdivision (d) of Section 1253 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, where if the Governor determines and declares that strict compliance with any statute, order, rule, or regulation would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency.
(b) If the Governor suspends a statute, order, rule, or regulation pursuant to this section and that suspension is applicable only to certain cities and counties, the Governor shall immediately provide notification of that suspension in writing to the governing body of each city or county affected by that suspension.

SEC. 3.

 Section 8588.4 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8588.4.
 During a state of emergency, the office shall provide to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Budget, the Senate Committee on Governmental Organizations, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management an update every 60 days on the goals and objectives of the emergency response.

SEC. 4.

 Section 8625 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8625.
 (a) The Governor is hereby empowered to proclaim a state of emergency in an area affected or likely to be affected thereby when: if the Governor finds that circumstances described in subdivision (b) of Section 8558 exist and either of the following apply:

(a)He finds that circumstances described in subdivision (b) of Section 8558 exist; and either

(b)He

(1) The Governor is requested to do so (1) by the local executive. For purposes of this paragraph, “local executive,” in the case of a city by city, means the mayor or chief executive, (2) executive, or, in the case of a county by county, means the chairman of the board of supervisors or the county administrative officer; or officer.

(c)He

(2) The Governor finds that local authority is inadequate to cope with the emergency.
(b) The Governor shall report monthly to the Speaker of the Assembly, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, the Assembly Committee on Budget, the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management, the Senate Committee on Governmental Organizations, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management all of the following:
(1) Any requests in the previous month from a city or county pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) for the Governor to proclaim a state of emergency.
(2) The status of any emergency proclamation request reported pursuant to paragraph (1) or previously reported pursuant to this subdivision, including, but not limited to, whether or not the Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency pursuant to that request.

SEC. 5.

 Section 8626 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8626.
 Such proclamation shall be in writing and shall take effect immediately upon its issuance. The Governor shall immediately notify the Speaker of the Assembly and the President pro Tempore of the Senate of the proclamation. As soon thereafter as possible such possible, the proclamation shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The Governor shall cause widespread publicity and notice to be given such the proclamation.

SEC. 6.

 Section 8627.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8627.5.
 (a) (1) The Governor may make, amend, or rescind orders and regulations during a state of emergency that temporarily suspend any state, county, city, or special district statute, ordinance, regulation, or rule imposing nonsafety related restrictions on the delivery of food products, pharmaceuticals, and other emergency necessities distributed through retail or institutional channels, including, but not limited to, hospitals, jails, restaurants, and schools. The
(2) The Governor shall cause widespread publicity and notice to be given to all of these orders and regulations, or amendments and rescissions thereof. of those orders of regulations, made pursuant to this section. If the suspension is applicable only to certain cities and counties, the Governor shall immediately provide notification in writing of that suspension to the governing body of each city or county affected by that suspension.
(b) The orders and regulations shall be in writing and take effect immediately on issuance. The temporary suspension of any statute, ordinance, regulation, or rule shall remain in effect until the order or regulation is rescinded by the Governor, the Governor proclaims the termination of the state of emergency, or for a period of 60 days, whichever occurs first.

SEC. 7.

 Section 8645.5 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8645.5.
 (a) The Governor shall immediately notify in writing each of the following of any expenditure of state or federal emergency response funds:
(1) The Assembly Committee on Budget.
(2) The Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review.
(3) The Assembly Committee on Emergency Management, or any successor committee.
(4) The Senate Committee on Governmental Organization.
(5) The Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.
(b) Upon appropriation by the Legislature, the California State Auditor’s Office shall conduct annual performance audits of any expenditure of state or federal disaster emergency response funds.
(c) For purposes of this section, “state or federal emergency response funds” means any moneys appropriated by the Legislature or provided by the federal government that are expended in response to a state of emergency proclaimed in accordance with this chapter, including, but not limited to, moneys expended pursuant to any of the following:
(1) Any provision of this chapter, including, but not limited to, Sections 8566, 8628, and 8645.
(2) The California Disaster Assistance Act (Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 8680)).
(3) Any appropriation by the Legislature for purposes of emergency response and recovery, including any Budget Act or any bill providing for appropriations related to a Budget Act within the meaning of Section 12 of Article IV of the California Constitution.

SEC. 8.

 Section 8654 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8654.
 (a) Whenever If the Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency and the President has declared an emergency or a major disaster to exist in this state, the Governor may do any of the following:
(1) Enter into purchases, leases, or other arrangements with any agency of the United States for temporary housing units to be occupied by disaster victims and make those units available to any political subdivision for that purpose.
(2) Assist any political subdivision within which temporary housing for disaster victims is proposed to be located to acquire sites necessary for that temporary housing and to do all things required to prepare those sites to receive and utilize temporary housing units by advancing or lending any funds available to the Governor from any appropriation made by the Legislature or from any other source, by transmitting any funds made available by any public or private agency, or by acting in cooperation with the political subdivision for the execution and performance of any project for temporary housing for disaster victims, and for those purposes to pledge the credit of the state on terms as the Governor declares necessary under the circumstances, having due regard for current financial obligations of the state.
(3) (A) Under regulations as the Governor shall make, temporarily suspend or modify for not to exceed 60 days any public health, safety, zoning, or intrastate transportation law, ordinance, or regulation when by proclamation he or she the Governor declares the suspension or modification essential to provide temporary housing for disaster victims.
(B) If a suspension of modification pursuant to this paragraph is applicable only to certain cities or counties, the Governor shall immediately provide notification of the suspension or modification in writing to the governing body of each city or county affected by that suspension or modification.
(4) Upon his or her the Governor’s determination that financial assistance is essential to meet disaster-related necessary expenses or serious needs of individuals or households adversely affected by a Presidential declaration of a major disaster or emergency that cannot be otherwise adequately met from other means of assistance, accept assistance in the form of grants by the federal government to fund that financial assistance, subject to those terms and conditions as may be imposed upon the grant.
(5) Enter into an agreement with the federal government, or any officer or agency thereof, pledging the state to participate in the funding of any grant accepted pursuant to paragraph (1), in an amount not to exceed 25 percent thereof, and, if state funds are not otherwise available to the Governor, accept an advance of the state share from the federal government to be repaid when the state is able to do so.
(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, make financial grants available to meet disaster-related necessary expenses or serious needs of individuals or households adversely affected by a Presidential declaration of a major disaster or emergency in accordance with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288, as amended by Public Law 100-707; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5121 et seq.) and Sections 13600 and 13601 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(b) Whenever the President at the request of the Governor declares a major disaster to exist in this state, the Governor may do any of the following:
(1) Upon his or her the Governor’s determination that a local government will suffer a substantial loss of tax and other revenues from a major disaster and has demonstrated a need for financial assistance to perform its governmental functions, apply to the federal government, on behalf of the local government, for a loan, and receive and disburse the proceeds of that loan to the local government.
(2) Determine the amount needed by a local government to restore or resume its governmental functions, and certify that amount to the federal government. However, that amount shall not exceed 25 percent of the annual operating budget of the local government for the fiscal year in which the major disaster has occurred.
(3) Recommend to the federal government, after reviewing the matter, the cancellation of all or any part of a loan made pursuant to paragraph (2) when during the period of three full fiscal years immediately following the major disaster, the revenues of the local government are insufficient to meet its operating expenses, including disaster-related expenses incurred by the local government.
(c) The Governor shall make those regulations as are necessary in carrying out the purposes of paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (a), including, but not limited to: standards of eligibility for persons applying for benefits; procedures for application and administration; methods of investigation, processing, and approving applications; formation of local or statewide review boards to pass upon applications; and procedures for appeals. to, the following:
(1) Standards of eligibility for persons applying for benefits.
(2) Procedures for application and administration.
(3) Methods of investigation, processing, and approving applications; formation of local or statewide review boards to pass upon applications.
(4) Formation of local or statewide review boards to pass upon applications.
(5) Procedures for appeals.
(d) Any political subdivision is expressly authorized to acquire, temporarily or permanently, by purchase, lease, or otherwise, sites required for installation of temporary housing units for disaster victims, and to enter into whatever arrangements (including arrangements, including purchase of temporary housing units and payment of transportation charges) charges, are necessary to prepare or equip the sites to utilize the housing units.
(e) Any person who fraudulently makes any misstatement of fact in connection with an application for financial assistance under this section shall, upon conviction of each offense, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
(f) The terms “major disaster,” “emergency,” and “temporary housing,” as used in this section, shall have the same meaning as those terms are defined or used in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. (Public Law 93-288, as amended by P.L. 100-707). Public Law 101-707; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5121 et seq.). It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section that it shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes of that federal act.

SEC. 9.

 Section 8685.4 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8685.4.
 (a) A local agency shall make application to the director for state financial assistance within 60 days after the date of the proclamation of a local emergency. The director may extend the time for this filing only under unusual circumstances. No financial The director shall report monthly to the Speaker of the Assembly, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, the Assembly Committee on Budget, the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management, the Senate Committee on Governmental Organizations, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management both of the following:
(1) Any application made by a local agency in the previous month pursuant to this subdivision.
(2) The status of any application reported pursuant to paragraph (1) or previously reported pursuant to this subdivision, including, but not limited to, the extent to which state financial assistance has been approved or provided.
(b) Financial aid shall not be provided until a state agency, upon the request of the director, has first investigated and reported upon the proposed work, has estimated the cost of the work, and has filed its report with the director within 60 days from the date the local agency made application, unless the director extends the time because of unusual circumstances. The estimate of cost of the work may include expenditures made by the local agency for the work prior to the making of the estimate. If the reporting state agency fails to report its findings within the 60-day period, and time is not extended by the director, the director may complete the investigation and recover a proportionate amount allocated to the state agency for the balance of the investigation. “Unusual circumstances,” as used above,
(c) For purposes of this section, “unusual circumstances are unavoidable delays that result from recurrence of a disaster, prolonged severe weather within a one-year period, or other conditions beyond the control of the applicant. Delays resulting from administrative procedures are not unusual circumstances which warrant extensions of time.

SEC. 10.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
Due to the ongoing pandemic, threat of catastrophic wildfires, earthquakes, floods and other hazards, the Legislature finds an urgency to strengthen the California Emergency Services Act and ensure disaster relief funds are being spent wisely in order to preserve public peace, health, and safety .