CSAC Bulletin Article

Disaster-Related Legislation in 2018

March 1, 2018

Many legislators have introduced bills related to the terrible 2017 wildfire season. CSAC is monitoring these bills and will be tracking them throughout the legislative session. The legislation covers a wide variety of policy areas including emergency alert improvements, changes to building codes and planning procedures, and changes to insurance law. In addition to monitoring this current legislation, CSAC has also hosted several disaster recovery summits that have helped the 13 disaster declared counties connect with key disaster administrators.

CSAC wants you to hear from you on these bill ideas. How might this legislation impact your county? If you have feedback or comments on the following proposed legislation, please email Ncronenwett@counties.org

AB 1877 (Limon): Would require Cal OES, local governing bodies, and county operational areas to translate emergency communications into the most commonly spoken languages in the county during disasters. Emergency communications listed in the bill include television and radio, wireless alerts, emergency briefings and conference facilitated by local law enforcement.

AB 1923 (Limon): Would allow for the Governor to declare a consolidated debris removal program for areas impacted by state of emergency wildfires. The consolidated debris removal program would allow for residential property owners with insurance coverage for debris removal to voluntarily assign that benefit to the county or designated agency responsible for removal of debris.

AB 2911 (Friedman): Would require the State Fire Marshal in consultation with the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Director of Housing and Community Development, to recommend updated building standards that provide for comprehensive site and structure fire risk reduction to protect structures from fires spreading based on lessons learned from the wildfires of 2017 and to develop a list of low-cost retrofits that provide for comprehensive site and structure fire risk reduction. This bill also would require counties that contain state responsibility fire areas or very high fire hazard severity zones to submit the safety element of their general plan to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection for review on January 1, 2019 and every five years after. This bill would also require a consultation between the State Board and the local government if the recommendations provided by the State Board were not incorporated in the reviewed safety element and would also prevent the local government from formally adopting changes until the consultation has occurred.

AB 3166 (Burke): Would require insurers who don’t renew residential insurance policies to notify the non-renewed policy holder of other options they may have to obtain coverage including the California FAIR Plan, an insurance plan for customers who are unable to obtain coverage.

SB 824 (Lara): Would prevent insurance companies from non-renewing customers following a wildfire disaster and require approval by the Department of Insurance before insurance companies reduce the volume of policies in high-risk areas. There is also language expressing intent to mandate that insurance companies give discounts for fire mitigation activities.

SB 833 (McGuire): Would provide for the creation of a red alert system designed to issue and coordinate alerts following an evacuation order. The bill would require the system to incorporate a variety of notification resources and developing technologies that may be tailored to the circumstances and geography of the underlying evacuation. The bill would also require a local government agency that uses the federal Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system to alert a specified area of an evacuation order to use the term “red alert” in the alert and notify OES about their use of the alert.

SB 901 (Dodd): Would require private utility companies, publically owned utility corporations and electrical cooperatives to incorporate electrical power shut off procedures in their state mandated wildfire mitigation plans and polices. This bill would also require that plans incorporate specific factors for consideration in those electrical shut off procedures.

SB 1416 (McGuire): Would require a county, and other local governments, to collect an additional fee from applicants for local business licenses, or its equivalent, to increase the proactive inspection of commercial buildings for compliance with state and local fire code and building code requirements. The bill would require local governments to create the Proactive Building and Fire Inspection Fund where 90% of the revenue from the fee would be deposited. The remaining 10% of the revenue generated from the local fee would be remitted to the State Fire Marshal for deposit into the Fire Inspection Assistance Fund for use in advising local agencies. This bill would also require the local entity to make an annual report to the State Fire Marshal about the collection and use of the fees.

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