Housing Land Use and Transportation 08/23/2013
SB 684 (Hill) – Support
As Amended on August 13, 2013
SB 684, by Senator Jerry Hill, would authorize the extension, preservation and retention of existing redevelopment signs with approval of the county or city. The bill does not authorize new signage nor are the existing signs under this proposal billboards.
This measure is necessary in light of the elimination of redevelopment agencies and the unintended consequence that existing sign agreements cannot be extended because there is no longer a redevelopment agency to authorize the extension. Before the elimination of redevelopment agencies, these signs were exempt from the Outdoor Advertising Act. Signage agreements needed authorization from the redevelopment agency and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). SB 684 simply clarifies that existing redevelopment signs can be extended with approval of a county or city, in place of the redevelopment agency, and Caltrans.
SB 684 was passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 21 by a unanimous vote. The measure now awaits action on the Assembly Floor.
AB 755 (Ammiano) – Oppose
As Amended on August 13, 2013
AB 755, by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, would require that project study reports (PSRs) for any new projects involving the construction or reconstruction of a bridge – identified in a regional transportation plan, interregional transportation improvement program, or the state highway operation and protection program – include a document demonstrating that a suicide barrier was a feature considered during the project’s planning process. We have a number of concerns with the proposal.
First and foremost, we find that the measure is unnecessary as cities and counties already consider the need for infrastructure type suicide barriers on the reconstruction and new construction of local bridges. In addition, the legislation is nearly certain to increase unnecessary and frivolous litigation as it relates to whether a suicide barrier is installed and what type of suicide barrier is installed.
Should AB 755 go into effect, plaintiffs’ attorneys will argue that it creates a mandatory duty to “consider” installation of a suicide barrier and, if a suicide barrier is not installed, a plaintiff could claim the agency neglected its mandatory duty. Further, if a county or city installs a suicide barrier, a plaintiff may argue the barrier is not the “best” one available and there could be lawsuits alleging cities and counties violated their mandatory duty.
Counties and cities spend a significant amount of tax-payer funds and resources responding to claims related to a variety of issues, including public works and infrastructure. Resources are spent on verdicts, settlements, dismissals, counsel time, outside counsel, etc. Even if a city or county prevails in a lawsuit, the local agency has to invest time and money defending the agency. When a local agency “wins” the agency, and ultimately the tax-payer, still lose in terms of wasted resources.
While counties and cities vary in terms of the amount spent on litigation related expenses, AB 755 will increase local agency exposure to frivolous litigation related to bridge suicides. Therefore, AB 755 has the potential for public agencies to incur significant claims-related costs that they would otherwise not incur – without any new or increased benefit. As such, CSAC remains opposed to AB 755 even as recently amended.
The measure is set for hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 26.
AB 1042 (Hall) – Support
As Amended on August 12, 2013
AB 1042, by Assembly Member Isadore Hall, would appropriate $13 million in FY 2013-14 from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund (SDF) for the purpose of local community mitigation grants to help off-set the impacts on infrastructure and public services from tribal gaming.
While the grants offered via the SDF program do not mitigate all of the affects Indian gaming has on California’s local communities, the funding is still very critical to local jurisdictions affected by gaming. Counties experience a myriad of costly impacts on local infrastructure and services ranging from transportation to wastewater to public safety.
AB 1042 was place on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense File and is awaiting another hearing on August 30.