CSAC Bulletin Article

Wildfire and Disaster Bills Remaining in Session

September 5, 2019

CSAC has tracked dozens of bills related to wildfire and emergency management throughout the legislative session. There are nine bills remaining that could be passed off the floor of the Legislature and potentially to the Governor’s desk during the final weeks of session.

Bills Remaining in the Assembly:

SB 167 (Dodd): This bill would require Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) to consider how Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) would impact customers receiving medical baseline allowances, first responders, and health and communication infrastructure in their wildfire mitigation plans. CSAC has a support position.

SB 560 (McGuire): This bill would require investor owned utilities (IOUs) and publicly owned utilities (POUs) to include procedures for notification of a deenergization to first responders, health care facilities, and operators of telecommunications infrastructure in wildfire mitigation plans. In addition, the bill would also require mobile telephone service providers to coordinate with appropriate community stakeholders in the event of a deenergization. CSAC has a support position.

SB 182 (Jackson): This bill would improve the local planning process and incorporates actionable data that can decrease fire risk to our communities. The bill would, among other things, impose new planning requirements on local governments and require cities and counties to make specified findings on fire standards prior to permitting development in very high risk fire areas. CSAC has a support position because the bill would allow counties to use systems that are already in place to incorporate better information in our local planning process.

SB 190 (Dodd): This bill would update building standards, develop a list of low cost retrofits, and would help provide important Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) safety information to building officials and the general public. CSAC has a support position on this measure.

SB 209 (Dodd): This bill would establish the Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center to help monitor weather and fire data statewide to improve outcomes during California’s increasingly devastating year round fire season. CSAC has a support position.

SB 247 (Dodd): This bill would require IOUs to comply with vegetation management requirements within their wildfire mitigation plans. This bill would require the Wildfire Safety Division at the CPUC to verify vegetation management work completed by the IOUs to confirm compliance with their submitted wildfire mitigation plans. CSAC has a support position.

SB 670 (McGuire): This bill would require telecommunications services providers to give notification to the California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) if its telecommunications systems become unable to connect customers to 911 or are unable to deliver emergency notices within 60 minutes of discovering the outage. The bill would require CAL OES to notify local governments of these outages. CSAC has a support position on this measure.

Bills Remaining in the Senate:

AB 1516 (Friedman): This bill would improve defensible space and electrical transmission line vegetation clearance requirements in fire threat areas, and would help Cal Fire provide assistance with fuels management to counties in order to protect against future devastating wildfires. Specifically, CSAC supports counties working closely together with Cal Fire in order to improve defensible space and non-combustion areas near communities and structures in wildfire threat areas to improve outcomes in the future.

AB 394 (Obernolte): This bill would provide a limited CEQA exemption for egress route projects undertaken by a public agency that were specifically recommended by CAL FIRE to improve the safety of a subdivisions and communities in high or very high fire threat zones. CSAC has a support position.

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