Bill Text: CA AB38 | 2019-2020 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Fire safety.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-12-04 - From printer. May be heard in committee January 3. [AB38 Detail]

Download: California-2019-AB38-Introduced.html


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 38


Introduced by Assembly Member Wood

December 03, 2018


An act to add Section 51189.5 to, and to add Article 4.3 (commencing with Section 8580) to Chapter 7 of Division 1 of Title 2 of, the Government Code, and to add Division 33 (commencing with Section 55500) to the Health and Safety Code, relating to fire safety.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 38, as introduced, Wood. Fire safety.
(1) Existing law, California Building Standards Law, requires the State Fire Marshall to develop, and the California Building Standards Commission to review, building standards to implement the state’s fire and life safety policy.
Existing law requires the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection to designate specified areas as very high fire hazard severity zones. Existing law requires the State Fire Marshall, in consultation with the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Director of Housing and Community Development, to recommend building standards for very high fire hazard severity zones to protect structures and vegetation from fires spreading from adjacent structures or vegetation. Existing law requires persons who own, lease, control, operate, or maintain dwellings or occupied structures in these designated areas to comply with specified requirements, including complying with all applicable state and local building standards. Existing law makes a violation of these provisions a crime.
This bill would require, no later than July 1, 2020, the State Fire Marshall to develop, and the California Building Standards Commission to review, building standards for buildings in very high fire hazard severity zones. The bill would require, beginning on July 1, 2020, all newly constructed buildings and all transferred buildings in very high fire hazard severity zones to comply with the building standards. By requiring new building standards for buildings in very high fire hazard severity zones, this bill would expand the definition of a crime and impose a state-mandated local program.
This bill would establish the State Fire Preparedness Council, consisting of specified members, and would prescribe the responsibilities of the state council with regard to improving the scale and effectiveness of the state’s fire preparedness. The bill would require the state council to, among other things, create regional community fire preparedness councils, composed of members representing the local community in areas of the state designated as very high fire hazard severity zones, as described, to work collaboratively with the state council to implement fire prevention measures in the regional community, as specified.
(2) Existing law authorizes local agencies, upon making specified findings, to provide low-interest loans to owners of buildings within their jurisdiction for the purpose of making seismic safety upgrades to eligible buildings, as defined, in order to meet current earthquake safety codes. Existing law authorizes these local entities to issue bonds in order to finance these loans which are secured by a lien on the subject property.
This bill would establish the Fire Hardened Homes Revolving Loan Fund in the State Treasury, as specified. The bill would transfer $1,000,000,000 from the General Fund to the new fund for the purposes of the bill. Moneys in the fund would be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to an unspecified state agency to distribute to local agencies for the purpose of funding no- or low-interest loans made by those agencies to owners of eligible buildings to pay for eligible costs of fire hardening. The bill would provide that financing under this program, along with other liens on the subject property, could not exceed 80% of the appraised value of the property. The bill would define terms for its purposes.
(3) 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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Article 4.3 (commencing with Section 8580) is added to Chapter 7 of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
Article  4.3. State Fire Preparedness Council

8580.
 (a) The State Fire Preparedness Council is hereby established in state government, consisting of the following members:
(1) The Director of Emergency Services, or his or her designee.
(2) The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, or his or her designee.
(3) The Director of Forestry and Fire Protection, or his or her designee.
(4) The Secretary of Transportation, or his or her designee.
(5) The Secretary of California Health and Human Services, or his or her designee.
(6) The State Fire Marshal, or his or her designee.
(7) A member of the public with expertise in fire science appointed by the Governor.
(b) The State Fire Preparedness Council shall take all of the following actions to improve the scale and effectiveness of the state’s fire preparedness:
(1) Create regional community fire preparedness councils, composed of members representing the local community in areas of the state designated as very high fire hazard severity zones pursuant to Sections 51178 and 51179, to work collaboratively with the state council to implement fire prevention measures in the regional community. Each regional community fire preparedness council shall do all of the following:
(A) Develop a regional community wildfire protection plan covering its jurisdiction to be approved by the state council, and to update the plan not less than once every three years.
(B) Develop region-specific vegetation management ordinances that may be adopted by local governments in its jurisdiction.
(C) Review and recommend changes to defensible space requirements on both public and private land in its jurisdiction and make recommendations to the state council for any changes to those requirements that may be needed.
(D) Provide education and technical assistance to landowners, residents, and regional community fire prevention advisory groups on fire prevention and land management practices to improve fire safety in the region.
(2) Review and recommend to the department possible methods of financing ongoing fire preparedness measures, including loan and grant programs.
(3) Review and approve regional community wildfire protection plans prepared by regional community fire preparedness councils pursuant to this section.
(4) Develop best practices for community emergency alert and evacuation procedures statewide.
(5) Create and implement a statewide fire preparedness public education campaign.
(6) Promote, organize, and support the implementation of regional community fire evacuation drills.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51189.5 is added to the Government Code, to read:

51189.5.
 (a) No later than July 1, 2020, the State Fire Marshall shall develop, and the California Building Standards Commission shall review, pursuant to Sections 18930 and 18949.2 of the Health and Safety Code, building standards for buildings in very high fire hazard severity zones. The building standards developed for newly constructed buildings may differ from those developed for retrofitting existing buildings.
(b) The building standards developed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include features critical for protecting buildings from burning embers, such as combustible roofing and siding materials and vent screens.
(c) Beginning on July 1, 2020, all newly constructed buildings and all transferred buildings shall comply with the building standards developed pursuant to this section.
(d) As used in this section:
(1) “Building” has the same meaning as defined in Section 18908 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) “Building standards” has the same meaning as defined in Section 18909 of the Health and Safety Code.

SEC. 3.

 Division 33 (commencing with Section 55500) is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

DIVISION 33. Fire Hardened Homes Revolving Loan Fund

55500.
 As used in this division:
(a) “Eligible building” means a building existing as of January 1, 2020, and containing not more than one unit that is intended for human habitation.
(b) “Eligible costs” means all costs, including costs of design, preparation, and inspection, incurred in the following:
(1) Replacing or installing the following:
(A) Ember-resistent vents.
(B) Fire-resistant roofing.
(C) Fire-resistant siding.
(2) Establishing a noncombustible zone of three feet around an eligible building.
(3) Tree removal within 100 feet of an eligible building.

55501.
 (a) There is established in the State Treasury the Fire Hardened Homes Revolving Loan Fund. Moneys in the fund shall, upon appropriation by the Legislature, be made available to the ____ to provide financing to local agencies to make no- or low-interest loans to owners of eligible buildings to pay for eligible costs of fire hardening, if the legislative body of the local agency makes one of the following findings:
(1) (A) The owner to whom financing would be made available pursuant to this division is unable to qualify for or could not afford financing for eligible costs from private lending institutions.
(B) The legislative body of the local agency may also make no- or low- interest loans to an owner who is able to qualify or afford financing as long as priority is given to owners described in subparagraph (A).
(2) Absent the availability of financing pursuant to this division, the eligible building would pose a health and safety risk to its occupants.
(b) Financing provided by a local agency pursuant to this division shall not, when combined with existing liens on the property, exceed 80 percent of the current appraised value of the property, as determined by an independent, certified appraiser, unless existing lienholders consent in writing to a higher loan-to-value ratio. Notice of the intention to provide financing to the owner of the property shall be given to existing lienholders of record not less than 30 days before any vote of the local agency authorizing the provision of financing to the owner of the property.

SEC. 4.

 The sum of one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) is hereby transferred from the General Fund to the Fire Hardened Homes Revolving Loan Fund to provide no- or low-interest loans to owners of eligible buildings for the eligible costs of fire hardening pursuant to Division 33 (commencing with Section 55500) of the Health and Safety Code.

SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
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