BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 2361|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2361
          Author:   Ruskin (D)
          Amended:  4/29/10 in Assembly
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE BUS., PROF. & ECON. DEV. COMMITTEE  :  5-1, 6/28/10
          AYES:  Negrete McLeod, Aanestad, Corbett, Florez, Yee
          NOES:  Correa
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Wyland, Calderon, Walters

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  67-3, 5/10/10 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Weights and measures:  inspection:  fees

           SOURCE :     California Agricultural Commissioners and  
          Sealers Assoc.


           DIGEST  :    This bill extends the sunset date on the  
          authority of the board of supervisors of a county to charge  
          fees to recover the costs of the county sealer to perform  
          specified duties until January 1, 2013.

           ANALYSIS  :    

           Existing law  

          1. Provides that the Department of Food and Agriculture  
             (DFA) has general enforcement supervision of the laws  
             relating to weights and measures and measuring devices,  
             and provides for the enforcement of those laws and the  
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             inspection and testing of measuring devices, in each  
             county, by the county sealer.

          2. Requires the county sealer to inspect and test weighing  
             and measuring devices that are used or sold in the  
             county and that are used for commercial purposes and to  
             weigh or measure packages used for commercial purposes  
             to determine whether they contain the amount  
             represented.

          3. Authorizes the county board of supervisors to charge an  
             annual registration fee for the inspection and testing  
             of weighing and measuring devices, including:  retail  
             gas pump meters, livestock and feed scales, motor truck  
             scales, utility meters, liquefied petroleum gas meters,  
             vehicle meters, and all other commercial weighing and  
             measuring devices, and makes specified exceptions.

          4. Establishes a fee schedule, providing for maximum annual  
             amounts which may be charged for device registration,  
             and specifies that all revenues collected shall be  
             deposited into the county's general fund and used solely  
             for the purpose of device inspection and testing.

          5. Repeals ("sunsets") the authority to charge registration  
             fees for weighing and measuring devices on January 1,  
             2011.

          This bill extends the sunset date on the authority of the  
          board of supervisors of a county to charge fees to recover  
          the costs of the county sealer to perform specified duties  
          until January 1, 2013.

           Background

           Current law allows county boards of supervisors to  
          establish fees for business locations to partially fund  
          local weights and measures enforcement programs.  The fees  
          are the single largest source of revenue for the county  
          program outside the County General Fund.  The statute will  
          sunset in January 1, 2011.

          The authority for weights and measures registration fees  
          was passed by the Legislature in 1982 to provide funding  

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          for weights and measures inspection activities.  The law  
          was amended in 1983, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996,  
          1998, and 2005 to add additional devices to the  
          registration program and to adjust the schedule of maximum  
          fees.  The section now applies to virtually all weighing  
          and measuring devices used commercially.  The only  
          exceptions are farm milk tanks, which are specifically  
          exempted, and check out scanners, which are not considered  
          weighing or measuring devices.

          The range of weighing and measuring devices included in the  
          registration program currently includes retail fuel  
          dispensing meters; water meters; electric meters that  
          measure electricity that is sub-metered by a mobile home  
          park; apartment complex, or boat dock; liquefied petroleum  
          gas meters or gas vapor meters that are-sub-metered; truck  
          scales, cattle scales and grocery counter scales; taxi  
          meters; and a variety of other devices that weigh or meter  
          a commodity offered for sale.  The sunset date on the  
          device registration fees has been extended in 1985, 1987,  
          1988, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2000 and finally again in 2005.

           Prior Legislation
           
          AB 889 (Ruskin), Chapter 529, Statutes of 2005, by the same  
          sponsor, extends the sunset date to January 1, 2011,  
          establishes a gradual increase in the fees that may be  
          adopted by a board of supervisors in order to more fully  
          fund the local weights and measure device inspection  
          program.  The bill also establishes a two-tiered fee  
          schedule that provides both a location fee and a device fee  
          to more effectively capture the cost of the initial device  
          inspection.

          SB 1644 (Kelley), Chapter 592, Statutes of 1994, by the  
          same sponsor, establishes the current administrative fine  
          provisions for weights and measures.  At that time CACSA  
          introduces the bill in order to allow the county sealer to  
          handle many minor violations without having to involve  
          prosecution by the District Attorney (DA).  DAs often do  
          not have the resources available to pursue minor violations  
          and most businesses prefer to resolve these issues in a low  
          key (without publicity) way.  The possibility of issuing  
          administrative fines has proven to be an effective  

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          incentive to obtain compliance in areas where there are  
          relatively isolated or less serious violations.  Repeated  
          violations can still be referred to the DA for action.

          AB 1810 (Wiggins), Chapter 512, Statues of 2000, also by  
          the same sponsor, extends the sunset dates on the civil  
          penalty authority and on device registration fees.

          SB 189 (Kelley), Chapter 476, Statutes of 1997, extends the  
          sunset date to January 1, 2001.

          AB 1728 (Murray), Chapter 47, Statutes of 1995, extended  
          the sunset date to January 1, 1998.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  6/29/10)

          California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers  
          Association (source)
          American Federation of State, County, and Municipal  
          Employees
          California State Association of Counties
          Regional Council of Rural Counties
          Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
          San Diego County Board of Supervisors

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the sponsor of the  
          bill, California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers  
          Association (CACASA), the bill was introduced as a vehicle  
          to address the upcoming sunset of the device registration  
          program and also as a catalyst to spur dialogue between  
          county sealers and affected industry groups.  As the bill  
          moves forward, the Association will welcome all affected  
          industry groups to trade information and assess the  
          efficiencies and best practices utilized during the  
          expansion of the program since 2005.

          CACASA commits to working with all interested parties, but  
          will not sacrifice the integrity of the program or dilute  
          the oversight that sealers provide the public.  If a device  
          is being used to assess a charge on a customer, it must be  
          accurate."

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          The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, states that  
          over 77,900 commercial weighing and measuring devices are  
          used by 3,500 businesses in Santa Clara County, and county  
          staff conducts over 17,700 inspections and certifications  
          for these devices each year.  Program fees generate  
          approximately $790,000 which supplements the local general  
          fund contribution.  Consumers rely on the program to test  
          commercial devices, as they have no means to check the  
          accuracy of a gas pump, taxi meter, or a computing scale at  
          a supermarket.  The extension of the fee is vital for the  
          protection of consumers against fraud in the marketplace,  
          and for promotion of equity in the business community.


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Adams, Ammiano, Arambula, Bass, Beall, Bill  
            Berryhill, Blakeslee, Block, Blumenfield, Bradford,  
            Brownley, Buchanan, Caballero, Charles Calderon, Carter,  
            Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Coto, Davis, De Leon, Emmerson,  
            Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes, Fuller,  
            Furutani, Galgiani, Garrick, Gilmore, Hagman, Hall,  
            Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Huber, Huffman, Jeffries,  
            Jones, Lieu, Logue, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Monning, Nava,  
            Nestande, Niello, Nielsen, V. Manuel Perez, Portantino,  
            Ruskin, Salas, Silva, Skinner, Smyth, Audra Strickland,  
            Swanson, Torlakson, Torres, Torrico, Tran, Villines,  
            Yamada, John A. Perez
          NOES:  Anderson, Knight, Miller
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Tom Berryhill, De La Torre, DeVore,  
            Gaines, Harkey, Mendoza, Norby, Saldana, Solorio, Vacancy


          JJA:do  6/30/10   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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