BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2761
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  April 19, 2010

                                Wesley Chesbro, Chair
              AB 2761 (Committee on Natural Resources) - As Introduced:   
                                  February 23, 2010
          SUBJECT  :  Department of Conservation.

           SUMMARY  :  Clarifies that the State Geologist may enter into  
          certain technical geologic contracts with school districts,  
          among other entities; deletes the requirement that the Attorney  
          General must be the legal advisor for the Division of Oil, Gas  
          and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Creates the State Mining and Geology Board (Board) and  
            authorizes the Board to nominate, and the Director of the  
            Department to appoint a State Geologist, who is required to  
            advise the Director regarding technical, scientific, and  
            engineering issues, including the scientific quality of the  
            division's products and activities.

          2)Creates the California Geological Survey (CGS) as the primary  
            state agency responsible for geologic hazard review and  
            investigation, including investigation of seismological,  
            geological, and strong motion aspects of earthquakes and other  
            geologic hazards.

          3)Requires the Attorney General (AG) to be the legal advisor for  
            the DOGGR in the Department and to perform necessary legal  

           THIS BILL  :

          1)Clarifies that the State Geologist may enter into grant or  
            cooperative agreements and contracts with governmental,  
            including school districts, and nongovernmental entities to  
            provide technical, analytic, and research services related to  
            geologic hazards directly to those entities.

          2)Deletes the requirement that the AG must be the legal advisor  
            for DOGGR.


                                                                  AB 2761
                                                                  Page  2

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :

           1)CGS contracting fix  : The CGS routinely contracts with state  
            and federal governmental entities for a variety of geological  
            services.  However, because of a technical drafting error, the  
            current mechanism that allows CGS to contract with some  
            governmental organizations must be clarified to provide the  
            flexibility needed to accommodate a variety of governmental  
            needs related to the study and assessment of geologic and  
            seismic hazards.  Of particular concern are contracts with  
            school districts for geologic hazard assessment.  Although the  
            department has implied authority for such contracts, the  
            absence of express statutory language may invite unwarranted  
            challenges and subject CGS to unnecessary costs.

          Since 1990, the Department of General Services (DGS), Division  
            of the State Architect (DSA) has contracted with CGS to  
            provide the required independent, technical reviews of  
            geologic hazard reports and proposed mitigations for school  
            construction plans.  DSA has historically secured CGS'  
            assistance for these reviews through interagency agreements,  
            and has provided direct reimbursement to CGS.  Funding for CGS  
            review has traditionally been provided from the fees paid by  
            school districts directly to DSA for the entire review of  
            district construction plans.

            Due to a recent policy change made by DSA regarding the review  
            of school construction plans, CGS must work directly with, and  
            seek funding from school districts for reviews of geologic  
            hazard reports and proposed mitigations associated with  
            proposed school construction projects.  This requires the  
            execution of individual contracts with school districts for  
            each such review.

           2)DOGGR and legal services  :  Most agencies, with the exception  
            of the DOGGR, rely on the AG for litigation services only.   
            However, existing law, a relic of 1939, requires the AG to  
            perform all legal services for DOGGR, including review of  
            permits, proposed regulations, environmental impact reports,  
            and communications associated with public records requests;  
            advising DOGGR management on policy or regulatory changes; and  
            coordinating response to subpoenas, among other things.  These  
            services are more appropriate for the Department's in-house  


                                                                  AB 2761
                                                                  Page  3

            counsel to perform.  By deleting section 3102 of the Public  
            Resources Code, DOGGR would be represented by the AG in  
            litigation matters pursuant to section 11040 et seq. of the  
            Government Code.


          None on file

          None on file

          Analysis Prepared by  :  Dan Chia / NAT. RES. / (916) 319-2092