BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2761
                                                                  Page  1

          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 2761 (Natural Resources Committee)
          As Amended  June 3, 2010
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |76-0 |(May 13, 2010)  |SENATE: |34-0 |(August 27,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2010)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:   NAT RES.  

           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 (AG) must be the legal advisor for the Division of Oil,  
          Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).  

           The Senate amendments  update the Urban Forestry Act by modifying  
          the definition of "urban forestry" to include non-tree  
          vegetation, and by facilitating equipment loans to aid local or  
          regional urban forestry projects including green waste  
          utilization.
           
          EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Creates the State Mining and Geology Board (Board) and  
            authorizes the Board to nominate, and the Director of the  
            Department of Conservation (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 AG to be the legal advisor for the DOGGR in the  
            Department and to perform necessary legal services.

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:

          1)Clarified that the State Geologist may enter into grant or  








                                                                  AB 2761
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            cooperative agreements and contracts with governmental  
            entities, including school districts, and nongovernmental  
            entities to provide technical, analytic, and research services  
            related to geologic hazards directly to those entities.

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

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, this bill has  
          negligible state costs.

           COMMENTS  :  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.

          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,  








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

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :  Jessica Westbrook / NAT. RES. / (916)  
          319-2092 


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