BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 902|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  SB 902
          Author:   Ashburn (R)
          Amended:  3/11/10
          Vote:     21

           SENATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 4/7/10
          AYES:  Cox, Aanestad, Kehoe, DeSaulnier, Price

           SUBJECT  :    Fire protection:  county regulation

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill reduces, from 1 million to 400,000,  
          the population threshold that a county must meet to be able  
          to regulate the formation, continued existence, and ongoing  
          operations of fire companies. 

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law authorizes boards of supervisors  
          in counties with populations above 1 million, by ordinance,  
          regulate the formation, continued existence, and ongoing  
          operation of fire companies in unincorporated areas.   
          Currently, the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange,  
          Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda,  
          Sacramento, and Contra Costa have populations of more than  
          1,000,000.  Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Bernardino  
          counties have adopted these ordinances.

          In the beginning there were fire companies.  Before the  


                                                                SB 902

          arrival of fire protection districts, which are public  
          agencies, residents of cities and unincorporated towns  
          organized unpaid fire companies.  Volunteer fire companies  
          in unincorporated areas organize by annually filing a  
          certificate, containing specified information, with the  
          county's Fire and Rescue Operational Area Coordinator, or  
          with another county agency as designated by ordinance.  A  
          county board of supervisors may require an updated or  
          second filing each year.

          A court recently held Kern County liable for a workers'  
          compensation claim by a member of a volunteer fire company  
          which had registered with the County.  Kern County  
          officials say that if they're liable for claims, then they  
          want to regulate volunteer fire companies' risk management  
          practices and their role in the County's emergency plans.

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

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          by authorizing counties with populations of at least  
          400,000 to regulate volunteer fire companies, this bill  
          gives this regulatory power to 12 additional counties:   
          Fresno, Ventura, San Francisco, Kern, San Mateo, San  
          Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sonoma, Tulare, Santa Barbara,  
          Monterey, and Solano.  It is only fair that if counties are  
          liable for volunteer fire companies' actions, they should  
          have a say in their operations.

          AGB:mw  4/8/10   Senate Floor Analyses 


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