BILL NUMBER: ABX1 29	CHAPTERED
	BILL TEXT

	CHAPTER  8
	FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE  JULY 8, 2011
	APPROVED BY GOVERNOR  JULY 7, 2011
	PASSED THE SENATE  JUNE 15, 2011
	PASSED THE ASSEMBLY  JUNE 3, 2011
	AMENDED IN SENATE  JUNE 14, 2011

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Blumenfield

                        MAY 19, 2011

   An act to add Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 4210) to Part 2
of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, relating to public
resources, and making an appropriation therefor, to take effect
immediately, bill related to the budget.



	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 29, Blumenfield. State responsibility areas: fire prevention
fees.
   Existing law requires the state to have the primary financial
responsibility for preventing and suppressing fires in areas that the
State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has determined are state
responsibility areas.
   This bill would require the board, on or before September 1, 2011,
to adopt emergency regulations to establish a fire prevention fee in
an amount not to exceed $150 to be charged on each structure on a
parcel that is within a state responsibility area. The board would be
required to adjust the fire prevention fee annually using prescribed
methods.
   The bill would require the State Board of Equalization to collect
the fire prevention fees, as prescribed. The bill would require,
within 30 days of the effective date of its provisions, and each
January 1 thereafter, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
to transmit to the State Board of Equalization the appropriate names
and addresses of persons who are liable for the fire prevention fee
and the amount of the fire prevention fee to be assessed by the State
Board of Equalization.
   The bill would require the State Board of Equalization to collect
the fee commencing with the 2011-12 fiscal year. Commencing with the
2012-13 fiscal year, if there are sufficient amounts of moneys in the
State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund to finance the costs
of specified fire prevention activities for a fiscal year, the bill
would prohibit the State Board of Equalization from collecting the
fee for that fiscal year.
   The bill would establish the State Responsibility Area Fire
Prevention Fund and would require the fire prevention fees collected,
except that portion retained by the State Board of Equalization, to
be deposited into the fund and to be available, upon appropriation by
the Legislature, for certain specified fire prevention activities,
which would benefit the owners of structures in state responsibility
areas who are subject to the fire prevention fee, including, but not
limited to, covering startup costs, and for the costs of
administration, as specified.
   The State Board of Equalization would be required to retain and
expend, upon appropriation by the Legislature, the funds necessary to
pay refunds and for its expenses incurred in collection.
   This bill would require the board, on and after January 1, 2013,
to submit an annual written report to the Legislature on specified
topics.
   This bill would permit a person from whom a fire prevention fee is
determined to be due to use an appeals process and, if applicable, a
refund process that would be established by the bill.
   The bill would appropriate $1,000 from the General Fund to the
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for administrative costs
to implement its provisions.
   This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as a
bill providing for appropriations related to the Budget Bill.
   Appropriation: yes.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 4210) is added to
Part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
      CHAPTER 1.5.  STATE RESPONSIBILITY AREA FIRE PREVENTION FEES



      Article 1.  General Provisions


   4210.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
   (a) Fire protection of the public trust resources on lands in the
state responsibility areas remains a vital interest to California.
Lands that are covered in whole or in part by a diverse plant
community prevent excessive erosion, retard runoff, reduce
sedimentation, and accelerate water percolation to assist in the
maintenance of critical sources of water for environmental,
irrigation, domestic, or industrial uses.
   (b) The presence of structures within state responsibility areas
can pose an increased risk of fire ignition and an increased
potential for fire damage within the state's wildlands and
watersheds. The presence of structures within state responsibility
areas can also impair wild land firefighting techniques and could
result in greater damage to state lands caused by wildfires.
   (c) The costs of fire prevention activities aimed at reducing the
effects of structures in state responsibility areas should be borne
by the owners of these structures.
   (d) Individual owners of structures within state responsibility
areas receive a disproportionately larger benefit from fire
prevention activities than that realized by the state's citizens
generally.
   (e) It is the intent of the Legislature that the economic burden
of fire prevention activities that are associated with structures in
state responsibility areas shall be equitably distributed among the
citizens of the state who generally benefit from those activities and
those owners of structures in the state responsibility areas who
receive a specific benefit other than that general benefit.
   (f) It is necessary to impose a fire prevention fee to pay for
fire prevention activities in the state responsibility areas that
specifically benefit owners of structures in the state responsibility
areas.
   4211.  For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall
have the following meanings:
   (a) "Structure" means a building used or intended to be used for
human habitation. For purposes of this subdivision, a building
includes, but is not limited to, a mobilehome or manufactured home.
The board shall exclude from this definition building types that
require no structural fire protection services beyond those provided
to otherwise unimproved lands.
   (b) "State responsibility area" means state responsibility area as
defined in Section 4102.
   4212.  (a) (1) By September 1, 2011, the board shall adopt
emergency regulations to establish a fire prevention fee for the
purposes of this chapter in an amount not to exceed one hundred fifty
dollars ($150) to be charged on each structure on a parcel that is
within a state responsibility area.
   (2) The Legislature finds and declares that a fire prevention fee
of not more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150) is a reasonable
amount for the necessary fire prevention activities of the state that
benefit the owner of a structure within a state responsibility area.

   (b) On July 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, the board shall
adjust the fire prevention fees imposed pursuant to this chapter to
reflect the percentage of change in the average annual value of the
Implicit Price Deflator for State and Local Government Purchases of
Goods and Services for the United States, as calculated by the United
States Department of Commerce for the 12-month period in the third
quarter of the prior calendar year, as reported by the Department of
Finance.
   (c) Emergency regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (a)
shall be adopted in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of the
Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section
11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
The adoption of emergency regulations shall be deemed an emergency
and necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace,
health, and safety, or general welfare.
   4213.  (a) (1) Commencing with the 2011-12 fiscal year, the fire
prevention fee imposed pursuant to Section 4212 shall be collected
annually by the State Board of Equalization in accordance with the
Fee Collection Procedures Law (Part 30 (commencing with Section
55001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code).
   (2) Notwithstanding the appeal provisions in the Fee Collection
Procedures Law, a determination by the department that a person is
required to pay a fire prevention fee, or a determination by the
department regarding the amount of that fee, is subject to review
under Article 2 (commencing with Section 4220) and is not subject to
a petition for redetermination by the State Board of Equalization.
   (3) (A) Notwithstanding the refund provisions in the Fee
Collection Procedures Law, the State Board of Equalization shall not
accept any claim for refund that is based on the assertion that a
determination by the department improperly or erroneously calculated
the amount of the fire prevention fee, or incorrectly determined that
the person is subject to that fee, unless that determination has
been set aside by the department or a court reviewing the
determination of the department.
   (B) If it is determined by the department or a reviewing court
that a person is entitled to a refund of all or part of the fire
prevention fee, the person shall make a claim to the State Board of
Equalization pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 55221) of
Part 30 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
   (b) The annual fire prevention fee shall be due and payable 30
days from the date of assessment by the State Board of Equalization.
   (c) Within 30 days of the effective date of this chapter, the
department shall transmit to the State Board of Equalization, and
each January 1 thereafter, the appropriate name and address of each
person who is liable for the fire prevention fee and the amount of
the fee to be assessed, as authorized by this article, and at the
same time the department shall provide to the State Board of
Equalization a contact telephone number for the board to be printed
on the bill to respond to questions about the fee.
   (d) Commencing with the 2012-13 fiscal year, if in any given
fiscal year there are sufficient amounts of money in the State
Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund created pursuant to Section
4214 to finance the costs of the programs under subdivision (d) of
Section 4214 for that fiscal year, the fee may not be collected that
fiscal year.
   4214.  (a) Fire prevention fees collected pursuant to this chapter
shall be expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, as
follows:
   (1) The State Board of Equalization shall retain moneys necessary
for the payment of refunds pursuant to Section 4228 and reimbursement
of the State Board of Equalization for expenses incurred in the
collection of the fee.
   (2) The moneys collected, other than that retained by the State
Board of Equalization pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be deposited
into the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund, which is
hereby created in the State Treasury, and shall be available to the
board and the department to expend for fire prevention activities
specified in subdivision (d) that benefit the owners of structures
within a state responsibility area who are required to pay the fire
prevention fee. The amount expended to benefit the moneys of
structures within a state responsibility area shall be commensurate
with the amount collected from the owners within that state
responsibility area. All moneys in excess of the costs of
administration of the board and the department shall be expended only
for fire prevention activities in counties with state responsibility
areas.
   (b) (1) The fund may also be used to cover the costs of
administering this chapter.
   (2) The fund shall cover all startup costs incurred over a period
not to exceed two years.
   (c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the moneys in this
fund be fully appropriated to the board and the department each year
in order to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
   (d) Moneys in the fund shall be used only for the following fire
prevention activities, which shall benefit owners of structures
within the state responsibility areas who are required to pay the
annual fire prevention fee pursuant to this chapter:
   (1) Local assistance grants pursuant to subdivision (e).
   (2) Grants to Fire Safe Councils, the California Conservation
Corps, or certified local conservation corps for fire prevention
projects and activities in the state responsibility areas.
   (3) Grants to a qualified nonprofit organization with a
demonstrated ability to satisfactorily plan, implement, and complete
a fire prevention project applicable to the state responsibility
areas. The department may establish other qualifying criteria.
   (4) Inspections by the department for compliance with defensible
space requirements around structures in state responsibility areas as
required by Section 4291.
   (5) Public education to reduce fire risk in the state
responsibility areas.
   (6) Fire severity and fire hazard mapping by the department in the
state responsibility areas.
   (7) Other fire prevention projects in the state responsibility
areas, authorized by the board.
   (e) (1) The board shall establish a local assistance grant program
for fire prevention activities designed to benefit structures within
state responsibility areas, including public education, that are
provided by counties and other local agencies, including special
districts, with state responsibility areas within their
jurisdictions.
   (2) In order to ensure an equitable distribution of funds, the
amount of each grant shall be based on the number of structures in
state responsibility areas for which the applicant is legally
responsible and the amount of moneys made available in the annual
Budget Act for this local assistance grant program.
   (f) By January 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, the board shall
submit to the Legislature a written report on the status and uses of
the fund pursuant to this chapter. The written report shall also
include an evaluation of the benefits received by counties based on
the number of structures in state responsibility areas within their
jurisdictions, the effectiveness of the board's grant programs, the
number of defensible space inspections in the reporting period, the
degree of compliance with defensible space requirements, measures to
increase compliance, if any, and any recommendations to the
Legislature.
   (g) (1) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under
subdivision (f) is inoperative on January 1, 2017, pursuant to
Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
   (2) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (f) shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
   (h) It is essential that this article be implemented without
delay. To permit timely implementation, the department may contract
for services related to the establishment of the fire prevention fee
collection process. For this purpose only, and for a period not to
exceed 24 months, the provisions of the Public Contract Code or any
other provision of law related to public contracting shall not apply.


      Article 2.  Appeals Process


   4220.  A person from whom the fire prevention fee is determined to
be due under this chapter may petition for a redetermination of
whether this chapter applies to that person within 30 days after
service upon him or her of a notice of the determination. If a
petition for redetermination is not filed within the 30-day period,
the amount determined to be due becomes final at the expiration of
the 30-day period.
   4221.  Each petition for redetermination of the application of
this chapter shall be in writing and be sent to the department, the
board, and the State Board of Equalization. The petition shall state
the specific grounds upon which the petition is founded and include
supporting documentation. The petition may be amended to state
additional grounds or provide additional documentation at any time
prior to the date that the department issues its order or decision
with regard to the petition for redetermination.
   4222.  If a petition for redetermination of the application of
this chapter is filed within the 30-day period, the department shall
reconsider whether the fee is due and make a determination in
writing. The department may eliminate the fee based on a
determination that this chapter does not apply to the person who
filed the petition.
   4222.5.  If a timely petition for redetermination has been filed
pursuant to Section 4220, all legal action to collect the fire
prevention fee shall be stayed pending the final determination of the
department pursuant to Section 4224.
   4223.  Notice of the determination of the department pursuant to
Section 4222 shall be served, on the same date, to the board, the
State Board of Equalization, and the person who filed the petition.
   4224.  The order or decision of the department upon a petition for
redetermination of the fire prevention fee shall become final 30
days after service upon the petitioner of notice of the
determination.
   4225.  The fire prevention fee determined to be due by the
department under this article is due and payable at the time it
becomes final, and if it is not paid when due and payable,
notwithstanding the penalty imposed pursuant to Section 55042 of the
Revenue and Taxation Code, a penalty of 20 percent of the fee
determined to be due shall be added to the amount due and payable for
each 30-day period in which the fee remains unpaid.
   4226.  Written notice required by this article shall be served as
follows:
   (a) The notice shall be placed in a sealed envelope, with postage
paid, addressed to the petitioner at his or her address as it appears
in the records of the department. The giving of notice shall be
deemed complete at the time of the deposit of the notice in a United
States Post Office, or a mailbox, subpost office, substation, mail
chute, or other facility regularly maintained or provided by the
United States Postal Service without extension of time for any
reason.
   (b) In lieu of mailing, a notice may be served personally by
delivering it to the person to be served and service shall be deemed
complete at the time of delivery. Personal service to a corporation
may be made by delivery of a notice to any person designated in the
Code of Civil Procedure to be served for the corporation with summons
and complaint in a civil action.
   4227.  A dispute regarding the fire prevention fee imposed by this
chapter shall be resolved pursuant to this article only.
   4228.  If the department determines that a person is entitled to a
refund of all or part of the fire prevention fee paid pursuant to
this chapter, the person shall make a claim to the State Board of
Equalization pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 55221) of
Part 30 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
  SEC. 2.  There is hereby appropriated one thousand dollars ($1,000)
from the General Fund to the Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection for administrative costs to implement this act.
  SEC. 3.  This act is a bill providing for appropriations related to
the Budget Bill within the meaning of subdivision (e) of Section 12
of Article IV of the California Constitution, has been identified as
related to the budget in the Budget Bill, and shall take effect
immediately.