BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 151
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          Date of Hearing:  April 3, 2013

                           K.H. "Katcho" Achadjian, Chair
                  AB 151 (Olsen) - As Introduced:  January 18, 2013
          SUBJECT  :  Local government: fee waiver: disabled veterans.

          SUMMARY  :   Allows a governing board of any county or city to  
          grant financial assistance, relief, and support to disabled  
          veterans by reducing or waiving specified fees for modifying a  
          dwelling for the purpose of making the dwelling more accessible.  
           Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Allows a governing board of any county or city to grant  
            financial assistance, relief, and support to disabled veterans  
            by reducing or waiving building inspection or permit fees  
            charged by the county or city for the modification of a  
            dwelling owned by a disabled veteran for the purpose of making  
            the dwelling more accessible.

          2)Requires the governing body to use its general fund or other  
            appropriate revenue source to compensate for the difference  
            between a fee reduced or waived pursuant to the bill's  
            provisions and the fee that would otherwise be charged.

          3)Uses the same definition for "disabled veteran" as existing  
            law, which is defined as "a veteran of the military, naval, or  
            air service of the United States, including, but not limited  
            to, the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the Regular Scouts, 'Old  
            Scouts,' and the Special Philippine Scouts, 'New Scouts,' who  
            has at least a 10-percent service-connected disability and who  
            is domiciled in the state."

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Allows the board of supervisors of any county or the  
            legislative body of any city to grant financial assistance,  
            relief, and support to indigent veterans, and specifies that  
            such assistance, relief, and support shall be administered  
            through and by any military, naval, or marine organization  
            created for the purpose of aiding, relieving and supporting  
            such veterans.

          2)Allows eligible veterans to hawk, peddle and vend any goods,  


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            wares or merchandise owned by him, as specified, without  
            payment of any business license, tax or fee by any  
            municipality, county or the state.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)This bill allows cities and counties to waive certain local  
            government fees for disabled veterans for the modification of  
            a dwelling owned by the disabled veteran for the purpose of  
            making the dwelling more accessible.  According to the author,  
            "Each county is entitled to collect fees for home  
            modifications, improvements, and inspections.  Many military  
            members who have returned home from active duty must retrofit  
            their homes in some fashion to accommodate disabilities and  
            other injuries sustained during service.  The process is often  

          drawn out and expensive.  This becomes a burden for those who  
            are trying to readjust to civilian life?Counties are able to  
            waive fees for low-income veterans, but would like to be able  
            to extend this service to disabled veterans."

          2)The Committee may wish to consider whether this bill should  
            include a definition of the term "accessible" as is used in  
            the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide  
            clarification to cities and counties about the types of  
            modifications that could qualify for reduced or waived fees.

          3)This bill contains provisions ensuring that the burden of any  
            reduced or waived fees is not placed on other fee payers, but  
            is borne by the city's or county's general fund or other  
            appropriate revenue source.

          4)California offers several programs targeted to benefit the  
            needs of veterans.  According to the California Department of  
            Veterans Affairs, there are programs in place that waive  
            college tuition fees for veterans' dependents at community  
            colleges, the CSU and UC system, a Disabled Veteran Business  
            Enterprise Program, and a program that gives veterans  
            preference in civil service examinations.  Additionally, there  
            are programs that waive motor vehicle registration fees,  
            provide free "DV" handicap parking license plates for  
            qualified veterans, allow for reduced fishing and hunting  
            license fees for veterans, provide lifetime California Parks  


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            passes, and allow for a waiver of municipal, county and state  
            business license fees and taxes for veterans for specified  
            business activities.  This bill could potentially add  
            additional benefits for those disabled veterans that wish to  
            modify their homes, if the county in which the disabled  
            veteran lives chooses to waive or reduce building inspection  
            or permit fees.

          5)This bill is substantially similar to AB 1152 (Olsen) of 2012,  
            which passed this committee on a vote of 9-0 on March 21,  
            2012.  AB 1152 was held in Senate Rules.

           6)Support arguments  :  This bill sets up a program that is  
            permissive in nature and allows cities and counties to help  
            with the financial aspects of modifying and upgrading  
            dwellings owned by veterans.

             Opposition arguments  :  While this bill is permissive and does  
            not require local governments to reduce or waive fees, there  
            is some question about whether legislation is needed to allow  
            local governments to waive or reduce fees.



          American Legion-Department of California
          AMVETS-Department of California


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          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers
          California State Association of Counties (CSAC)
          California State Commanders Veterans Council
          Rural County Representatives of California
          VFW-Department of California
          Vietnam Veterans of America-California State Council

          None on file
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958