BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 683
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 683 (Mullin)
          As Amended  August 12, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |54-22|(May 9, 2013)   |SENATE: |23-12|(September 3,  |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:    L. GOV.  

           SUMMARY  :  Authorizes, until January 1, 2020, a city, county, or  
          special district, after notice and public hearing, to impose a  
          special assessment and to record a lien against real property  
          that has incurred fines or penalties for violating public health  
          and safety ordinances.  

           The Senate amendments  extend the bill's authority to special  
          districts and specify that the county, rather than the tax  
          collector, may send a notice of enforcement to the property  
          owner.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Allows the legislative body of a city, county, school  
            district, municipal corporation, district, political  
            subdivision, or any board, commission, or agency thereof, or  
            other local public agency to make any violation of any  
            ordinance enacted by the legislative body subject to an  
            administrative fine or penalty.

          2)Allows cities and counties to establish by ordinance a  
            procedure to collect nuisance abatement costs and related  
            administrative costs by a nuisance abatement lien or a special  
            assessment.

          3)Allows a county board of supervisors to delegate its powers  
            and duties to establish a nuisance abatement procedure to a  
            hearing officer pursuant to statutory provisions governing  
            hearing officers.

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:  

          1)Authorized a city, county, or city and county, after notice  








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            and public hearing, to order unpaid fines or penalties to be  
            specially assessed against a parcel if the fines or penalties  
            are related to ordinance violations on the real property that  
            constitute a threat to public health and safety.

          2)Required the city, county, or city and county to mail or  
            deliver notice of the hearing at least 15 days beforehand to  
            the parcel owner.  Ownership of the parcel shall be determined  
            by the latest assessment roll, the records of the county  
            assessor, or the records of the tax collector, whichever is  
            most recent.

          3)Allowed the assessment to be collected at the same time and in  
            the same manner as ordinary county taxes and subjects the  
            assessment to the same penalties, procedure and sale in case  
            of delinquency as are provided for ordinary county taxes.

          4)Declared that all laws applicable to the levy, collection, and  
            enforcement of county taxes apply to the special assessment,  
            except that the special assessment is not subject to the  
            priority for special assessment liens pursuant to current law.  
             

          5)Provided that the assessment does not constitute a lien on the  
            real property until a notice of lien is recorded pursuant to  
            this bill's provisions.

          6)Provided that, if any administrative fine or penalty remains  
            unpaid for 10 days after a public hearing, as specified in the  
            bill, the county tax collector may send the owner of the  
            parcel via certified mail a notice of enforcement stating that  
            if payment has not been received within 45 days following the  
            date of the notice, a lien will be recorded.  If, after the  
            45-day period following the notice, the fine or penalty has  
            not been paid, the city, county, or city and county may  
            specially assess the cost of the administrative fines or  
            penalties against the parcel and record a notice of lien to  
            perfect the lien.  The notice of lien must identify the  
            assessor's parcel number and record owner, set forth the last  
            known address of the record owner, set forth the date upon  
            which assessment was ordered by the city, county, or city and  
            county, and identify the amount of the lien.  

          7)Declared that recordation of a notice of lien has the same  
            effect as recordation of an abstract of a money judgment.  The  








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            lien against the parcel has the same force, effect, and  
            priority as a judgment lien on real property.  The city,  
            county, or city and county, or any authorized officer may  
            release or subordinate the lien in the same manner as  
            releasing or subordinating a judgment lien on real property.

          8)Authorized a city, county, or city and county, by ordinance,  
            to combine the administrative procedures that govern the  
            imposition, enforcement, collection, and administrative review  

          of administrative fines and penalties with existing nuisance  
            abatement procedures authorized in statute for cities and  
            counties.

          9)Provided that the administrative procedures adopted by  
            ordinance governing the imposition, enforcement, collection,  
            and administrative review of administrative fines and  
            penalties may authorize the appointment of hearing officers to  
            hear and decide these issues.

          10)Declared that the powers given to the legislative body of a  
            city, county, or city and county pursuant to this bill and  
            existing law governing the imposition, enforcement,  
            collection, and administrative review of administrative fines  
            and penalties is in addition to any other powers of a city,  
            county, or city and county under its charter or any other  
            legal authority.

          11)Sunsetted the bill's provisions on January 1, 2020.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None 

           COMMENTS  :  This bill authorizes a city, county, or special  
          district, after notice and public hearing, to specially assess  
          and record a notice of lien for fines or penalties related to  
          ordinance violations that constitute a threat to public health  
          and safety on the real property for which the fines or penalties  
          are being assessed or recorded, if the owner of the real  
          property fails to pay those fines or penalties after demand by  
          the city, county, or special district.  According to the author,  
          "AB 683 closes the loop on an anomaly where cities and counties  
          can recover their costs for code enforcement by way of lien or  
          tax assessment - but are not able to similarly enforce fines.   
          AB 683 allows local governments to enforce local law against  
          those that are in violation of local health and safety  








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          ordinances."

          Current law allows cities and counties to establish, by  
          ordinance, procedures to recover their costs for abating  
          nuisance conditions on private property.  They can do this via a  
          special assessment or a nuisance abatement lien, and must follow  
          specified notice and (for counties) public hearing requirements  
          beforehand.  Assessments can be collected on the property tax  
          bill, subject to the same penalties, procedures and sale in case  
          of delinquency as for ordinary county or municipal taxes.  All  
          laws regarding the levy, collection and enforcement of county or  
          city taxes apply to the special assessment.  Nuisance abatement  
          liens, once recorded, have the same effect as a judgment lien.  

          Cities and counties may also impose administrative fines or  
          penalties for violations of their ordinances if they adopt an  
          ordinance that specifies the administrative procedures that  
          govern the imposition, enforcement, collection and  
          administrative review of these fines and penalties.  If a fine  
          or penalty remains unpaid, local agencies must go to court to  
          collect.  Supporters note that the court process is lengthy and  
          costly for local jurisdictions to pursue.  This bill provides  
          mechanisms that local jurisdictions may use to collect fines and  
          penalties that mirror the procedures that current law allows for  
          nuisance abatement cost recovery. 

          The Legislature has approved similar bills twice:  AB 129  
          (Beall) of 2011 and AB 2613 (Beall) of 2010 contained nearly  
          identical provisions.  Both bills were vetoed.  The veto message  
          for AB 129 stated:

          "At a time when property owners are struggling to pay their  
          mortgages, this bill would weaken the due process requirements  
          for local building departments to obtain property liens.  Local  
          governments already have a fair process in place, and I see no  
          reason to change it."

          The Legislature may wish to ask the author and sponsor how they  
          plan to address concerns raised in the previous veto messages.

          Support arguments:  Supporters argue that allowing local  
          governments to collect unpaid administrative fines/penalties  
          through the property tax collection system and to combine their  
          administrative fine/penalty and nuisance abatement processes  
          provides local agencies with a more efficient collection  








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          mechanism than civil litigation.

          Opposition arguments:  Opposition could argue that liens are a  
          powerful tool that should only be used in the most limited  
          circumstances.  Expanding the liabilities for which a lien may  
          be imposed to include fines could offer incentives for local  
          governments to increase fines and set a precedent for further  
          expansion of special assessments and liens.  

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958 


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