BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 811
                                                                  Page  1

          AB 811 (Lowenthal)
          As Amended  June 3, 2013
          Majority vote
          |ASSEMBLY:  |75-0 |(May 13, 2013)  |SENATE: |38-0 |(August 15,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
           Original Committee Reference:    B.,P. & C.P.  

           SUMMARY  :  Requires regional notification centers to compile and  
          make available on their Internet Web sites an annual report  
          based on statewide information from operators and excavators  
          regarding mishaps and violations related to excavation. 

           The Senate amendments:
          1)Require regional notification centers to compile and make  
            available on their Internet Web sites an annual report based  
            on statewide information from operators and excavators  
            regarding facility events. 
          2)Define the term "facility event" to mean "the occurrence of  
            excavator downtime, damages, near misses, and violations."

          3)Define the term "statewide information" to mean "information  
            submitted by operators and excavators using the California  
            Regional Common Ground Alliance's Virtual Private Damage  
            Information Reporting Tool. Supplied data shall comply with  
            the Damage Information Reporting Tool's minimum essential  
            information as listed in the Common Ground Alliance's most  
            recent Best Practices Handbook."

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Purpose of this bill  .  This bill requires regional excavation  
            notification centers to compile and post on their Internet Web  
            sites an annual report based on information from operators and  
            excavators regarding damage, near misses, violations and  
            downtime in excavation.  The author contends that reporting  


                                                                  AB 811
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            and collection of excavation violation data by regulatory  
            entities is inconsistent and should be made publicly available  
            due to the dangers that excavation violations can present to  
            the public.  This bill is sponsored by the Underground Service  
            Alert of Northern California and Nevada, and the Underground  
            Service Alert of Southern California. 

           2)Author's statement  .  According to the author's office, "AB 811  
            requires the regional notification centers to post dig-in  
            related information on their Web sites?  Many excavators fail  
            to notify the [regional] call centers of their intent to  
            perform excavation activity [in violation of existing law].   
            In addition, many [excavators] fail to properly excavate near  
            the properly marked facilities.  The most significant  
            violation is beginning excavation prior to receiving a  
            response detailing any subsurface facilities.  These  
            violations cause millions of dollars in damages.  

            "There are thousands of dig-in incidents that happen every  
            year, we just don't learn about them.  California does not  
            have any statewide data on dig-in incidents.  This information  
            will help the Legislature evaluate and identify the  
            deficiencies in current law, allowing us to make better public  
            policy decisions." 

           3)Regional notification centers and excavation  .  A regional  
            notification center is a non-profit association or other  
            organization of operators of subsurface installations that  
            provide advance warning of excavations or other work close to  
            existing subsurface installations, for the purpose of  
            protecting those installations from damage, removal,  
            relocation, or repair. 

            According to the Contractors' State License Board, "[d]amage  
            to underground structures may result in the disruption of  
            essential services and pose a threat to workers, the public  
            and environmental safety.  The purpose of the center is to  
            provide a single telephone number that excavators can use to  
            give the center's members advance notification of their intent  
            to excavate.  The operators of the underground installations  
            are then responsible for providing information about the  
            locations of the facility, or marking or staking the  
            approximate location of their facility, or advising the  
            excavator of clearance.  The operators are only responsible  
            for any facility they own." 


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            Current law requires an individual or entity wishing to  
            perform an excavation and dig, drill, or bore below the ground  
            to inform the regional notification center of a planned  
            excavation so owners of underground facilities in the area can  
            mark their facilities and prevent excavators from damaging  
            their property.  Regional notification centers in California  
            include the South Shore Utility Coordinating Council, the  
            Underground Service Alert - Northern California, and the  
            Underground Service Alert - Southern California.  The author's  
            office has provided examples of fatalities, fires,  
            evacuations, and damages resulting from excavators severing  
            underground gas pipelines.

            Contractors who do not need an excavation permit are exempt  
            from excavation notification requirements.  Excavators who  
            damage subsurface installations are required to notify  
            operators and, depending on the severity, 911 emergency  

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Hank Dempsey / B.,P. & C.P. / (916)  

                                                               FN: 0001722