BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 122
          Author:   Lieu (D)
          Amended:  As introduced
          Vote:     21


           SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER COMMITTEE  :  9-0, 4/9/13
          AYES:  Pavley, Cannella, Evans, Fuller, Hueso, Jackson, Lara,  
            Monning, Wolk

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 5/23/13
          AYES:  De León, Walters, Gaines, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
           
           
           SUBJECT  :    Vessels:  abandonment:  abatement

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill deletes the January 1, 2014 sunset date on  
          a pilot program that allows boat owners to voluntarily surrender  
          a vessel to a local agency at no cost, if that vessel is in  
          danger of being abandoned.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.Makes it an infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $3,000  
            and a minimum $500 fine for a person who abandons a vessel  
            upon a public waterway or public or private property without  
            the express or implied consent of the owner or person in  
            lawful possession or control of the property. 
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          2.Authorizes a public agency to sell or otherwise dispose of  
            certain vessels that are unseaworthy, or abandoned property  
            removed from a navigable waterway. 


          This bill:

          1.Deletes the January 1, 2014 sunset date on the program in  
            order to continue the voluntary turn-in program, where the  
            owner of a vessel can voluntarily turn it in to a local agency  
            rather than abandoning the boat.

          2.Deletes the provision that would have reduced the minimum fine  
            for abandonment of a vessel from $1000 to $500.

          3.Deletes an obsolete reporting requirement relating to the  
            department's duty to track and report to specified legislative  
            committees on the number of surrendered vessels accepted by a  
            public agency between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2013.

           Background
           
          California has the second largest number of state boat  
          registrations just after Florida.  Abandonment of vessels is a  
          major concern in California.  Vessel abandonment causes  
          environmental harm due to toxic chemical leakage into the  
          waterways and it is a hazard to navigation.

          The passage of AB 166 (Lieu, Chapter 416, Statutes of 2009),  
          created the pilot Vessel Turn-in Program that allowed boat  
          owners to voluntarily surrender a vessel to a public agency at  
          no cost to the owner, if that vessel is in danger of being  
          abandoned and thereby causing environmental degradation or a  
          navigational hazard.  The public agency may then immediately  
          sell or otherwise dispose of the vessel.  Any proceeds from the  
          sale of the vessel are deposited in the Abandoned Watercraft  
          Abatement Fund to be made available for grants, issued by the  
          Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), to local agencies for  
          the abatement, removal, storage, and disposal of any abandoned  
          vessels or to accept surrendered vessels.

          The DBW is required to report to the Legislature by July 1, 2013  
          on the number of vessels surrendered under this pilot program  

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          and on all expenditures from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement  
          Fund for surrendered vessel abatement between January 1, 2010  
          and January 1, 2013.




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

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, at least  
          $250,000 annually in costs and cost pressures to the Abandoned  
          Watercraft Abatement Fund (Special Fund) for grants.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/24/13)

          City of Santa Barbara 
          Contra Costa Sheriff
          Los Angeles County Sheriff
          Port San Luis Harbor District
          Recreational Boaters of California
          Student Policy Alliance


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :   According to the former Department of  
          Boating and Waterways (now a division at the Department of State  
          Parks and Recreation), the program has saved the state at least  
          50% of the cost of dismantling abandoned vessels.

          Recent statistics show that the program saves the state money.   
          The cost of disposing of a surrendered vessel compared to an  
          abandoned vessel is less, requiring fewer resources.  The  
          benefit of creating a vessel turn-in program is to avert the  
          environmental degradation that can occur when oil, fuel and  
          other chemicals, and raw sewage leak from a sunken or abandoned  
          vessel.

          The program has been quite successful and is still gaining  
          popularity among local agencies; last year the requested funding  
          far exceeded the available budget.

          Participating agencies have indicated that many of the vessels  
          received under the program would have likely been abandoned if  
          this program wasn't available.

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          RM:ej  5/24/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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