Senate BillNo. 135

Introduced by Senator Padilla

January 28, 2013

An act to add Section 8587.8 to the Government Code, relating to earthquake safety.


SB 135, as introduced, Padilla. Earthquake early warning system.

There is in state government, pursuant to the Governor’s Reorganization Plan No. 2, operative July 1, 2013, the Office of Emergency Services. Existing law requires the office to develop and distribute an educational pamphlet for use by kindergarten, any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and community college personnel to identify and mitigate the risks posed by nonstructural earthquake hazards.

This bill would require the office, in collaboration with various entities, including the United States Geological Survey, to develop a comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system in California.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P1    1


The Legislature finds and declares the following:

2(a) According to the United States Geological Survey, California
3is one of the most seismically active states, second only to Alaska.

4(b) California has experienced dozens of disastrous earthquakes,
5which have caused loss of life, injury, and economic loss. Some
6of the most significant earthquakes in California’s history include:

P2    1(1) The 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which, at a magnitude
2of 7.8, resulted in an estimated 3,000 deaths and over $500 million
3in property losses.

4(2) The 1971 San Fernando earthquake, which, at a magnitude
5of 6.7, resulted in at least 65 deaths and caused property damage
6of over $500 million.

7(3) The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which, at a magnitude
8of 6.9, rocked the bay area and caused 63 fatalities and over $6
9billion in property damage.

10(4) The 1994 Northridge earthquake, which, at a magnitude of
116.7, claimed the lives of 60 people and caused estimated property
12damage of between $13 and $32 billion.

13(c) About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and over 80
14percent of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the
15Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. The
16Pacific Ring of Fire includes the very active San Andreas Fault
17Zone in California.

18(d) The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast
19(UCERF) released in 2008 predicted a 99.7 percent likelihood of
20a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake in California in the next 30

22(e) A 2013 study published by the Caltech and the Japan Agency
23for Marine-Earth Science and Technology discovered that a
24statewide California earthquake involving both the Los Angeles
25and San Francisco metropolitan areas may be possible.

26(f) Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Romania, Italy, and China
27either have or are working on earthquake early warning systems
28that are capable of saving lives and helping to mitigate loss.

29(g) The Office of Emergency Services, Caltech, California
30Geological Survey, University of California at Berkeley, United
31States Geological Survey, and others have been conducting
32earthquake early warning research and development in California.
33They operate the California Integrated Seismic Network, which
34has a demonstration earthquake early warning capability.

35(h) By building upon the California Integrated Seismic Network
36and processing data from an array of sensors throughout the state,
37a fully developed earthquake early warning system would
38effectively detect some strength and progression of earthquakes
39and alert the public within seconds, sometimes up to 60 seconds,
40before potentially damaging ground shaking is felt.

P3    1(i) An earthquake early warning system should disseminate
2earthquake information in support of public safety, emergency
3response, and loss mitigation.


SEC. 2.  

Section 8587.8 is added to the Government Code, to



The Office of Emergency Services, in collaboration
7with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the California
8Geological Survey, the University of California Berkeley, the
9United States Geological Survey, and others, shall develop a
10comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system in