BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 135
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          Date of Hearing:   August 7, 2013

                                 Isadore Hall, Chair
                     SB 135 (Padilla) - As Amended:  May 24, 2013

           SENATE VOTE  :   39-0
          SUBJECT  :   Earthquake early warning system.

           SUMMARY  :   Requires the Office of Emergency Services (OES), in  
          collaboration with various entities, to develop a comprehensive  
          statewide earthquake early warning system in California.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Requires OES, in collaboration with the California Institute  
            of Technology (Caltech), the California Geological Survey, the  
            University of California, the United States Geological Survey,  
            and others, to develop a comprehensive statewide earthquake  
            early warning system in California, which shall include:

             a)   Installation of field sensors.

             b)   Improvement of field telemetry.

             c)   Construction and testing of central processing and  
               notification centers.

             d)   Establishment of warning notification distribution paths  
               to the public.

             e)   Integration of earthquake early warning education with  
               general earthquake preparedness efforts.

          2)Requires OES to identify funding for the system through single  
            or multiple sources of revenue, including, but not limited to,  
            federal funds, funds from revenue bonds, local funds, and  
            private grants.

          3)Specifies that the earthquake early warning system shall not  
            become operative until OES identifies funding for the system.

          4)Specifies that if funding is not identified by January 1,  
            2016, the provisions of this bill shall be repealed. 


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          5)Requires OES to file with the Secretary of State its  
            determination that funding was not identified by January 1,  

           EXISTING LAW  

          1)Provides for the California Emergency Services Act which  
            requires the Director of the OES to coordinate the emergency  
            activities of all state agencies during an emergency.

          2)Provides for the establishment of a Standardized Emergency  
            Management System for use by all emergency response agencies.

          3)Requires OES to coordinate the activities of all state  
            agencies relating to preparation and implementation of the  
            State Emergency Plan, which is the response efforts of state  
            and local agencies and the integration of federal resources  
            into state and local response and recovery operations.

          4)Establishes the California Geological Survey which provides  
            scientific products and services about the state's geology,  
            seismology and mineral resources including their related  
            hazards, which affect the health, safety, and business  
            interests of the people of California.  The Geological Survey  
            creates and maintains the California Integrated Seismic  
            Network (CISN) "ShakeMaps."

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           Purpose of the bill  :  According to the author, while earthquakes  
          cannot be predicted or prevented, using advanced science and  
          technology we can detect seismic activity to provide an advanced  
          warning, save lives and help mitigate damage.

          The author further states, that the objective of earthquake  
          early warning is to rapidly detect the initiation of an  
          earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking to be expected,  
          and issue a warning before significant ground shaking begins.    
          The warnings allow people to take cover, assist loved ones, pull  
          to the side of the road or exit a building.  Earthquake early  
          warning systems not only alert the public, they also speed the  
          response of police, fire and other safety personnel by quickly  
          identifying areas hardest hit by the quake.


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          Early warning systems are in place, or in the works in a number  
          of earthquake prone nations including Japan, Taiwan, Mexico,  
          Turkey, Italy, China and Romania.  Japan's earthquake early  
          warning system provided the public with critical advanced  
          warning of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in March 2011.   
          Earthquake warnings were automatically broadcast on television  
          and radio, and 52 million people received the warning on their  
          smartphones.  Millions more downloaded the early warning app  
          after the quake to receive warnings in advance of large  

           Background  :  As previously documented, California is a hotbed  
          for earthquake activity.  Ninety percent of the world's  
          earthquakes and over eighty percent of the world's largest  
          earthquakes occur along the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as  
          the Pacific Ring of Fire for its ever present earthquake  
          activity.  The Pacific Rim of fire includes the very active San  
          Andreas fault zone in California.  

          Predictions from the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture  
          Forecast released in 2008 found that there is a 99.7% likelihood  
          of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake and a 94% chance of a 7.0  
          magnitude earthquake in California within the next 30 years.  

          In January 2013, the California Institute of Technology and the  
          Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology published a  
          study concluding for the first time that a statewide California  
          earthquake involving both the Los Angeles and San Francisco  
          metropolitan areas may be possible.

          While earthquakes cannot be predicted or prevented, using  
          advanced science and technology has in the past detected seismic  
          activity and provided advanced warning.  The objective of  
          earthquake early warning is to rapidly detect the initiation of  
          an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking to be  
          expected, issue a warning before significant ground shaking  
          begins, and estimate the location and the magnitude of the  
          earthquake.  This is then used to estimate the anticipated  
          ground shaking across the region to be effected. 

          California currently has the California Integrated Seismic  
          Network, which is a demonstration earthquake early warning  
          system.  The author contends that a fully developed system would  
          process data from an array of sensors throughout the state.  The  


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          system would effectively detect the strength and progression of  
          earthquakes, alert the public within seconds and provide up to  
          60 seconds advanced warning. 

           Earthquake Early Warning Systems  :  When an earthquake occurs  
          seismic waves radiate from the epicenter like waves on a pond -  
          it is these waves we feel as earthquake shaking which causes  
          damage to structures.  The technology exists to detect moderate  
          to large earthquakes so quickly that a warning can be sent to  
          locations outside the area where the earthquake begins before  
          these destructive waves arrive.  The amount of warning time at a  
          particular location depends on the distance from the earthquake  
          epicenter.  Locations very close to the earthquake epicenter  
          will receive relatively little or no warning whereas locations  
          far removed from the earthquake epicenter would receive more  
          warning time but may not experience damaging shaking.  For those  
          locations in between, the warning time could range from seconds  
          to minutes. 

          Currently, there are two approaches to earthquake early warning  
          - the "single station" (or on-site) approach and the "network"  
          approach.  In the single-station approach, a single sensor  
          detects the arrival of the faster but weaker seismic wave  
          (P-wave) and warns before the arrival of the slower, more  
          destructive seismic wave (S-wave).  This approach is relatively  
          simple, but some would argue it is less accurate and more prone  
          to false alerts compared to the network approach.

          The network approach utilizes many seismic sensors that are  
          distributed across a wide area where earthquakes are likely to  
          occur.  This network of sensors sends data to a central site  
          where ground motion signals are analyzed, earthquakes are  
          detected and warnings are issued.  The network approach is  
          considered to be slower, but more reliable than the on-site  
          approach.  This is because it uses information from many  
          stations to confirm that the ground motion detected is actually  
          from an earthquake and not from some other source of vibration.

           Arguments in support  :  The California Institute of Technology  
          argues that although we cannot prevent an earthquake, we can  
          better prepare ourselves and save lives by using our advanced  
          science and technology to detect seismic activity to provide an  
          advanced warning.  The southern section of the existing  
          California Integrated Seismic Network is located here at  
          Caltech, which has been a global leader in seismic studies for  


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          nearly a century.  Seismologists envision a warning system that  
          would process data from an array of sensor throughout the state.  
           The system would effectively detect the strength and the  
          progression of earthquakes, alert the public within seconds and  
          provide up to 60 seconds advanced warning before potentially  
          damaging ground shaking is felt.

          The City of West Hollywood further contends that a statewide  
          earthquake early warning system is of vital importance for  
          California, a state that is especially susceptible to  
          earthquakes.  A system that would detect seismic activity,  
          determine that progression, and alert people in advance of an  
          approaching earthquake, as envisioned in SB 135, would save  
          lives.  All California cities must better prepare for future  
          earthquakes and an earthquake early warning system would advance  
          the preparedness work of cities by disseminating earthquake  
          information that will support public safety and emergency  
          response, and help to mitigate structural and financial loss.   
          The 1994 Northridge earthquake was a sobering reminder for those  
          of us living in Los Angeles County of our region's particular  
          vulnerability to earthquakes and the importance of earthquake  
          preparedness.  SB 135 will save lives, property, and money.

           Suggested Amendments  : The California Legislature established the  
          Alfred E. Alquist California Seismic Safety Commission in 1975  
          with the passage of the Seismic Safety Act.  Among its many  
          duties, the Commission is charged with reducing earthquake risk  
          to California residents, reviewing seismic activities funded by  
          the State, proposing and reviewing earthquake-related  
          legislation, and recommending earthquake safety programs to  
          governmental agencies and the private sector. With such specific  
          knowledge into earthquake events in the State of California the  
          committee might find it prudent to include the Commission in the  
          development of a comprehensive statewide earthquake early  
          warning system. 

          Therefore, the committee might wish to include the following  
          amendment on page 3, line 17: 
          Delete "and others" and insert "Alfred E. Alquist California  
          Seismic Safety Commission."

           Previous Legislation  :  AB 928 (Blakeslee) 2009-2010 Legislation  
          Session.  The bill would have required the High-Speed Rail  
          Authority to develop an earthquake early warning system and  
          coordinate development of that system with the Cal-EMA, the  


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          Department of Education, and the Public Utilities Commission.   
          The bill would have required the earthquake early warning system  
          to be designed to protect the lives of high-speed train  
          passengers and schoolchildren, and critical infrastructure by  
          providing advanced earthquake warning and by enabling preventive  
          measures seconds before an earthquake. (Held in Assembly  
          Governmental Organization Committee)

          SB 1278 (Alquist), Chapter 532, Statutes of 2006.  The bill,  
          among other things, renamed the Seismic Safety Commission the  
          Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission, placed the  
          commission within the State and Consumer Services Agency, as an  
          independent unit, and increased the membership of the commission  
          from 17 members to 20 members.


          AFSCME, AFL-CIO
          Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
          California Institute of Technology
          City of Baldwin Park
          City of Bell Gardens
          City of Beverly Hills
          City of Chula Vista
          City of Coalinga
          City of Culver City
          City of Encinitas
          City of Grover Beach
          City of Irvine
          City of Los Angeles
          City of Martinez
          City of Pasadena
          City of San Luis Obispo
          City of Rancho Cordova
          City of Walnut Creek
          City of Watsonville
          City of West Hollywood
          City of Winters
          Metropolitan Water District
          San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors
          University of California


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          None on file

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Felipe Lopez / G. O. / (916) 319-2531