BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   July 2, 2013

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
                                Al Muratsuchi, Chair
                    SB 725 (Anderson) - As Amended:  June 26, 2013

           SENATE VOTE  :   36-0
           
          SUBJECT  :   Veterans buildings and memorials: county and city  
          property: veterans service organizations: retrofit and remodel

           SUMMARY  :  Expands the prohibitions in existing law whereby, a  
          county may not revoke the dedication of specified facilities to  
          a veterans' association.

          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Directs that whenever a city, county, or city and  county has  
            provided, maintained, or provided and maintained any building,  
            memorial hall, meeting place, memorial park, or recreation  
            center for the use or benefit of one or more veterans'  
            associations, veterans service organizations,  or non-profit  
            veterans service agencies pursuant to Section 1262, the 1262  
            or Section 37461 of the Government Code, the  provision of  
            that facility and its acceptance by the veterans' association,  
            veterans service organizations, or non-profit veterans service  
            agencies constitutes a dedication of that property to a public  
            purpose, and the city, county, or city and county may not  
            revoke the dedication, so long as the veterans associations,  
            veterans service organizations, or non-profit veterans service  
            agencies have  not violated the terms and conditions of the  
            dedication, or unless the veterans associations, veterans  
            service organizations, or non-profit veterans service agencies  
            have either consented to the proposed city, county, or city  
            and  county action or have abandoned their use of the  
            facilities.

          2)Clarifies that property shall not be considered abandoned if  
            the veterans association, veterans service organization, or  
            non-profit veterans service agency is required to move from  
            the property in order for the property to undergo seismic  
            retrofitting or remodeling. 

          3)Directs that upon completion of any retrofit or remodeling,  
            the veterans association, veterans service organization, or  








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            non-profit veterans service agency shall be allowed to return  
            to its previous space in the property or comparable substitute  
            space.

          4)Makes a legislative finding and declaration that uniformly  
            enforcing veterans organizations' rights to use facilities  
            dedicated pursuant to Section 1266 of the Military and  
            Veterans Code is a matter of statewide concern, and not a  
            municipal affair, as that term is used in Section 5 of Article  
            XI of the California Constitution.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Does not define veterans service organization.

          2)Does not include veterans service organizations or non-profit  
            veterans service agencies as entities to which a political  
            subdivision may lease a public building or lot not required  
            for public use.

          3)Does not include veterans service organizations or non-profit  
            veterans service agencies among those for which a county may  
            provide and maintain buildings, memorial halls, etc.

          4)States that whenever a county has provided, maintained, or  
            provided and maintained any place as specified for the use or  
            benefit of one or more veterans' associations, the provision  
            of that facility and its acceptance by the veterans'  
            association constitutes a dedication of that property to a  
            public purpose.

          5)States that the county may not revoke the dedication, so long  
            as the veterans' association has not violated the terms and  
            conditions of the dedication, unless:

             a)   The county dedicates substitute facilities, or 
             b)   The veterans' organization has either consented to the  
               proposed county action, or 
             c)   The veterans organization has abandoned its use of the  
               facilities.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown at this time.  This bill is not keyed  
          fiscal.

           COMMENTS  :   Shortly after World War I, California law authorized  








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          counties and cities to provide and maintain buildings,  
          memorials, or meeting places for the use of veterans'  
          organizations (SB 935, Irwin, 1921 and AB 688, Burns, 1927).  

          In 2009, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a  
          $45.3 million renovation of the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, which  
          was built in 1925.   According to the Los Angeles Times, the  
          renovation included replacement of the building's mechanical,  
          electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems.  Tenants were  
          moved out of the building into temporary quarters until the  
          renovation was completed.  In 2012, as the project neared  
          completion, several veterans groups, including the American  
          Legion, expressed concern that they would not be getting their  
          original office space back, creating concern that a veterans'  
          organization's right of return could be in question. 

          According to the author:

               As aging public places throughout California gradually  
               require repair and upkeep, good intentions sometimes suffer  
               from confusion and uncertainty. One example is described by  
               LA Downtown News: "Patriotic Hall has been home primarily  
               to various veterans' organizations. These groups moved out  
               in 2006 when the building was closed. Several of the  
               groups, including American Legion Post 8 are in temporary  
               offices on Grand Avenue and intend on returning to  
               Patriotic Hall when the renovations are complete in 2012.  
               The original deed specified that the building must remain a  
               veteran's facility as long as such groups wanted to stay  
               there, but with the dwindling amount of veterans since  
               World War II, the building has been used for other things?"

               According to the Los Angeles Times, "On September 8 2009,  
               the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved a  
               $45.3 million project to renovate the historic Bob Hope  
               Patriotic Hall. The renovation includes replacement of the  
               building's mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and  
               ventilation systems; renovation of the 10th floor  
               gymnasium, full service kitchen, and vertical  
               transportation systems; restoration of the 474-seat  
               auditorium, American with Disabilities Act upgrades, and  
               landscaping and reconfiguration of the existing surface  
               parking lot. The building's historic features have been  
               restored in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's  
               Standards. The renovation is also anticipated to achieve  








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               the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)  
               Silver Certification upon its completion, which is  
               anticipated in the Spring of 2013."

          This bill makes it abundantly clear that a tenant's moving out  
          for purposes of remodeling or seismic retrofitting does not  
          constitute abandonment.  

          This bill modernizes the entities to which property may be  
          dedicated to reflect the various service groups which have  
          evolved to support veterans.  It will now be clear that property  
          may be dedicated for use of veterans associations, veterans  
          service organizations, and non-profit veterans service  
          organizations.

          Under existing law a county may revoke a dedication to a  
          veterans group in several ways.  A dedication may be revoked:

             1)   By operation of its terms. For example, the dedication  
               may be only for a certain number of years;
             2)   If the veterans group violates the terms of the  
               dedication;
             3)   If the veterans group consents;
             4)   If the veterans group abandons the property; or
             5)   If the County dedicates substitute facilities to the  
               group.

           Policy Issue for Members  : This bill does represent a policy  
          shift to limit the existing power of a county to move veterans  
          groups from dedicated property at any time if substitute  
          facilities are dedicated.   Cities and counties will no longer be  
          able to move veterans groups from a location at any time by  
          dedicating substitute facilities  .  

          Under this proposal a dedication may be revoked:

             1)   By operation of its terms. For example, the dedication  
               may be only for a certain number of years;
             2)   If the veterans group violates the terms of the  
               dedication;
             3)   If the veterans group consents; or
             4)   If the veterans group abandons the property.

          The bill also clarifies the return rights of groups moved out  
          temporarily for retrofitting as well as the location and nature  








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          of "substitute facilities" to for the veterans group on  
          completion of the retrofitting.  Under this bill the veterans  
          group may return to its former space in a property after a  
          seismic retrofit or remodel unless it is given comparable  
          substitute space in the same property.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          American Legion-Department of California, 
          AMVETS Department of California
          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers
          California State Commanders Veterans Council
          VFW-Department of California
          Vietnam Veterans of America-California State Council
           
            Opposition 
           
          None at this time.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    John Spangler / V. A. / (916) 319-3550