BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  August 14, 2013

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
                           K.H. "Katcho" Achadjian, Chair
                   SB 725 (Anderson) - As Amended:  August 8, 2013

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

           SUMMARY  :  Clarifies the conditions under which the dedicated use  
          of facilities by veterans' organizations can be revoked by  
          cities and counties.  Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Provides 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 nonprofit  
            veterans service agencies pursuant to current law, as  
            specified, the provision of that facility and its acceptance  
            by the veterans associations, veterans service organizations,  
            or nonprofit 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 nonprofit veterans service agencies have not  
            violated the terms and conditions of the dedication, unless  
            the city, county, or city and county dedicates substitute  
            facilities or unless the veterans associations, veterans  
            service organizations, or nonprofit veterans service agencies  
            have either consented to the proposed city, county, or city  
            and county action or have abandoned use of the facilities.

          2)Clarifies that, for purposes of 1), above, a property shall  
            not be considered abandoned if the veterans association,  
            veterans service organization, or nonprofit veteran service  
            agency is required to move from the property in order for the  
            property to undergo seismic retrofitting or remodeling. 

          3)Updates terms and definitions to include "veterans service  
            organization" in the current-law definition of "veterans'  
            association," and defines "nonprofit veteran service agency"  








                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  2

            to mean a community-based organization that meets the  
            following requirements:

             a)   It is exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the  
               Internal Revenue Code; and,

             b)   Its principal purpose is to provide housing, substance  
               abuse, case management, and employment training services  
               for low-income veterans, disabled veterans, or homeless  
               veterans and their families.

          4)Incorporates "veterans service organization" and "nonprofit  
            veteran service agency" in statutes governing the provision of  
            facilities by local agencies for the use of veterans groups.

          5)Finds and declares 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)Allows any political subdivision to lease any lot or building  
            or part thereof belonging to it and not required for public  
            use, for not exceeding 20 years, or to acquire and lease or  
            sublease any lot or building or part thereof for not exceeding  
            20 years, to a veterans' association organized in such  
            political subdivision, to be used for the purposes of such  
            veterans' association.  The rental shall be fixed by the  
            governing body of the political subdivisions, and may be  
            nominal in amount.

          2)Allows any county to provide, maintain or provide and maintain  
            buildings, memorial halls, meeting places, memorial parks, or  
            recreation centers for the use or benefit of one or more  
            veterans' associations.  For these purposes the board of  
            supervisors of any county may engage in a number of activities  
            to acquire and maintain such facilities, as specified.

          3)Provides that, whenever a 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, pursuant to  
            current law, as specified, the provision of that facility and  








                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  3

            its acceptance by the veterans' association constitutes a  
            dedication of that property to a public purpose, and the  
            county may not revoke the dedication, so long as the veterans'  
            association has not violated the terms and conditions of the  
            dedication, unless it dedicates substitute facilities or  
            unless the veterans' organization has either consented to the  
            proposed county action or has abandoned its use of the  
            facilities.

          4)Defines "political subdivision" to mean any city, county,  
            district, or other local governmental agency.

          5)Defines "veterans' association" to mean any association or  
            organization which is composed solely of persons who served  
            honorably in time of war or in time of peace in a campaign or  
            expedition for service in which a medal has been authorized by  
            the government of the United States, as members of the armed  
            forces of the United States, or who as citizens of the United  
            States served honorably in time of war as members of the armed  
            forces of any nation whose government was allied with the  
            United States during that war, and which is organized for  
            patriotic, fraternal, and benevolent objects.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   None

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)This bill clarifies the circumstances under which a veterans  
            organization can be considered to have "abandoned" its use of  
            a local agency facility, clarifies that cities are subject to  
            this statute, and updates terms and definitions to include  
            veterans service organizations and nonprofit veteran service  
            agencies (which provide housing, substance abuse, case  
            management, and employment training services for low-income  
            veterans, disabled veterans, or homeless veterans and their  
            families ) in statutes governing the provision of facilities  
            by local agencies for the use of veterans groups.  This bill  
            is sponsored by the American Legion-Department of California,  
            AMVETS - Department of California, the California Association  
            of County Veterans Service Officers, the California State  
            Commanders Veterans Council, the VFW - Department of  
            California, and the Vietnam Veterans of America - California  
            State Council.
          2)In 2009, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved  
            a $45.3 million renovation of the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall,  








                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  4

            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 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.

          3)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?"

          4)Current law allows any political subdivision (defined as any  
            city, county, district, or other local government agency) to  
            lease any lot or building or part thereof that it owns and  
            that is not required for public use for up to 20 years to a  
            veterans' association for the purposes of the association,  
            with the rent - which may be nominal - to be fixed by the  
            local agency's governing body.  

          5)Current law also allows any county to provide, maintain, or  
            provide and maintain buildings, memorial halls, meeting  
            places, memorial parks, or recreation centers for the use and  
            benefit of one or more veterans' associations.  Current law  
            specifies that, whenever a county has done so, the provision  
            of that facility and its acceptance by the veterans'  
            association constitutes a dedication of that property to a  
            public purpose.  As long as a veterans' association has not  
            violated the terms and conditions of a dedication, a county is  
            not allowed to revoke the dedication unless the county  
            dedicates substitute facilities, or unless the veterans'  
            organization has either consented to the proposed county  
            action or has abandoned its use of the facilities








                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  5


          6)According to a list provided by the sponsor, California  
            counties own 39 buildings that house veterans groups, while  
            California cities own 59 such facilities.  Of the city-owned  
            buildings, 17 are in charter cities, to which this bill would  
            apply. 

           7)Support arguments  :  Supporters argue that this bill provides a  
            needed clarification in statute that veterans organizations  
            can rely on for certainty in the future. 

             Opposition arguments  :  Opponents could argue that this bill is  
            unnecessary, given that the impetus for the bill was resolved  
            at the local level without a change to state law.





           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          American Legion-Department of California [SPONSOR]
          AMVETS - Department of California [SPONSOR]
          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers  
          [SPONSOR]
          California State Commanders Veterans Council [SPONSOR]
          VFW - Department of California [SPONSOR]
          Vietnam Veterans of America - California State Council [SPONSOR]
          California Association of Veteran Service Agencies
          Veterans of Foreign Wars
            Vietnam Veterans of California

           Concerns
           
          California State Association of Counties (to June 26 version of  
          the bill)
          Rural County Representatives of California (to June 26 version  
          of the bill)
          Urban Counties Caucus (to June 26 version of the bill)

           Opposition 
           
          None on file








                                                                  SB 725
                                                                  Page  6


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958