BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNANCE AND FINANCE
                         Senator Robert M. Hertzberg, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

                              
          
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          |Bill No:  |AB 1532                          |Hearing    |6/24/15  |
          |          |                                 |Date:      |         |
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          |Author:   |Assembly Local Government        |Tax Levy:  |No       |
          |          |Committee                        |           |         |
          |----------+---------------------------------+-----------+---------|
          |Version:  |5/22/15                          |Fiscal:    |No       |
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          |Consultant|Favorini-Csorba                                       |
          |:         |                                                      |
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                LOCAL AGENCY FORMATION COMMISSIONS: OMNIBUS ACT OF 2015



          Proposes several changes to laws affecting local government  
          organization and reorganization.


           Background and Existing Law

           The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act  
          delegates the Legislature's power to control the boundaries of  
          cities and special districts to local agency formation  
          commissions (LAFCOs).  The courts call LAFCOs the Legislature's  
          watchdog over local boundary changes.

          As practitioners find problems with the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg  
          Act, they ask for statutory improvements.  These minor problems  
          do not warrant separate (and expensive) bills. According to the  
          Legislative Analyst, in 2001-02 the cost of producing a bill was  
          $17,890.

          Legislators respond by combining several of these minor topics  
          into an annual "omnibus bill."  In 2014, for example, the LAFCO  
          omnibus bill was AB 2762 (Assembly Local Government Committee,  
          2014) which contained several noncontroversial statutory changes  
          to LAFCO law, avoiding significant legislative costs.  Although  
          this practice may violate a strict interpretation of the  
          single-subject and germaneness rules as presented in  







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          Californians for an Open Primary v. McPherson (2006), it is an  
          expeditious and relatively inexpensive way to respond to  
          multiple requests. 

           Proposed Law

           Assembly Bill 1532 makes the following changes to state laws  
          affecting local agency formation commissions (LAFCOs):
                 Updates a reference to the "State Department of Health  
               Services" to its current name of the "State Department of  
               Health Care Services,"; corrects the location of the  
               Licensing and Certification Division; and deletes a  
               reference to the "California Medical Assistance  
               Commission," which was eliminated in 2012. [See SEC. 1 of  
               the bill.]
                 Standardizes terminology by uniformly applying the word  
               "appoint" to identify the means by which commissioners are  
               appointed to LAFCOs.  Current law uses a variety of other  
               terms, including "selected," "designated," and "appointed."  
               [SEC. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 11.]
                 Corrects a reference to the composition of the Santa  
               Clara LAFCO.  As authorized by current law, Santa Clara  
               LAFCO added two special district members to the Commission  
               in 2013.  Therefore, the composition of the commission is  
               now a seven-member commission, including one public member.  
                This change updates Section 56327, which states that the  
               public member is appointed by the other four members of the  
               commission. This proposed change will reflect the current  
               composition of the commission. Additionally, this section  
               deletes a reference to a repealed code section and replaces  
               it with the correct reference for the process by which a  
               LAFCO provides special districts with representation on the  
               commission. [SEC. 5 and 6.]
                 Clarifies a code section that lists the circumstances  
               under which a LAFCO must approve a change of organization  
               or reorganization of a city without allowing for a protest  
               proceeding.  This change makes the subdivision easier to  
               read and emphasizes that there are two cases in which the  
               subdivision does not apply. [SEC. 10.]
                 Inserts a reference to "updating" a sphere of influence,  
               in addition to "amending," when describing the fees that a  
               LAFCO may levy for its services.  This addition is  
               consistent with other references in LAFCO law to "amending  
               or updating" a sphere of influence. [SEC. 12.]








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                 Expands the circumstances where a LAFCO may appoint an  
               alternate legal counsel due to a conflict of interest that  
               affects staff counsel.  Current law authorizes a commission  
               to appoint alternate legal counsel if there is a financial  
               conflict of interest as defined in the Political Reform  
               Act.  The current definition of "conflict of interest" does  
               not include instances when legal counsel represents clients  
               with potentially adverse interests.          AB 1532  
               expands the definition of "conflict of interest" to  
               authorize the commission to appoint alternate legal costs  
               and recover their costs for doing so.  The definition of  
               "conflict of interest" in Rule 3-310 is currently used in  
               statute in instances when county counsel or a district  
               attorney may have a conflict of interest in representing an  
               assessor or sheriff. [SEC. 13]
                 Adds a missing cross-reference to an additional  
               circumstance when the commission can approve a change of  
               organization or reorganization without notice, hearing, and  
               election. [SEC. 14.]
                 Makes technical changes to two sections that govern the  
               actions LAFCOs must take at the end of their proceedings.   
               These changes format the two sections in the same way and  
               make statute more consistent. [SEC. 15 and 16.]
                 Corrects the terminology used to describe the document a  
               commission prepares to indicate that a proposal for a  
               change of organization or reorganization was terminated.  
               [SEC. 17.]

                 Clarifies the section that orders LAFCO to terminate  
               proceedings if a change of organization or reorganization  
               does not receive a majority of the votes cast by the  
               electorate.  AB 1532 restructures this section to be  
               consistent with other sections in LAFCO law, which clearly  
               state that anything other than a majority of votes cast in  
               favor of the proposal results in termination of  
               proceedings.


           State Revenue Impact

           No estimate.


           Comments








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            Purpose of the bill  .  Even the best written statutes contain  
          minor flaws.  When statutory problems appear in the state law  
          affecting LAFCOs, the Assembly Local Government Committee avoids  
          legislative costs by combining several changes to the state laws  
          into a single, consensus bill.  AB 1532 compiles, into a single  
          bill, noncontroversial statutory changes to ten parts of LAFCO  
          law.  Moving a bill through the legislative process costs around  
          $18,000.  By avoiding nine other bills, the Committee's measure  
          avoids more than $160,000 in legislative costs.  Although the  
          practice may violate a strict interpretation of the  
          single-subject and germaneness rules, the Committee insists on a  
          very public review of each item.  By carefully reviewing each  
          item with the affected parties, the Committee also avoids  
          controversy.  Should any item in AB 1532 attract opposition, the  
          Committee will delete it.  In this transparent process, there is  
          no hidden agenda.  If it's not consensus, it's not omnibus.

                                   Assembly Actions  

          Assembly Floor                     78-0

          Assembly Local Government            9-0

           Support and  
          Opposition   (6/18/15)


           Support  :  Alameda Local Agency Formation Commission; Butte Local  
          Agency Formation Commission; California Association of Local  
          Agency Formation Commissions (CALAFCO); Contra Costa Local  
          Agency Formation Commission; El Dorado Local Agency Formation  
          Commission; Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of  
          Los Angeles; Local Agency Formation Commission for San  
          Bernardino County; Local Agency Formation Commission of Santa  
          Clara County; Local Agency Formation Commission of Yolo County;  
          Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission; Riverside Local  
          Agency Formation Commission; San Benito Local Agency Formation  
          Commission; San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission; San  
          Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission; San Mateo Local  
          Agency Formation Commission; Santa Barbara Local Agency  
          Formation Commission; Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation  
          Commission; Sonoma Local Agency Formation Commission; Stanislaus  
          Local Agency Formation Commission; Tulare County Local Agency  








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          Formation Commission.

           Opposition :  Unknown.


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