BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            SB 141          Hearing Date:    March 24,  
          |Author:    |McGuire                |           |                 |
          |Version:   |January 26, 2015                                     |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |No               |
          |Consultant:|Angee Doerr                                          |
          |           |                                                     |
             Subject:  Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation  
                               District Act:  land use

          The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation & Conservation District  
          (District) is a trustee of sovereign lands granted to it by the  
          Legislature in the 1970s. These lands are considered "granted  
          lands" by the California State Lands Commission (Commission),  
          which maintains oversight authority. The District is governed by  
          the specific granting statute(s), the common law Public Trust  
          Doctrine and other applicable law. 

          Revenues generated by a trustee arising out of the use or  
          operation of its granted lands are public trust assets of the  
          State and must be reinvested back into the trust. These revenues  
          must be kept separate from the general funds of a local  
          government and may not be used for any purpose unconnected with  
          the trust.  Expenditures of trust funds by a trustee must be  
          consistent with the common law Public Trust Doctrine and the  
          statutory trust grant.

          While granted public trust lands and assets are managed locally,  
          the Legislature delegated the State's residual and review  
          authority for granted lands to the Commission.   The Commission  
          is responsible for monitoring administration of each statutory  
          grant by the trustee to ensure compliance with provisions of the  


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          granting statute and the Public Trust Doctrine. The Commission  
          has the authority to investigate, audit, and review the  
          administration of all statutory trust grants. The Commission  
          also has the authority to investigate specific allegations of  
          maladministration, to seek corrective measures by trustees, and  
          make recommendations to the Legislature; the ultimate trustee of  
          public trust lands.

          In the course of conducting a review of a mismanagement  
          allegation against the District (which the Commission did not  
          find), Commission staff discovered an ambiguity in the granting  
          statutes relative to the District's authority to dispose of  
          property acquired after the initial grant ("after-acquired  
          property").  Existing law bars any grantee from transferring,  
          selling or otherwise alienating sovereign tide and submerged  
          lands.  However, the statute governing the District restricts  
          its ability to dispose of any lands ("Irrevocable grants of fee  
          title shall not be granted or issued." (see 23, c. 1040,  
          Statutes of 1976)).

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would eliminate the ambiguity in the District's  
          granting statutes and thus allow the District to dispose of  
          after-acquired property by striking the sentence of its granting  
          statutes quoted above.

          According to the State Lands Commission, "SB 141 eliminates the  
          prohibition on transferring irrevocable grants of fee title as  
          it related to after-acquired lands. Eliminating this restriction  
          is intended to provide helpful clarification and assist the  
          District in managing trust assets of the state. This  
          clarification is beneficial to the District and to the state  
          because the sale of after-acquired lands provides funds that the  
          District can reinvest into administering and improving its trust  
          lands within Humboldt Bay for the statewide public's use and  




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           Stringent restrictions remain on the District  . The District is  
          still restricted in its purchasing and sale of land,  
          particularly in regards to Public Trust property, by the  
          remainder of its granting document, as well as by other existing  

          In particular (from Chapter 1283 of the Statutes of 1970):
                 SEC. 28. The district may take by grant, purchase, gift,  
               devise, lease or otherwise acquire, hold and enjoy and  
               lease and dispose of real and personal property of every  
               kind, within the district, necessary to the full or  
               convenient exercise of its powers
                 SEC. 77(7b). The district or its successors shall not,  
               at any time, grant, convey, give or alienate said lands, or  
               any part thereof, to any individual, firm or corporation  
               for any purposes whatsoever; provided, that said district,  
               or its successors, may grant franchises thereon for limited  
               periods, not exceeding 66 years, for wharves and other  
               public uses and purposes, and may lease said lands, or any  
               part thereof, for limited periods, not exceeding 66 years,  
               for purposes consistent with the trusts upon which said  
               lands are held by the State of California, and with the  
               requirements of commerce and navigation, and collect and  
               retain rents and other revenues from such leases,  
               franchises and privileges. Such lease or leases, franchises  
               and privileges may be for any and all purposes which shall  
               not interfere with commerce, navigation, fisheries, and  
               ecological protection.

          Board of Commissioners of the Humboldt Bay Harbor
          Recreation and Conservation District
          California State Lands Commission 

          None Received

                                      -- END --


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