BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                          AB 206     
Page 1

AB 206 (Hertzberg) 
As Amended May 6, 1997
Majority vote

  CONSUMER PROTECTION  11-1        TELEVISING        5-0              

Ayes:  Davis, Alquist, Figueroa, Ayes: Alquist, Morrissey, Kuehl, 
      Firestone, Frusetta,             Wayne, Woods
      Machado, Morrissey, 
      Napolitano, Ortiz,
      Strom-Martin, Wildman

Nays:  Ackerman

  APPROPRIATIONS       17-2                                        

Ayes:  Migden, Poochigian, Aguiar, 
      Baca, Bordonaro, Cardenas, 
      Granlund, Kuehl, Machado, 
      Papan, Perata, Shelley, 
      Sweeney, Thompson, Thomson,
      Villaraigosa, Washington

Nays:  Ackerman, Brewer 
  SUMMARY  :  Requires state agencies that maintain Internet web sites  
to make plain-language complaint forms available on their Internet  
web sites by July 1, 1998, or within six months of establishing a  
web site.  Specifically,  this   bill  :

1) Requires state agencies to allow individuals to register  
   complaints about the performance of the agency or against  
   individuals licensed by their agency electronically via the  
   Internet or by downloading and mailing in the complaint form  
   available on the agency's web site, or both.

2) Requires state agencies to notify individuals who call the  
   agencies that a) complaint forms are available on state  
   Internet web sites and b) public libraries provide free  
   Internet access.

3) Requires state agencies, to the extent feasible, to print their  
   Internet web site addresses in telephone directories.

4) Requires that implementation of this measure must be consistent  
   with the statewide strategy for electronic commerce.

5) Suggests that public libraries, to the extent permitted through  
   donations, provide Internet access and advertise that they  
   provide this access.

6)  Ensures that existing whistle blower provisions and procedures  
to investigate complaints against peace officers are not affected  
by the measure.


                                                          AB 206     
Page 2


1) Is silent on the filing of citizen complaints against state  
   agency performance.  According to available information, it  
   appears that most state agencies do not have a formal citizen  
   complaint process.  Rather, most agencies require citizens to  
   write a letter to the agency director.

2) Requires licensing departments to accept and investigate  
   written complaints against licensees of their department.  

  FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown additional costs to most state agencies to  
establish and/or modify a web site to accommodate the specified  
complaint process.  These costs would likely exceed several  
hundred thousand dollars annually, assuming:  a) the one-time  
costs of developing complaint forms and the on-going costs of  
maintaining complaint forms on state Internet web sites will be a  
few thousand dollars per agency; and b) the on-going costs of  
increased workload to respond to citizen complaints could be in  
the thousands of dollars for each state agency.

  COMMENTS  :  According to the author's office, the purpose of this  
bill is to make it easier for individuals to communicate with and  
register complaints about state agencies and individuals licensed  
by the state.  This bill tries to accomplish this by providing  
citizens another method of registering complaints.  

This bill does not specify how detailed an agency response must  
be.  If agencies are just being required to acknowledge a  
complaint without providing any other information, the cost of the  
program may be minimal.  However, if the measure contemplates a  
more thorough response, it should be amended to reflect that  

  Analysis prepared by  :  Sailaja Cherukuri / aconpro / (916)