After the Katrina Hurricane disaster, the Governor attempted to get federal assistance to start working on the levees in the Delta which have started to deteriorate over the years. The Legislature enacted AB 140 (Nunez), one of the infrastructure bond bills, creating the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Act of 2006 which authorized $4.090 billion of general obligation bonds to be allocated to infrastructure projects for flood protection and levee repair and improvement if adopted by the people at the November 2006 election; and also enacted was AB 142 (Nunez) which provided $500 million in order that levee evaluation and repair could begin.
In December 2005, severe rainstorms hit California through March 29, 2006, and a few in April 2006. In July 2006, wildfires hit San Bernardino County. Counties affected by storms included Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Kings, Lassen, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba. Legislation was enacted, AB 1798 (Berg) and AB 2735 (Nava), to provide eligibility for full state reimbursement of local property tax losses, beneficial homeowners’ exemption treatment, full state reimbursement of local agency costs under the Disaster Assistance Act, and favorable net operating loss carryforward treatment.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and ongoing terrorism, legislation was enacted to provide for better preparedness in California when disasters hit. These include: SB 156 (Soto) facilitating the development of appropriate curriculum and making terrorism preparedness training available to California’s fire services first responders as quickly as possible; SB 1451 (Kehoe) ensuring members of the disabled community are represented on all pertinent emergency preparedness committees of the Office of Emergency Services; AB 103 (Cohn) requiring the Department of Education to electronically distribute disaster preparedness educational materials to school districts and county offices of education in at least the three most dominant primary languages spoken by English learners in California; AB 450 (Yee) requiring the Office of Emergency Services to incorporate the California Animal Response Emergency Stem program into the standardized emergency management system; AB 506 (Negrete McLeod) authorizing the designation of a Medical/Health Operational Area Coordinator in each operation area for regional disaster medical/health coordinators and others in the event of a local, state, or federal emergency; AB 1889 (Nava) requiring the membership of the California Emergency Council to include a representative of a local public health agency to be appointed by the Governor; AB 1890 (Mountjoy) increasing from three years to five years the time frame within which a property owner may transfer the base-year value of property damaged or destroyed in a given declared disaster to a replacement property; AB 2274 (Karnette) requiring state, local, regional, and harbor agencies to integrate their emergency preparation, response and evacuation procedures; AB 3058 (Assembly Jobs, Economic Development, and Efficiency Committee) expanding the duties of the Office of the Small Business Advocate to include advocacy on state policy and programs related to small business on disaster preparedness and recovery; and AB 3065 (Assembly Governmental Organization Committee) extending the time frame from six weeks to three months in which a beer manufacturer or beer wholesaler is authorized to provide assistance to retailers whose equipment, fixtures, or supplies were lost or damaged as a result of a natural disaster and whose premises are located in an area proclaimed to be in a state of disaster by the Governor.
Vetoed disaster legislation of note included SB 1339 (Romero) requiring the Emergency Medical Services Authority to create a working group to design an study to assess the adequacy of the state’s emergency and trauma care system; AB 2499 (Ruskin) revising existing provisions of law relative to establishment of the State Computer Emergency Data Exchange Program; and AB 2584 (De La Torre) requiring the Department of Health Services and local health departments when conducting emergency or disaster preparedness exercises relating to the outbreak of an infectious disease to establish a process to identify any deficiencies in preparedness plans and procedures.