2002 Significant Legislation


October 2, 2002

TO: People Interested in Local Government, Public Finance, and Land Use

FROM: Senator Tom Torlakson

SUBJECT: Important Local Government Bills During 2002


Land Use and Development

Local Agency Formation Commissions

Local Government Powers

Local Finance

For Your Information

For Your Reading

For More Information

For Future Reference


Now that Governor Gray Davis has completed his actions on the bills from the 2002 legislative year, I wanted you to know about some of the bills that the Senate Local Government Committee worked on during 2002 that affect local agencies’ powers, revenues, and land use topics.

Under the California Constitution, the urgency bills took effect immediately but regular bills will become law on January 1, 2003.

If one of these bill summaries interests you, you can retrieve the bill’s text and the Committee’s analysis of that measure by using the Legislature’s website: www.leginfo.ca.gov.  Page 5 offers other sources of information about the Committee’s activities and publications.



SB 701 (Torlakson) corrects drafting and interpretation problems with the Community Redevelopment Law, including corrections to time limits and affordable housing programs.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 782, Statutes of 2002.

*SB 864 (Torlakson) transfers the housing duties of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to a new Regional Growth Council within the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Status:  Died in the Assembly Local Government Committee.

SB 1243 (Torlakson) became SB 843, see above.  Status:  Died in the Assembly Local Government Committee.

SB 1468 (Knight) requires city and county general plans to include military facilities and training areas.  Status:  Signed;  Chapter 971, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1480 (Speier) increases local land use control over billboards near freeways.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 972, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1521 (Kuehl) requires state officials to give preferences in awarding grants to cities and counties that adopt land use programs similar to a state model program designed by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR).  Status:  Died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 1636 (Figueroa) allows cities and counties to designate Infill Opportunity Zones where development can occur without having to follow transportation level-of-service (LOS) standards.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 505, Statutes of 2002.

SB 2055 (Sher) contains clean-up language to AB 857, see below, and makes minor changes to the Subdivision Map Act.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 1109, Statutes of 2002.

AB 857 (Wiggins) adds three state planning priorities (equity, economy, environment) to the State Environmental Goals and Policy Report, requires state agencies’ functional plans and infrastructure projects follow these priorities, an requires the Governor to develop conflict resolution procedures.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 1016, Statutes of 2002.

AB 1284 (Lowenthal) allows cities and counties to set up six Housing Opportunity Districts that can use property tax increment revenues to promote affordable housing.  Status:  Died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1997 (Thomson) prohibits the subdivision of agricultural and open space lands subject to easements into small parcels.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 613, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2175 (Daucher) requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to include “human service matters” in its General Plan Guidelines.  Status:  Vetoed.

AB 2292 (Dutra) requires cities and counties to follow the no-net-loss principle when reducing residential densities.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 706, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2936 (Aroner) allows cities and counties to include planning costs as part of their permit processing fees.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 963, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2954 (Simitian) requires the land use elements in county and city general plans to include child care facilities.  Status:  Vetoed.

AB 3057 (Matthews) recasts the general plan’s open space element as the “agriculture and open-space element.”  Status:  Vetoed.



SB 1586 (Haynes) requires special districts to document why they block annexations.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 547, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1717 (Machado) limits leases of city-owned property in noncontiguous territory, and requires automatic detachment if a city leases its property in noncontiguous territory for a shopping center, hotel, or motel.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 507, Statutes of 2002.

*SB 1384 (Costa) and AB 1948 (Kelley) change the formulas used by independent special districts to pay their shares of LAFCOs’ budgets, including limiting any one district to 50% of the districts’ share. Status:  Both signed; SB 1384 is Chapter 969, Statutes of 2002, and AB 1948 is Chapter 493, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2227 (Harman) makes several changes to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act that created LAFCOs and governs the boundaries of cities and special districts.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 548, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2370 (Thomson) prohibits a LAFCO from approving the annexation of Williamson Act contracted land to a city, with exceptions.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 614, Statutes of 2002.



SB 1231, SB 1232, and SB 1233 are the Senate Local Government Committee’s annual Validating Acts.  Status:  Signed; Chapters 43, 222, and 223, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1326 (Senate Local Government Committee) is the annual Local Government Omnibus Act, making 19 relatively minor and noncontroversial changes to the state laws affecting local agencies powers and duties.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 545, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1479 (Morrow) allows counties to discount marriage licenses by $7 for couples that take premarital education courses.  Status:  Vetoed.

SB 1561 (Soto) expands the borrowing power for the San Bernardino County Flood Control District by creating “limited obligation notes.”  Status:  Signed; Chapter 288, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1588 (Senate Local Government Committee) revises the state laws governing mosquito abatement districts.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 395, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1643 (Johnson) amends the Brown Act to allow a legislative body to hold a closed session during an emergency meeting, and exempts specified security documents from the Public Records Act.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 175, Statutes of 2002.

AB 1945 (Simitian) amends the Brown Act to prohibit disclosing confidential information from a closed session unless the legislative body authorizes the disclosure, and allows a local agency to punish violators.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 1119, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2645 (Aanestad) amends the Brown Act to expand the list of personnel or consultants allowed in closed sessions that relate to security matters.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 1120, Statutes of 2002.

AB 2650 (Lowenthal) requires marine terminals to shorten truck waiting times to load or unload.  Creates the California Port Community Air Quality Program which uses fine revenues to pay for truck engine retrofit programs.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 1129, Statutes of 2002.



SB 1323 (Ackerman) conforms state law to ensure that local governments have broad access to federal bankruptcy protections.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 94, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1515 (Machado) prohibits local officials from putting restricted agricultural and open space land into Mello-Roos Act Community Facilities Districts.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 174, Statutes of 2002.

SB 1714 (Poochigian) requires the Controller to annually report property tax revenues lost because of state agencies acquiring land by purchase, donation, conservation easement, land trust, or easement. Status:  Vetoed.

SB 1961 (Polanco) requires the Department of General Services to write standards into the State Administrative Manual (SAM), telling state agencies how to comply with Proposition 218 for local benefit assessments on state property.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 981, Statutes of 2002.

AB 680 (Steinberg) shifts local sales tax revenues within the Sacramento region based on housing policies and population.  Status:  Died in the Senate Local Government Committee.

*AB 1105 (Oropeza) shifts the duty to pull “reverse trigger” and raise the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) tax rate from the Director of Motor Vehicles to the Director of Finance.  Status:  Died on the Assembly Floor.

*AB 1768 (Oropeza) is the local government budget trailer bill, and contains the $75 million annual shift from redevelopment agencies to the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF).  Status:  Signed; Chapter 971, Statutes of 2002.

AB 1939 (Daucher) requires the Legislative Analyst to study a new property tax allocation option in which a county, cities, and special districts negotiate new formulas.  Status:  Vetoed.

AB 2100 (Simitian) incrementally caps ERAF over 10 fiscal years for cities and counties with valid housing elements.  Status:  Died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 2561 (Vargas) streamlines the process for forming a property and business improvement district (PBID) that includes a mass transit station.  Status:  Vetoed.

AB 2825 (Wiggins) allows counties and cities to create Fire Protection Finance Agencies to pay for capital improvements and fire protection services.  Status:  Vetoed.

AB 2836 (Wiggins) allows counties, cities, and fire districts to finance equipment and improvements with lease-purchase contracts from the State Public Works Board and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES).  Status:  Died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 2851 (Cogdill) requires Mello-Roos Act Community Facilities Districts to prepare yearly revenue and expenditure reports upon request.  Status:  Signed; Chapter 960, Statutes of 2002.


* = The Senate Local Government Committee did not hear this bill.

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The fastest way to get copies of these bills and the Committee’s analyses, other analyses, histories, voting records, and any veto messages is from the California Legislature’s official website:www.leginfo.ca.gov.  You can also order a printed copy of any bill by writing directly to the Bill Room, State Capitol (Room B-32), Sacramento CA 95814-4906.  Single copies are always free.


In September, the Committee released Taking Their Pulse: How the LAFCOs implemented

AB 2838 (Hertzberg, 2000), the results of its statewide survey.  Later this fall the Committee will also publish Science, Service, and Statutes: A Legislative History of Senate Bill 1588 and the “Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control Law”.  For details on how to order copies of these reports, call the Committee’s office at (916) 445-9748.


More information about the Committee’s work, including detailed references on land use, redevelopment, LAFCOs, and links to useful websites is available on the Committee’s own website:



The Committee has been holding hearings on the substance and potential effects of Proposition 51 which voters will find on their November ballots.

The Committee also plans to hold public hearings on policy issues that may lead to the introduction of new bills in 2003.  The hearings will cover local governance, public finance, and land use.  The Committee has not confirmed the dates and topics for these additional hearings.  For more information, call the Committee’s office at (916) 445-9748.

Committee Address