2001 Significant Legislation

October 17, 2001

TO: People Interested in Local Finance and Land Use

FROM: Senator Tom Torlakson

SUBJECT: Important Local Government Bills During 2001


Property Tax Allocation

Local Finance

Local Government Powers

Land Use and Development

Local Agency Formation Commissions


For Your Information

For More Information

And In The Future

Now that Governor Gray Davis has finished acting on the bills passed by legislators in 2001, I wanted you to know about some of the bills that the Senate Local Government Committee worked on that affect local agencies’ powers, property taxes, and land use issues.

Most of the bills on this list will take effect on January 1, 2002; urgency bills took effect on the day they were chaptered.  Bills that didn’t pass this year are “two-year bills,” and legislators may try to move them in 2002.  All two-year bills must pass out of their house-of-origin by the end of January.  In other words, Senate bills introduced in 2001 must pass off of the Senate Floor by January 31, 2002.

If one of these summaries interests you, you can retrieve the bill’s text and the Committee’s analysis of that measure by using the Legislature’s web site: www.leginfo.ca.gov.  Page 6 offers other sources of information about the Committee’s current and planned activities.



SB 74 (Speier) exempts library special districts and county libraries that were supported by their own property tax revenues from the shifts of property tax revenues to the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF).  Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee, held on Suspense; two-year bill.

SB 92 (Torlakson) exempts fire protection districts and other special districts that provide fire protection services from the 1992-93 ERAF shift.  Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee, held on Suspense; two-year bill.

SB 93 (Figueroa) exempts recreation and park districts and county service areas and community services districts that provide recreation and park services from the ERAF shifts.  Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee, held on Suspense; two-year bill.

SB 94 (Torlakson) partially exempts county libraries supported by county general fund revenues from the ERAF shifts.  Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee, held on Suspense; two-year bill.



SB 394 (Sher) extends the California Internet Tax Freedom Act, including the moratorium on local taxes to January 1, 2004 (if the required report is sent to the Governor and the Legislature by December 1, 2002), otherwise the moratorium expires January 1, 2003.  Status: Signed; Chapter 343, Statutes of 2001.

SB 423 (Torlakson) would have rewarded cities and counties with greater local property tax revenues if they embraced the statewide growth policies and programs; currently states legislative intent.  Status: Assembly Desk, waiting for referral to a policy committee; two-year bill.

SB 1122 (Poochigian) requires sellers to notify prospective buyers if residential property is subject to benefit assessments, and requires local officials to provide property owners with information about those assessments.  Status: Signed; Chapter 673, Statutes of 2001.

SB 30x and * SB 30xx (Brulte) assign bigger shares of the resulting property tax revenues to cities and counties that approve new or expanded power plants.  Status: Senate Appropriations Committee, held on Suspense; two-year bill.

SB 62x and SB 62xx (Poochigian) limit the tax rates of local utility user’s taxes.  Status: Senate Local Government Committee; two-year bill.

AB 169 (Wiggins) creates a statewide standard procedure for correcting property tax allocation errors.  Status: Signed; Chapter 381, Statutes of 2001.

AB 589 (Wesson) creates State-Local Property Tax Administration Grants to help pay counties’ assessment, collection, and allocation costs.  Status: Signed; Chapter 521, Statutes of 2001.

AB 745 (Cox) improves the procedures for local officials to claim reimbursement for the costs of state mandated local programs.  Status: Vetoed.

AB 934 (Hertzberg) allows property owners to appeal their property tax assessments with a limited “trial de novo.”  Status: Senate Rules Committee; two-year bill.

AB 62x and AB 31xx (Cohn) give State General Fund rewards to cities and counties that approve new or expanded power plants.  Status: Senate Appropriations Committee; two-year bill.


SB 161, SB 162, and SB 163 are the Senate Local Government Committee’s annual Validating Acts.  Status: Signed; Chapters 10, 272, and 273, Statutes of 2001.

SB 210 (Senate Local Government Committee) is the annual Local Government Omnibus Act and makes 36 relatively minor and noncontroversial changes to the state laws affecting local agencies’ powers and duties, including land use.  Status: Signed; Chapter 176, Statutes of 2001.

SB 282 (Dunn) requires the State Controller to electronically report on selected special districts’ assets, liabilities, and equities.  Status: Signed; Chapter 288, Statutes of 2001.

SB 544 (Senate Local Government Committee) prohibits county employees from serving on their own county board of supervisors, just like current law for other local governments.  Status: Signed; Chapter 43, Statutes of 2001.

SB 609 (Costa) changes various state laws for water districts, including the Newhall County Water District.  Status: Signed; Chapter 606, Statutes of 2001.

SB 671 (Poochigian) lets local officials hold closed meetings under the Brown Act to hear employees’ hardship claims for certain benefit programs.  Status: Signed; Chapter 45, Statutes of 2001.

SB 707 (Senate Local Government Committee) thoroughly revises the state laws governing recreation and park districts.  Status: Signed; Chapter 15, Statutes of 2001.

SB 974 (Torlakson) clarifies existing law that requires charter cities to follow statewide contracting procedures unless local charters or ordinances provide otherwise.  Status: Signed; Chapter 832, Statutes of 2001.

SB 1119 (Margett) requires charter cities’ contracts to state that they are charter cities.  Status: Assembly Business and Professions Committee; two-year bill.

AB 93 (Wayne) creates the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority with the power to site, own, and run airports in San Diego County, including Lindbergh Field.  Status: Signed; Chapter 946, Statutes of 2001.

AB 134 (Kelley) allows the Castaic Lake Water Agency to provide retail water service to a specific area.  Status: Signed; Chapter 929, Statutes of 2001.

AB 152 (Calderon)AB 735 (Chan), and * SB 720 (Margett) exempt certain local agencies from the state law that bans a public official from having an economic interest in a public contract.  AB 152 applies to the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority; AB 735 applies to county children and families commissions; SB 720 applies to the LA Care Health Plan.  Status:  AB 152 was signed, Chapter 810, Statutes of 2001; AB 735 was signed, Chapter 101, Statutes of 2001; SB 720 was signed, Chapter 143, Statutes of 2001.

AB 205 (Koretz) prohibits cities and counties from requiring business licenses, permits, and fees from employees who work at home.  Status: Signed; Chapter 36, Statutes of 2001.

AB 351 (La Suer) requires local park agencies to perform background checks on prospective employees or volunteers who supervise children.  Status: Signed; Chapter 777, Statutes of 2001.

AB 1011 (Pavley) requires county recorders to start indexing conservation easements, open-space easements, and agricultural conservation easements.  Status: Signed; Chapter 819, Statutes of 2001.

AB 1550 (Wiggins) allows Napa County to create a County Service Area and levy assessments for publicly owned or leased farmworker housing.  Status: Signed; Chapter 340, Statutes of 2001.


SB 142 (Haynes) requires cities and counties to accept “religious exercise” when regulating land use, particularly residential uses.  Status: Senate Judiciary Committee; two-year bill.

SB 221 (Kuehl) requires the approval of tentative maps for larger residential subdivisions to include a condition that a sufficient water supply be available.  Status: Signed; Chapter 642, Statutes of 2001.

SB 497 (Sher) revises the procedures for cities and counties to issue conditional certificates of compliance and lot-line adjustments for older subdivisions.  Status: Signed; Chapter 873, Statutes of 2001.

SB 516 (Johnson) allows Orange County’s land use controls, including its Local Coastal Plan, to control territory annexed by the City of Newport Beach.  Status: Signed; Chapter 537, Statutes of 2001.

SB 610 (Costa) expands the existing requirement for public water systems to prepare water supply assessments for larger development projects.  Status: Signed; Chapter 643, Statutes of 2001.

AB 857 (Wiggins) declares legislative intent that OPR prepare a State Comprehensive Plan by 2003.  Status: Conference Committee; two-year bill.

AB 924 (Wayne) declares legislative intent for city and county cooperative plans.  Status: Senate Local Government Committee; two-year bill.

AB 1207 (Longville) requires cities and counties to allow wind energy turbines on towers outside urbanized areas.  Status: Signed; Chapter 562, Statutes of 2001.

AB 1367 (Wiggins) requires schools, cities, and counties to share more information and comments when siting schools and planning for school sites.  Status: Signed; Chapter 396, Statutes of 2001.

AB 1553 (Keeley) requires OPR to include environmental justice matters in its advisory “General Plan Guidelines.”  Status: Signed; Chapter 762, Statues of 2001.



AB 720 (Assembly Local Government Committee) cleans-up drafting from last year’s major legislative overhaul of the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act.  Status: Signed; Chapter 388, Statutes of 2001.

AB 948 (Kelley) makes additional changes affecting special districts in the Cortese-Knox Hertzberg Act.  Status: Signed; Chapter 667, Statutes of 2001.

AB 1495 (Cox) changes the procedures for revenue neutrality calculations and handling appeals for city incorporations.  Status: Signed; Chapter 530, Statutes of 2001.


SB 53 (Torlakson) restores the ability of local officials to use an expedited method of redevelopment after declared disasters.  Status: Signed; Chapter 9, Statutes of 2001.

SB 211 (Torlakson) allows local officials to extend the life of their redevelopment project areas for 10 more years if they find that blight still exists, if they restrict spending to that blight, and if they boost spending for low-income housing.  Status: Signed; Chapter 741, Statutes of 2001.

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


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.


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 websitewww.sen.ca.gov/locgov.


The Legislature’s fall interim recess ends on January 7, 2002, when legislators return to Sacramento for the second half of the two-year session.  During the fall recess, Senator Torlakson has directed the Committee’s staff to work on several research projects which may lead to the introduction of new bills in 2002.  For more information about these projects, you can call the Committee’s office at 916/445-9748.

Committee Address