Little Hoover Holds Final “Roundtable” on Special Districts
On June 22, the Little Hoover Commission conducted a roundtable discussion with local government representatives and State officials to solicit feedback on proposed recommendations impacting special districts. The draft potential recommendations are a result of the Little Hoover Commission’s review of special districts for a study that may be completed and released to the public as soon as this August.
CSDA was among 19 state and local representatives who participated in the roundtable discussion to help the Commission understand the feasibility and potential consequences of the draft recommendations. During the public comment portion of the roundtable, several attendees also spoke to the value and benefit of the special districts serving their communities, including two county supervisors and representatives from nonprofit organizations that partner with special districts.
Do you want to give your input? The Little Hoover Commission is still accepting feedback on the draft potential recommendations. If you are interested in submitting a comment to the Commission, please contact Kyle Packham, Advocacy and Public Affairs Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions and assistance. More information about the Little Hoover Commission’s study on special districts can be found at www.lhc.ca.gov.
Legislation Adds Civil Penalties to the Public Records Act
AB 1479 (Bonta) places new burdens on local agencies by including additional requirements in processing California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests. AB 1479 would mandate that every local agency assign a “custodian of record” to review each public records act request and response. The custodian of record can be an individual, individuals, office, or offices.
Additionally, the measure creates civil penalties assessed on agencies, above and beyond plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees established in current law, for violations of the CPRA. The violations that could trigger a civil penalty include charging an inappropriate fee or an unnecessary delay in providing records. Such an introduction of civil penalties could lead to abuses of the CPRA and be likened to the well-documented abuses associated with serial filers of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits filed against small businesses. AB 1479 would provide a financial incentive for serial litigants, from across the nation, to extort taxpayer dollars from the state and local public agencies. Tax dollars that would otherwise be used to provide essential services such as healthcare, fire protection, park and road maintenance, and police protection.
CSDA is asking for your assistance in stopping AB 1479 (Bonta) from becoming law. Please take the time to submit a letter of opposition to this potentially costly legislation. You can write your own letter or edit CSDA’s sample letter. The email addresses for who to send your letter to are listed on the sample letter available at www.csda.net/grassroots. AB 1479 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 11, 2017. If it passes from that committee, it will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in late August.
- AB 979 (Lackey) Special District Representation on LAFCO – Sponsor
Status: Senate Appropriations Committee
Simplifies the process for special districts to gain representation on local agency formation commissions (LAFCOs), while maintaining local control.
- SB 448 (Wieckowski) Dissolution of Inactive Districts – Support
Status: Assembly Local Government
CSDA opposed the original version of the bill, which lacked due process for special districts and California residents. As amended, the bill establishes a definition of “inactive district” and creates an expedited process for dissolution of inactive districts. Also requires the State Controller’s Office to publish a comprehensive list of independent special districts on its website.