The first half of the 2015-16 State legislative session produced four pieces of chaptered legislation sponsored by the Commission.
The following summaries provide an update on these new laws. These statutes become effective January 1, 2016, unless otherwise stated.
Chapter 231, Statutes of 2015 (SB 141, McGuire): Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District Act: land grants, acquisitions, and dispositions.
This bill clarifies that the District can dispose of non-sovereign property acquired with trust revenue and requires the District to notify the Commission in writing prior to selling or acquiring non-sovereign lands. These lands are commonly referred to as after-acquired lands. This bill does not authorize the District to sell or dispose of tide and submerged lands, which would violate the California Constitution and is a restriction well established in common law. This bill bolsters accountability of public trust assets and resources by requiring the District to provide the Commission with written notice prior to using tideland trust revenue to acquire property and prior to disposing of after-acquired lands. The Commission has 90 days to review a proposed acquisition or disposal to ensure its consistency with the District’s statutory trust grant. Status: signed into law.
Chapter 683, Statutes of 2015 (SB 798, Committee on Natural Resources and Water): Natural resources.
The Commission is the agency authorized on behalf of the state to cede legislative jurisdiction to the federal government or accept back a retrocession of such authority in-kind. This bill enables the Commission to more efficiently administer its cession and retrocession duties. It removes a requirement for the Commission to have a public hearing separate and apart from the Commission meeting where the acceptance is made, which is a better use of staff resources and is consistent with the practice for cessions. Status: signed into law.
Chapter 600, Statutes of 2015 (AB 1274, Stone, Mark): Public lands: geophysical surveys.
This bill improves the Commission's geophysical survey program, which issues permits for geophysical surveys of the ocean bottom subject to terms and conditions that protect aquatic wildlife and the marine and coastal environment when survey activities occur. This bill modernizes the statutory authority for the program, extends permit requirements to granted public trust lands, and requires the Commission to promulgate updated regulations to enhance the permit program. It also improves enforcement and addresses compliance concerns by authorizing the Commission to issue cease and desist orders to permit violators and to use a toll-free number for permit violation reports. Status: signed into law.
Chapter 644, Statutes of 2015 (AB 1312, O’Donnell): Ballast water management.
This bill delays implementation of California's performance standards for commercial vessels that discharge ballast water in state waters, expands the Commission's inspection authority to include biofouling management, and makes clarifying and streamlining changes to various related statutes governing the Marine Invasive Species Act administered by the Commission. Status: signed into law.