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News: Legislative Updates

Governor vetoes seismic safety bills

Wednesday, October 31, 2018  
In the waning days of the legislature season, Governor Brown vetoed two seismic safety bills that SEAOC supported – AB 1857 (Nazarian) and AB 2681 (Nazarian) – which prompted SEAOC to working toward next legislation session under a new state administration.  

AB 1857 would have convened a stakeholder group to discuss whether to elevate the performance objective of the state Building Code from life-safety to “functional recovery.” In his veto message, Brown wrongly asserts that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is actively creating an “immediate occupancy” standard, which would obviate the need to define a new standard here.  This might present an opening to reintroduce the legislation that emphasizes that no federal effort is underway.  SEAOC and EERI are now drafting an MOU under which our two organizations would collaborate on developing a definition of “functional recovery” that could be deployed in public-policy efforts.  

In vetoing AB 2681, which would have required jurisdictions in high-seismic areas to inventory their “vulnerable” buildings, the Governor urged the state to develop any mitigation initiatives in partnership with cities and counties. This suggests the Administration sympathized with jurisdictions’ concerns about the resource demands of the bill, which would surely have to be addressed in future iterations.  

SEAOC’s Legislative Committee and Board thanks our many members who contacted the Governor to urge his signatures on the bill. Our Legislative Alert process will certainly be a useful tool in our advocacy going forward.