EXECUTIVE ORDER S-15-08


          WHEREAS due to the destruction caused by the wind-driven wildfires beginning on November 13, 2008, I proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in the Counties of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino; and

          WHEREAS these fires caused harm to people and property, burned thousands of acres, damaged or destroyed homes and other structures, caused evacuations, and caused damage to resources and watershed; and

          WHEREAS these fires caused the loss of valuable personal and business records; and

          WHEREAS the people who lost or sustained damage to their homes, property, businesses or places of employment, may need to obtain or replace important government records such as certificates of birth, death, fetal death, or marriage, as well as marriage dissolution records, driver's licenses, identification cards, vehicle registration certificates, and certificates of title, to obtain assistance from federal, state and local governmental agencies, make claims for and collect insurance, find new employment, and for other purposes related to losses suffered in the fire; and

          WHEREAS those who need to obtain or replace important government records to mitigate their losses and rebuild their lives as a consequence of the fires require immediate assistance from state and local governmental agencies to replace those records; and

          WHEREAS existing law requires the Office of Vital Records of the Department of Public Health, along with local registrars, county recorders and county clerks, to impose fees upon persons requesting copies of certificates of birth, death, fetal death, and marriage, and marriage dissolution records, and existing law requires the State Department of Motor Vehicles to impose fees upon persons requesting replacement driver's licenses, identification cards, vehicle registration certificates, and certificates of title; and

         WHEREAS existing law requires the State Department of Motor Vehicles to impose late fees on persons who are late in renewing their vehicle registration or late in transferring ownership of a vehicle; and

         WHEREAS the State Department of Housing and Community Development administers the Manufactured Housing Act pursuant to which the Department has adopted regulations imposing fees for plan checking, inspections and related fees; and
        
         WHEREAS the State Department of Housing and Community Development administers the Mobilehome Parks Act pursuant to which the Department has adopted regulations imposing fees for inspections and related fees; and

         WHEREAS the suspension of statutory and regulatory requirements for imposition of fees would assist fire victims; and

         WHEREAS the State Employment Development Department and my Office of Emergency Services estimate that numerous workers are, or will be, unemployed as a result of the fires and are in need of immediate financial assistance; and

         WHEREAS the suspension of the statutory one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance applicants who are unemployed due to the fires would provide these unemployed workers with immediate financial assistance; and

         WHEREAS the fires have created a substantial amount of structural and vegetation debris, and the potential for erosion and contamination of important watersheds; and

         WHEREAS I have ordered the California National Guard to provide support to fire fighting efforts and the California Military Department, through the California National Guard, has the capability to protect the lives and property of the people of the state during periods of natural disaster and civil disturbances, and to perform other functions required by the California Military Department or as directed by the Governor.

          NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, including the Emergency Services Act and in particular Government Code sections 8567 and 8571, do hereby issue this Executive Order, effective immediately, to mitigate the effects of the emergency due to the wildfires in the Counties of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino (hereafter referred to as the "Counties"):

1.    The provisions of Health and Safety Code sections 103525.5 and 103625, and the provisions of Penal Code section 14251, requiring the imposition of fees, are hereby suspended with regard to any request for copies of certificates of birth, death, fetal death, and marriage, or marriage dissolution records by any resident of the Counties who have suffered a loss of a family member, or who suffered loss or damage to property, business, or employment, as a result of the wildfires. Copies of certificates of birth, death, fetal death, and marriage, and marriage dissolution records, shall be provided to such persons without charge.

2.    Health and Safety Code section 18031 and California Code of Regulations Title 25, section 4044, requiring the imposition of fees, are hereby suspended for any registered owner of a manufactured home whose home was damaged or destroyed as a result of the wildfires, and it is hereby ordered that the required inspections or plan checking be performed without charge by the State Department of Housing and Community Development.

3.    Health and Safety Code section 18503 and California Code of Regulations Title 25, section 1020.1, requiring the imposition of fees, is hereby suspended for any registered owner of a manufactured home located in a jurisdiction for which the State Department of Housing and Community Development is the enforcement agency and whose home was damaged or destroyed as a result of the wildfires, and it is hereby ordered that the required inspections or plan checking be performed without charge by the Department.

4.    Health and Safety Code section 18114, requiring the imposition of fees, is hereby suspended with regard to any late renewal of registration certificate or certificate of title for a manufactured home by any registered owner who lost these documents as a result of the wildfires. Those documents shall be replaced without charge.

5.    The provisions of Vehicle Code sections 9265(a), 9867, 14901, 14902 and 15255.2, requiring the imposition of fees, are hereby suspended with regard to any request for replacement of a driver's license, identification card, vehicle registration certificate or certificate of title by any resident of the Counties who suffered a loss of such documents as a result of the wildfires. A replacement driver's license, identification card, vehicle registration certificate, or certificate of title shall be provided to such persons without charge.

6.    The provisions of Vehicle Code sections 4602 and 5902, requiring the timely registration or transfer of title, are hereby suspended with regard to any registration or transfer of title by any resident of the Counties who suffered a loss of such registration or title documents as a result of the wildfires. The time covered by this suspension shall not be included in calculating any late penalty pursuant to Vehicle Code section 9554.

7.    The provisions of Unemployment Insurance Code section 1253 imposing a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance applicants are suspended as to all applicants who are unemployed as a result of the wildfires in the Counties, who apply for unemployment insurance benefits during the time period beginning November 18, 2008 and ending on the close of business on December 18, 2008, and who are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in California.

8.    My Office of Emergency Services shall coordinate assistance programs offered by all relevant federal, state and local agencies and departments, including, but not limited to, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the California Conservation Corps, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Health Care Services, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Employment Development Department, the Department of the Highway Patrol, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Aging, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Insurance, and the Franchise Tax Board.  

9.    All State agencies with responsibility, regulatory authority or expertise related to recovery efforts in connection with these fires shall cooperate fully and act expeditiously in coordination with the California Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency, to facilitate the mitigation of the effects of the fires and the environmental restoration of the affected areas.

10.    State agencies shall, as necessary for the protection of public health and the environment, assist local governments to enter into contracts and arrange for the procurement of materials, goods, and services necessary to quickly remove dangerous debris, repair damaged resources, and restore and protect the impacted watershed.  Because strict compliance with the provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code applicable to state contracts would prevent, hinder, or delay these efforts, applicable provisions of those statutes, including, but not limited to, advertising and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to address the effects of the fires.

11.    State statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are hereby suspended to the extent they apply to the following activities:  (a) removal, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris that result from the fires and that are subject to the jurisdiction of agencies within the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Resources Agency, (b) necessary restoration, and (c) related activities.  Such statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are suspended only to the extent necessary for expediting the removal and cleanup of debris from the fires, and for implementing any restoration plan.  The Secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Secretary for the California Resources Agency, shall use sound discretion in applying this suspension to ensure that the suspension serves the purpose of accelerating cleanup and recovery, while at the same time protecting public health and the environment.  Individuals who desire to conduct activities under this suspension of statutes, rules, regulations, and requirements shall first request of the appropriate Agency Secretary a determination that the proposed activities are eligible to be conducted under this suspension.  The Secretaries shall maintain a public list of all statutes, rules, regulations, and requirements that are suspended, and shall post the list prominently on their websites.  This order shall apply to, but is not necessarily limited to, solid waste facility permits, and other requirements for waste storage and disposal; requirements for emergency timber harvesting, stream environment zones, and emergency construction activities; and waste discharge requirements and/or Water Quality Certification for discharges of fill material or pollutants.  To the extent it is within their administrative authority and discretion, the boards, departments and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency shall expedite the granting of authorizations, waivers or permits necessary for the removal, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris resulting from the fires, and for other actions necessary for the protection of public health and the environment.

12.    State agencies and departments within my administration shall work with local officials to assist them in putting into place and implementing comprehensive structural debris removal plans.

13.    The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the California Conservation Corps, shall use employees, corps members, inmate and ward labor, where appropriate, to protect public health, safety, and water quality on public lands or where otherwise requested by private property owners.

14.    The California National Guard shall continue to be mobilized under California Military and Veterans Code section 146 (mobilization in case of catastrophic fires) to support disaster response and relief efforts and coordinate with all relevant state agencies, including my Office of Emergency Services, and all relevant state and local emergency responders and law enforcement within the impacted areas.  Sections 147 and 188 of the Military and Veterans Code are applicable during the period of participation in this mission, exempting the California Military Department from applicable procurement rules for emergency purchases.

         IT IS FURTHER REQUESTED THAT the Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization consider using their administrative powers where appropriate to provide those individuals and/or businesses impacted by the wildfires with extensions for filing, audits, billing, notices, assessments and relief from subsequent penalties.

         IT IS ALSO REQUESTED THAT the Public Utilities Commission direct utility companies with transmission lines in the affected areas to ensure that all dead and dying trees and vegetation are completely cleared from their utility right-of-ways to mitigate the potential threat to human health and safety and public property.
This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

         I FURTHER DIRECT THAT
, as soon as hereafter possible, this Order shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.