WHEREAS an Arctic Cold Front resulting in extreme low temperatures and freezing conditions swept through California, beginning on January 11, 2007 and continuing for a period of time thereafter, causing extreme peril to the safety of persons and property in this state; anWHEREAS the severe cold weather conditions created conditions of extreme peril to those living in affected areas, including health impacts to the medically fragile and homeless, substantial financial damage to agricultural crops and to the industry that supports agriculture, and an economic impact to the people who work in the agricultural industry; and

WHEREAS on January 12, 2007, I proclaimed a state of emergency in California due to the severe weather conditions and resulting impacts; and

WHEREAS such conditions continued, and I issued additional emergency proclamations for other California counties from January 16 through January 20; and

WHEREAS California continues to be impacted by those severe weather conditions; and

WHEREAS the magnitude of this situation has resulted in substantial damage to agriculture and significant economic losses in California; and

WHEREAS our state’s agricultural industry has suffered devastation and jobs have been lost among those who work in and support that industry; and

WHEREAS Californians continue to be affected by the “2007 Winter Freeze,” and people who lost employment because of this situation face significant financial hardship and need immediate housing, financial and other assistance; and

WHEREAS a significant number of agricultural workers have been displaced from available jobs and face the loss of housing due to lost income; and

WHEREAS the Department of Housing and Community Development (“Department”) is charged by statute with enforcing and implementing the provisions of Chapter 8.5 of Part 2 of Division 31 of the Health and Safety Code (commencing with section 50710) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, including but not limited to sections 7600-7653 of Title 25 of the California Code of Regulations, relating to the Office of Migrant Services (OMS) and the operation of OMS Centers by local agencies to provide seasonal housing for migrant agricultural workers; and

WHEREAS the statutes and regulations governing the operation of OMS Centers limit occupancy to 180 days annually with provisions for extensions of occupancy under certain prescribed conditions, including limits on the length of the extended term and the use of state funds for operations during the extended term; and

WHEREAS there are 13 OMS Centers within the affected counties which are not currently occupied and which may provide a significant housing resource or emergency shelter to aid agricultural workers displaced by the state of emergency.  The statutes and regulations governing the extended term of occupancy may limit or prevent the use of the OMS Centers and the use of state funds as a resource to meet the housing or emergency shelter needs of displaced agricultural workers; and 

WHEREAS it is the policy of the state to bring every resource to bear in addressing the individual, social, and economic consequences of the instant situation and provide needed services to the people of California. 

Now, therefore, I, Arnold sCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this Executive Order, effective immediately, to mitigate the effects of the emergency due to the severe weather conditions throughout California and the resulting impacts:

                     I.      Pursuant to Government Code section 8571, because strict compliance with Sections 50710.1 and 50715 of the Health and Safety Code, and with Sections 7600 through 7653 of Title 25 of the California Code of Regulations, would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency caused by the severe weather conditions and resulting impacts throughout California, those statutes and regulations are hereby suspended effective immediately for any individual unemployed or displaced as a result of the 2007 Winter Freeze that began on January 11, 2007, and who otherwise is eligible for OMS Center assistance in California.

                   II.      The California Department of Housing and Community Development shall be responsible for implementing this Order.

            This 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 or its agencies, departments, other entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

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