LOS ANGELES - California Gov. Jerry Brown signed nearly 20 bills into law this week, including four affecting public finance, as lawmakers get down to the last few weeks in session.
The Legislature has until Sept. 13 to pass bills before its final recess.
Legislation that is still in the pipeline includes several bills to help reinvent redevelopment tools for California municipalities, a deal to modify a planned 2014 state water bond measure, and a measure to reduce the threshold for passing local infrastructure bond measures to 55% from the current two-thirds.
The four public finance-related bills that received the governor’s signature this week are Assembly Bills 117, 1248, 210, and 1218.
AB 1248, sponsored by State Controller John Chiang and carried by Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cardova, authorizes the controller’s office to work with local governments and stakeholders to develop best practice internal controls.
These controls will be designed to prevent and detect financial errors and fraud in local government agencies.
“For many local governments currently battling insolvency, the seeds of their financial distress were sown long before the Great Recession,” Chiang said in a statement. “Poor checks-and-balances can sap communities of their fiscal health to the point where a downturn in the economy can be catastrophic.”
Brown also signed Cooley’s AB 117 which aims to improve state agency efficiency and administration by requiring the Department of Finance to issue training and reporting guidelines for the professionalization of independent monitors.
“My bill package this year has focused on a variety of issues that make government more accountable, relieve some of the bureaucracy, and focus on the quality of life policies that matter to my constituents,” Cooley said. “We have a great system, but we all know it needs improvements.”
Brown also signed a bill that will allow Alameda and Contra Costa counties to put measures on the ballot to fund transportation infrastructure improvements.
AB 210, by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, would authorize the counties to go above the local 2% sales tax limit if voters approve county-wide transportation ballot measures by Dec. 31, 2020.
The bill is supported by the East Bay legislative delegation, numerous organizations, transportation agencies, local elected officials and the Bay Area Council, which represents hundreds of the largest companies in the Bay Area.
“This bill will allow both counties the opportunity to gain the financing needed to improve the region’s transportation system so residents and workers can get to their destinations more quickly,” Wieckowski said. “It will put people to work, help commuters and assist with the movement of goods from the Port of Oakland.”
Another bill, AB 1218, will give the California State Auditor more authority for audit work. Existing law requires the auditor to conduct financial and performance audits of state or local government agencies. The new bill, authored by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, will authorize the auditor to conduct follow-up work.