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Bills in works in response to explosion (San Mateo Daily Journal)
September 15, 2010
Daily Journal staff report
Two Peninsula legislators are making plans for bills regarding last week's explosion and fire in San Bruno - one focused on disaster relief, the other on protecting the public from high-risk lines in California.
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, said Tuesday he will introduce legislation that will likely include a homeowner's property tax exemption and will allow taxpayers to deduct income loss from the disaster, said Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for Yee. The bill, which has not yet been drafted, will likely be introduced during a special session of the Legislature this fall.
Keigwin said the senator is hoping the bill can be introduced "sooner rather than later, and get this money to start rolling into the community."
Yee's bill will also likely include assistance to San Mateo County and schools in the area by providing a one-year reimbursement from the state for property tax losses related to homes that were damaged or destroyed in the fire.
Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is making similar plans for a bill that would protect the public from high-risk power lines in the state and called on Pacific Gas and Electric to release its list of "Top 100 High-Risk Gas Lines" submitted to the Public Utilities Commission as part of a rate increase request.
The legislation would focus on increasing disclosure of high-risk lines in urban areas and require automatic and remote shutoff valves be installed and/or used more effectively to minimize damage if a future gas-line explosion were to occur, according to Hill's office.
"Since only 7 percent of the nation's gas lines are classified as a 'high consequence area' like the San Bruno line that exploded, the least we can do is focus resources on these gas lines within California as a preventative way to avoid future disasters," Hill said.
Hill also expressed support for Yee's efforts. "I will work with Senator Yee to ensure that our constituents receive all the resources they need to recover from this tragic disaster," Hill said.
"Obviously these properties are not going to be assessed the same value anymore, and that reduction would be a reduction to the county and then the schools, so this bill would make sure the county doesn't see any less in property tax revenue," Keigwin said.