SENATE BILL 649 (COSTA – 1996)
CHAPTER 1122, STATUTES OF 1996 SB 649
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As enacted, Senate Bill 649 amended Fish and Game Code sections 5650 and 5650.1 only pertaining to water pollution and associated civil penalties. (See Exhibit #1f) Senate Bill 649 was introduced by Senator Costa on February 22, 1995 on behalf of the California Chamber of Commerce. (See Exhibits #3, page 1; #5, page 1; and #13, document A-2)
Senate Bill 649 was assigned to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife where policy issues raised by the bill were considered. (See Exhibits #3 and #7) The fiscal ramifications of the bill were considered by the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the Assembly Committee on Appropriations during the legislative process. (See Exhibits #2 and #9) Four amendments were made to Senate Bill 649. (See Exhibits #1b through #1e and #2) Subsequent to legislative approval, Governor Pete Wilson signed Senate Bill 649 on September 29, 1996, and it was recorded by the Secretary of State on the following day as Chapter 1122 of the Statutes of 1996. (See Exhibits #1f and #2)
The analysis of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife provides the following digest of Senate Bill 649 as it was last amended on June 13, 1996:
Exempts from prosecution a discharge or release that is expressly authorized by a permit, license, or waiver issued by the State Water Resources Control Board or Regional Water Quality Control Board(s). Exempts all federally permitted or licensed projects where the state has issued a water quality certification. Changes and increases the burden of proof required that a court must consider before issuing an injunction against polluters. Establishes a new affirmative defense for public and private actions that threaten to pollute waters of the state.
(See Exhibit #7b, page 1)
The Office of Senate Floor Analyses in its Unfinished Business analysis of Senate Bill 649, as last amended on June 13, 1996, issued the following statement of purpose of the measure:
The purpose of this bill is to provide greater protections to persons alleged to have unlawfully placed certain harmful materials in or near waters of the state.
(See Exhibit #12, page 1)