Back to 2011 Issues



Other Budget Issues

Last Updated: 1/19/2011
Budget Issue: California Coastal Commission's enforcement authority
Program: California Coastal Commission
Finding or Recommendation: Provide the California Coastal Commission with the authority to levy administrative civil penalties, which will help stabilize funding for and to reduce costs associated with enforcement actions.
Further Detail

Recommend Legislatiion to Stabilize Funding for, and Reduce Costs of, Commission's Enforcement Process. We recommend that the Legislature grant the California Coastal Commission the authority to levy administrative civil penalties in order to reduce the costs of enforcing compliance with the commission's regulations and to stabilize funding for related activities.  We further recommend that a special fund be created within the commission for receipt of penalty revenues. 

The basis for the above recommendation is discussed in detail in our Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill.  In summary, in order for the commission to issue a fine or penalty, the commission must file a case in the superior court. This process is cumbersome and results in few fines and penalties issued by the commission due to the high cost of pursuing enforcement through the courts. This, in turn, is reflected in the commission’s budget where projected enforcement fines and penalty revenues have remained relatively stable and at very modest levels. By contrast, based on our review of other state and local regulatory agencies in the resources area, those which administratively assess fines/penalties tend to have this as a growing source of support for their enforcement activities.  Legislation to provide the commission with similar administrative civil penalty authority was introduced in 2009--AB 226 (Ruskin)--,but was not enacted.