California Emergency Management and Homeland Security Statutory Authorities Summarized.

CRS Report for Congress
California Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Statutory Authorities Summarized
March 17, 2004
Keith Bea
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

California Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Statutory Authorities Summarized
The key emergency management and homeland security statutes for the state of
California include the Emergency Services Act, the Disaster Recovery
Reconstruction Act and the Disaster Assistance Act. These statutes allow the
governor to declare an emergency, provide funds to small businesses and residents
for disaster recovery, plan for and mitigate the effects of disasters, and establish a
process for the continuation of government should gubernatorial or legislative
vacancies occur as the result of a disaster. Although California is not a member of
the Emergency Management Assistance Compact the legislature has enacted
intrastate mutual aid agreements; the governor has authority to enter into interstate
agreements. Other statutes address issues such as disaster dog teams, state employees
volunteering for emergency service and agricultural terrorism.
This report is one of a series that profiles the emergency management and
homeland security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
and three territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Each
profile identifies the more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified.
Congressional readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions
using the Internet link presented in the last section of this report. The National
Conference of State Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the
development of these profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service
(CRS). Summary information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report
RL32287. This report will be updated as developments warrant.

Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Preparedness .................................................2
Declaration Procedures.........................................3
Types of Assistance............................................3
Mutual Aid...................................................4
Funding .....................................................4
Hazard Mitigation.............................................5
Continuity of Government Operations..............................5
Other .......................................................6
Key Terms...................................................6
For Further Research...........................................7
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in California Statutes, with Citations..................6

California Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Statutory Authorities
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The powers given to the governor include the coordination of the
state emergency plan and programs to mitigate the effects of an emergency, and
authority to suspend statutes, commandeer private property and personnel, and
cooperate with federal agencies (Cal. Gov’t Code §8565 et seq.). The governor has
complete authority over agencies and the right to exercise police power (Cal. Gov’t
Code §8627 et seq.). Also, the governor may make expenditures “from any fund
legally available” to deal with emergencies and accept services, equipment, and
supplies (Cal. Gov’t Code §8645 et seq.). Additional powers of the governor in a
state of emergency are enumerated in the statute (Cal. Gov’t Code §8654). During
a state of war emergency the governor exercises complete authority over all agencies
and the right to designate all police powers in designated areas. (Cal. Gov’t Code
Office of Emergency Services (OES): The OES, located in the Office of the
Governor, which includes the State Civil Defense Agency, coordinates state
agencies’ emergency activities during an emergency (Cal. Gov’t Code §8585 et
California Emergency Council: The council, which includes the governor,
lieutenant governor, attorney general, representatives from city and county
governments, firefighters and law enforcement plus the Senate president pro tempore
and speaker of the Assembly, advises the governor during emergencies (Cal. Gov’t
Code §8575 et seq.).
Emergency Response Team for State Operations: The team improves state
agencies’ abilities to resume operations after a business interruption (Cal. Gov’t Code
§8549.10 et seq.).
Emergency Response Training Advisory Committee: The committee
recommends criteria for the curriculum related to training for terrorism awareness
(Cal. Gov’t Code §8588.10).
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Authority: The authority assesses each
EMS area to determine the need for additional emergency medical services and the
effectiveness of emergency medical services (Cal. Health and Safety Code
§1797.102). The authority responds to any medical disaster by mobilizing and
coordinating emergency medical services and mutual aid resources (Cal. Health and

Safety Code §1797.150). Also, the authority assists OES in preparation of the
emergency medical services component of state emergency plan (Cal. Health and
Safety Code §1797.151).
California Specialized Training Institute: The institute, part of OES, assists in
training state agencies, cities and counties in planning and preparation for disasters
(Cal. Gov’t Code §8588.3 (b)).
State Strategic Committee on Terrorism (SSCOT): The committee establishes
and prioritizes recommendations for the prevention of and response to terrorist
attacks and evaluates the potential of a terrorist attack and California’s readiness to
respond (Exec. Order D-47-01, Oct. 10, 2001).
Other state agencies and employees: As directed by the governor, other agencies
must render assistance during a state of emergency (Cal. Gov’t Code §8595 et seq.).
Local disaster councils: Counties and cities may create councils to develop
plans to meet any local emergency, state of emergency, or state of war emergency
(Cal. Gov’t Code §8610). The powers of local officials are subordinate to those of
the governor (Cal. Gov’t Code §8614).
Seismic Safety Commission: The commission is required to establish an urban
search and rescue emergency response advisory committee (Cal. Gov’t Code §8601).
Public Safety Radio Strategic Planning Committee: The committee has primary
responsibility for developing and implementing the statewide integrated public safety
communications systems that facilitate interoperability and shared uses of public
safety spectrum (Cal. Gov’t Code §8592 et seq.).
Chemical Emergency Planning and Response Commission: The commission
serves as the state emergency response commission pursuant to the federal
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (Cal. Health and Safety
Code §25503.1).
See above, “Entities with Key Responsibilities,” California Specialized
Training Institute.
OES and other key agencies are required to establish a standardized emergency
management system for use by all emergency response agencies (Cal. Gov’t Code
OES is required to study whether television and radio stations can transmit
emergency information to the public 24 hours per day (2002 Cal. Acts, Chaps. 855).
OES is required to procure mobile communications translators to allow mutual
aid emergency response agencies to communicate while operating on incompatible
frequencies (Cal. Gov’t Code §8588.7).

Federal homeland security funds ($15 million maximum) may be allocated for
disbursement to state and local government public safety agencies to purchase or
operate radio equipment that provides interoperability among federal, state, and local
radio systems. Each receiving agency must provide an annual report to the
legislature on progress made on procuring and operating such equipment (Cal. Gov’t
Code §8592.9).
Declaration Procedures
The statute established three conditions or degrees of emergency—state of war,
state of emergency, and local emergency (Cal. Gov’t Code §8558).
When an emergency exceeds seven days, the governor calls an Emergency
Council meeting; the statute specifies the conditions under which emergency powers
terminate (Cal. Gov’t Code §8624).
Conditions under which a state of war emergency terminates are specified (Cal.
Gov’t Code §8624 (b)).
The governor is authorized to issue a declaration of state of emergency (Cal.
Gov’t Code §8625 et seq.).
The statute specifies requirements for a proclamation that initiates and
terminates a state of emergency (Cal. Gov’t Code §§8625, 8629).
Types of Assistance
The small business disaster recovery loan loss reserve account has been created
to prevent business insolvencies and employment loss after disasters declared by
president or governor (Cal. Corporation Code §14030.1).
Loan guarantees are authorized for interim loans to persons, especially small
businesses, affected by natural disasters, terrorist acts, or states of emergency in
affected areas to ensure continuation of operations pending federal disaster
assistance. The maximum loan guarantee is $200,000. The statute also authorizes
assistance to local agencies for: personnel and equipment costs, supplies, materials
and emergency workers’ wages; the repair, restoration, reconstruction, or
replacement of local agency facilities damaged by natural disasters; matching fund
assistance for cost-sharing under federal assistance programs; administrative costs;
site preparation costs for mobile homes, manufactured housing provided by FEMA
as federal temporary housing; and, the state share of costs for projects and mitigation
measures (Cal. Gov’t Code §8680 et seq.).
The statute provides conformity of the state personal income tax law to the
federal Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act of 2001, and provides conformity to the
same Act excluding certain items from gross income (Cal. Rev. and Tax. Code
§§17131, 17132.5, 17731, 18572, 19559).

Mutual Aid
The governor is authorized to divide the state into mutual aid regions (Cal.
Gov’t Code §8600).
The statute provides that duly approved emergency plans satisfy requirements
of the Master Mutual Aid Agreement (Cal. Gov’t Code §8615).
The governor has the authority to enter into reciprocal aid equipment compacts
and mutual aid plans with other states or the federal government (Cal. Gov’t Code
State agencies are authorized to provide mutual aid (personnel, equipment,
resources) to political subdivisions during local emergencies (Cal. Gov’t Code
The OES and the California Highway Patrol are required to establish a statewide
plan for the delivery of hazardous material mutual aid (Cal. Gov’t Code §8589.2).
Fire protection districts are authorized to enter into mutual aid agreements with
any federal or state agency, a city, county, special district or federally recognized
Indian tribe or private firm, a corporation, or a federally recognized Indian tribe with
a full time fire department (Cal. Health and Safety Code §13863).
The natural disaster assistance fund includes a subsidiary account, the
earthquake emergency investigations account, to be used for the investigation of
damaging earthquakes (meals, lodging, publishing findings). Money is continuously
available and is appropriated without regard to fiscal year (Cal. Gov’t Code
The emergency medical services fund is used to support emergency medical
services (Cal. Gov’t Code §76104).
The disaster relief fund aids response and recovery from earthquakes,
aftershocks and related casualties, but does not supplant federal funds available in the
absence of state financial relief (Cal. Gov’t Code §16419).
The director of OES is authorized to solicit, receive, and administer funds or
property from the federal or state governments to support and operate the California
Specialized Training Institute (Cal. Gov’t Code §8588.3(c)). The director also is
authorized to accept firearms, weaponry, explosive materials, chemical agents and
confiscated items from law enforcement as donations for training programs (Cal.
Gov’t Code §8588.3 (d)).
The statute sets out the procedure and requirements for the allocation and
expenditure of federal funding by local health jurisdictions for the prevention and
response to bio-terrorist attacks (2002 Cal. Acts, Chap. 393, 1161).

Proceeds from sales of California memorial license plates are deposited in the
antiterrorism fund and used for antiterrorism activities or transferred to the California
memorial scholarship fund (Cal. Vehicle Code §5066).
Hazard Mitigation
The proceeds of bond sales are to be used to increase the ability of unreinforced
masonry multifamily residential structures to withstand earthquakes (Cal. Gov’t Code
Funds are authorized to be used for retrofitting public facilities to improve
earthquake safety (Cal. Gov’t Code §8878.50 et seq.).
The Disaster Recovery Reconstruction Act of 1986 authorized assistance to
cities and counties with advance preparation for disasters such as devastating
earthquakes and for the recovery and reconstruction of affected communities (Cal.
Gov’t Code §8877.1 et seq.).
Cost-effective mitigation measures associated with the repair, restoration,
reconstruction of local agencies’ facilities damaged by natural disasters may be
approved by the director of OES (Cal. Gov’t Code §8686.4(b)).
Continuity of Government Operations
The legislature has the power to fill legislative offices and gubernatorial
vacancies, to convene the legislature, and to hold elections to other constitutional
offices following a war-caused or energy-caused disaster in the state (Cal. Const.
Art.4, §21).
The preservation of local government and government services includes the
succession of officers, standby officers, administration of oaths of office, and
continuation of duties of the governing body (Cal. Gov’t Code §8635 et seq.).
The Department of General Services is required to develop model business
resumption plans for state agencies after acts of terrorism or natural disasters (Cal.
Gov’t Code §8549.20).
The statute provides procedures for expedited special elections to fill vacancies
in congressional offices caused by a natural or man-made catastrophes that result in
the death or disappearance of at least one-fourth of total membership of the U.S.
House of Representatives, including any number of California representatives, or at
least one-fourth of the total California delegation (Cal. Elections Code §10730 et
A local legislative body may meet in closed session for an authorized emergency
meeting related to security matters (Cal. Gov’t Code §54956.5).

The statute authorizes training, recruitment, and reimbursement activities for
dog search teams to operate after disasters (Cal. Gov’t Code §8588.5).
The statute authorizes a statewide natural disaster volunteer corps program.
OES is required to develop a plan to use volunteer resources during a state of
emergency (Cal. Gov’t Code §8599 et seq.).
State employees are entitled to administrative time off after being called into
emergency service by OES. Overtime compensation is not awarded. Officers calling
state employees into service are not liable for disability or death benefits if employees
are injured or killed while working for OES. The statute sets time limits on
emergency duty. The statute applies to search and rescue teams, rescue dogs, and the
civil air patrol (Cal. Gov’t Code §19844.5).
OES is required to develop guidance for response to disasters related to
agriculture (Cal. Gov’t Code §8570.5).
The California Highway Patrol is to perform risk assessments of the state
transportation system in consultation with state and federal agencies (Cal. Gov’t
Code §8588.4).
Key Terms
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in California Statutes, with Citations
Act of terrorismCal. Gov’t Code §8549.2
Antiterrorism activitiesCal. Vehicle Code §5066 (5) (e)
DisasterCal. Gov’t Code §8680.3
Disaster councilCal. Gov’t Code §8557 (f)
Disaster service workerCal. Gov’t Code §8557 (f)
Emergency CouncilCal. Gov’t Code §8557 (a)
Emergency plansCal. Gov’t Code §8560
Hazardous material emergency responseCal. Gov’t Code §8589.2 (a)
Incident command systemsCal. Gov’t Code §8607 (a) (1)
Local disaster councilsCal. Gov’t Code §8610
Local emergencyCal. Gov’t Code §8680.9

Mutual aid regionCal. Gov’t Code §8559, 8600
Master mutual aid agreementCal. Gov’t Code §8561
Operational areaCal. Gov’t Code §8605
Sudden and severe energy shortageCal. Gov’t Code §8557 (h)
Weapon of mass destructionCal. Penal Code §11417 (a) (1)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for California
may be searched at: [].