Readers of bills in the California Legislature may have come across a bill that has a “plus section” at the end of the bill that reads as follows:
To the extent that this act has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state or otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
What does that paragraph mean? In order to understand the impact of this provision, readers have to look at two sections of the California Constitution. The first is found in Article XIII, Section 36 and the second is found in Article XIII B, Section 6. What do these two provisions provide?
Article XIII, Section 36
In the last section of the Article, the term “public safety services” is defined. In Subdivision (a)(2), the term “2011 Realignment Legislation” is defined to mean “legislation enacted on or before September 30, 2012, to implement the state budget plan, that is entitled 2011 Realignment and provides for the assignment of Public Safety Services responsibilities to local agencies, including related reporting responsibilities.”
In addition, Section 36 provides local agencies with maximum flexibility and control over the design, administration, and delivery of Public Safety Services consistent with federal law and funding requirements, as determined by the Legislature. “However, 2011 Realignment Legislation shall include no new programs assigned to local agencies after January 1, 2012, except for the early periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment (EPSDT) program and mental health managed care.” As a result, the Legislature, pursuant to this section of the state Constitution, is prohibited from adding any new public safety services to local agencies.
Section 36 goes on to establish funding amount to the Local Revenue Fund 2011 established pursuant to the Government Code. These funds are continuously appropriated exclusively to fund the provision of Public Safety Services by local agencies. The methodology for allocating funds shall be as specified in the 2011 Realignment Legislation.
In addition, Section 36 states that a mandate of a new program or higher level of service on a local agency imposed by the 2011 Realignment Legislation, or by any regulation adopted or any executive order or administrative directive issued to implement that legislation, shall not constitute a mandate requiring the State to provide a subvention of funds within the meaning of that section. As a result of this provisions, any requirements imposed on local agencies for performing its Public Safety Services responsibilities, or any other matter, are not a reimbursable mandate. The reimbursable mandate is found in Section 6 of Article XIII B.
Pursuant to Section 36, any legislation that is enacted after September 30, 2012, that has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the State provides annual funding for the cost increase. Moreover, local agencies are not be obligated to provide programs or levels of service required by legislation above the level for which funding has been provided.
Article XIII B, Section 6
This section provides that, whenever the Legislature or any state agency mandates a new program or higher level of service on any local government, the State is required to provide a subvention of funds to reimburse that local government for the costs of the program or increased level of service, except that the Legislature may, but need not, provide a subvention of funds for specified mandates.
In addition, a mandated new program or higher level of service includes a transfer by the Legislature from the State to cities, counties, cities and counties, or special districts of complete or partial financial responsibility for a required program for which the State previously had complete or partial financial responsibility.
The 2011 Realignment is implicated in a bill that will increase costs upon local agencies that are mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation pursuant to Article XIII, Section 36. The bill will only apply to those local agencies if the state provides annual funding to cover the cost increase.
However, if the local agency provides a new program or higher level of service above what is funded by the State, no addition funding is to be provided. As a result, the local agency is not reimbursed for either that new program or higher level of funding.
The language from the bill’s “plus section” describes this situation so that the public and legislators understand the implications of the bill.
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