MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Prevention Not Embraced — November 13, 2018

I thought the adventure with my bill to address electric line-caused conflagrations in wildfire zones with SB 1463 (2016) had run its course. I even did a final recap recently with MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018.

But, with the Santa Ana Wind season upon us again, we are seeing tragic fires in Southern and Northern California. There is speculation that the fire that wiped out the city of Paradise may have been started by wind-blown and sparking electrical lines, the very concern that SB 1463 was trying to address.

Regretfully, Governor Brown vetoed SB 1463 (2016) with the following message: “I am returning Senate Bill 1463 without my signature. This bill requires the Public Utilities Commission to prioritize areas that have increased fire hazard associated with overhead utility facilities. Since May of last year, the Commission and CalFire have been doing just that through the existing proceeding on fire-threat maps and fire-safety regulations. This deliberative process should continue and the issues this bill seeks to address should be raised in that forum.”

Well, last year The Wall Street Journal rightfully asked, after watching the Napa and Sonoma fires, “where are the fire maps?” Some deliberative process. What a sad joke. No maps. More greenhouse gases. More innocent lives lost. All because a Governor who despises managing a bureaucracy, relied on that same bureaucracy and received what? Nothing. And how did he or the Legislature address these concerns through “that forum”? And he has the gall to blame climate change and the utilities? Now we have the Campfire.

For a more recent account of this sad event, Katy Grimes provides a thorough lashing at

Not to be discouraged, we introduced a new version of SB 1436 this year, using Cap and Trade revenues to harden electrical assets, but it was voted down by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. However, the concept resurfaced in SB 901 (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Measure P — October 22, 2018). Your welcome, Governor Brown, at least my office brought a reasonable solution to the table to address transmission hardening and climate change.

So, watching the fires on television news reports has been gut wrenching. But, some still noticed this bill may have been a solution. The first piece below, from my appearance yesterday on KXL 101 and The Lars Larson Show, provides the set up and the link provides the audio of the interview.

It has generated more calls. I am scheduled to be on The Dennis Prager Show tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. (PST) to discuss the SB 1463 (2016 and 2018).
With the death toll over the last two years reaching over 100 people and the amount of greenhouse gases being produced in California as a result of the fires, you just want to scream. How could a Governor who has made global warming his top priority, even his personal religion, not sign a bill that attempts to harden electric lines? Especially when Gov. Brown wants to transmit even more electricity, including dispersing renewable energy produced in California’s solar and windmill farms, to charge “zero emission vehicles” and run a high speed rail?

The second piece below is from Comstock’s and addresses another major concern of mine, dealing with mental illness (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1004 and CIRM — September 10, 2018).

For more on the successful Proposition 2, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Working With the Governor-Elect — November 8, 2018 and MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 Ballot Measures — September 21, 2018.





Why Hasn’t California

Embraced Your Two Bills That

Would Allow More Fire


Senator John Moorlach is a Republican California State Senator representing 37th Senate district, which includes portions of Orange County. Senator Moorlach has proposed two separate bills in the past that would’ve implemented additional fire prevention efforts. He joined Lars to discuss these efforts and if these efforts would’ve mitigated the California wildfires. As of this writing, the California wildfire has caused the death of 29 people, with more than 200 still missing.


Back and Forward: Maggie Merritt

Steinberg Institute director on mental health resources

Maggie Merritt, executive director of the Steinberg Institute, offers her insight into mental health advocacy. For more from the Steinberg Institute, check out “Minding the Gap” in our November issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.

What’s the biggest change in mental health policy or advocacy in the past year?

One of the biggest shifts in mental health policy stems from the passage of landmark legislation we sponsored, Senate Bill 1004. California has a highly decentralized system of mental health care, which can make it difficult to standardize best practices. SB 1004, for the first time, establishes a statewide strategy for how counties can spend nearly $500 million a year in state funds that specifically target prevention and early intervention in mental illness.

The bill ensures that counties are spending PEI funds on areas of proven need and employing best practices in treatment. It builds in accountability, requiring the state to provide technical assistance and evaluation.

The legislation is part of our broader effort to promote a more deliberate approach to mental health care across California. We’re asking: What are the four or five services that we know would cause a dramatic decrease in the number of people who end up in our streets or prisons or morgues because of untreated mental illness? How do we scale up what works?

SB 1004 was co-authored by Senators Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. It passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed into law in September.

What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?

Two major changes are on the horizon, both related to the Nov. 6, 2018 statewide election. California has elected a new governor, and with that comes renewed opportunity to reshape and strengthen the state’s approach to mental health care. In coming months, our Steinberg Institute team will draw on global models to devise a roadmap toward a more effective, efficient and innovative mental health delivery system. We stand ready to work with the new administration to make that system a reality.

In addition, California voters approved Proposition 2, and that will be a gamechanger. That’s the ballot initiative that launches the “No Place Like Home” Program. It authorizes the state to use a small percentage of state mental health funding to leverage $2 billion in bonds to build housing, linked to treatment and services, for people living homeless with a serious mental illness. We know about a third of the people living homeless in California have untreated brain illness. This will mark a massive infusion of resources to attack this public health crisis. Over time, we hope to move tens of thousands of people off the streets and into recovery.

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