Once again a state legislator is attempting to repeal the controversial state fire prevention fee. Last week, Sen. Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), introduced Senate Bill 198 to eliminate the fee, which was enacted in 2011.

“While the legality of the fire tax is more than questionable, it is also fundamentally unfair,” said Morrell in a press release. “It forces a small percentage of Californians to pay a disproportionate share of fire prevention services.

“Additionally, approximately 98 percent of the homes in state responsibility areas are within areas already covered by local fire districts or county fire departments,” he noted. “As a result, many of these property owners are essentially being double-taxed without any appreciable increase in the services provided.”

Opponents of the fee contend that it is really a “tax,” which is the basis of an on-going class-action lawsuit. The Howard Jarvis Tax Association initiated the litigation contesting the fee’s legality.

When an assemblyman, Morrell also introduced a bill to repeal the fire fee. While it was passed in its first policy committee hearing, the Assembly Appropriations Committee eventually killed the bill.

SB 198 will be referred to committee and set for hearing in the spring.

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) is a principal co-author of the measure.