Following the devastating fires in Northern and Southern California, a bi-partisan group of state Assembly members proposed legislation to waive certain government fees on properties located in these disaster areas.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, an Orange County Democrat from Fullerton, introduced Assembly Bill 1765 last week. Several other Assembly members joined her as co-author, including three Republicans — Randy Voepel, who represents the Hill, Steven Choi (68th District) and Marie Waldren (75th District).

AB 1765 would waive the $75 document fee imposed by the Building Homes and Jobs Act. “The fee’s purpose is to record every real-estate instrument, paper or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded, per each single transaction per single parcel of real property, not to exceed $225. The county recorder sends the revenues to the controller for deposit into a fund in the State Treasury to be expanded for various purposes related to homes and jobs,” according to the bill.

AB 1765 would waive these charges for real property on which repairs or reconstruction are taking place as a direct result of a disaster for which the governor has declared a state of emergency.

“Those who are already enduring tremendous challenges as a result of natural disasters don’t need the state to add on additional burdens,” Voepel said in the press release announcing his support for the bill. “As the representative of a region that has suffered from tremendous wildfire damage in the past, I am proud to join a bipartisan lineup of legislators in supporting legislation that will protect fire victims.”

In 2017, more than 10,000 structures were lost in major California wildfires that Governor Jerry Brown declared “states of emergency.” The wildfires that swept across Northern California destroyed nearly 8,900 structures. The Thomas blaze northwest of downtown Los Angeles destroyed almost 1,100 structures. The Lilac and Anaheim Hills fires destroyed another 200 structures.

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