On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown vetoed SB 80 (Wieckowski), a bill that would have added to CEQA’s already detailed notice requirements.

Specifically, SB 80 would have amended Public Resources Code §§ 21092.2, 21092.3, 21108 and 21152 so as to require, inter alia, that state and local lead agencies: (1) offer to provide scoping notices, notices of preparation, and notices of determination by email to persons so requesting; (2) post all such notices on the agency’s website (if any); and (3) file with OPR or the County Clerk, as applicable, all Notices of Exemption (NOEs) for approved projects found exempt pursuant to the categorical exemptions contained in the CEQA Guidelines (as opposed to other possible bases for exemption).

The bill would have also required county clerks to post on their counties’ Internet Web sites EIR scoping notices and notices of preparation for EIRs and negative declarations, for specified periods.

While recognizing it would impose additional duties and state-mandated local programs on local lead agencies and county clerks, the legislature found reimbursement would not be required due to local agencies’ and school districts’ authority to levy service charges, fees or assessments sufficient to cover the additional costs.

Consistent with the Governor’s oft-expressed desire to meaningfully reform CEQA in a comprehensive fashion, his brief veto message stated in part: “While I agree with the author’s desire to provide greater transparency, the current CEQA process already is very detailed, and requires an incredible amount of notice. For that reason, I am reluctant to add the additional requirements mandated by this bill.”