5 Pieces of Legislation Introduced Following Montecito Debris Flow
Source: Office of Sen. Jackson
In advance of the one-year anniversary of the January 9 Montecito debris flow, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) released the following statement:
“The Montecito debris flow was a devastating tragedy that claimed 23 lives, destroyed dozens of homes, and forever changed our community. We will never forget the neighbors we lost and the brave first responders who risked everything to save lives and protect our homes.
“In response to the tragedy, our community demonstrated that we are ‘Montecito Strong’ by coming together to help each other dig out and rebuild. In the past year, we have taken steps to strengthen our emergency management with significant legislation to improve emergency alerts and help prevent the fires that leave our communities vulnerable to such devastating and massive debris flows. But there is still much work to be done and we remain vulnerable to similar events in the immediate future. We must do all we can to prevent, prepare and respond to the devastating impacts of climate change not only in Montecito, but throughout California. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on the federal, state and local level to address these issues in the year ahead.”
As Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management last year, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson convened several hearings to study California’s emergency preparedness and response, including a July 12th hearing which examined Santa Barbara’s efforts to recover, rebuild and revitalize the community in the debris flow’s aftermath. She also authored significant legislation, which became law on January 1, in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and 1/9 debris flow:
- SB 917 clarifies that an insurance policy covers loss or damage resulting from a mudslide or debris flow if the acts were attributable to a condition already covered by the policy, such as wildfires.
- SB 821 allows counties to automatically enroll residents in emergency notifications, while preserving their ability to opt out of receiving the alerts.
- SB 1260 allows for more responsible prescribed burns to reduce wildfire fuels.
- SB 465 helps homeowners pay for fire-resistant improvements to their homes before a fire strikes.
Most recently, Senator Jackson introduced SB 46, which allows cities and universities to automatically enroll residents in emergency alerts while preserving their ability to opt-out, permits local governments to collect residents’ contact information from wireless providers, and allows local governments to identify residents with access and functional needs for the purpose of sending them specialized emergency alerts.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.