Governor Brown Vetoes Seismic Safety Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation directing cities and counties to create a list of buildings at risk of seismic collapse.

Advocates had called AB 2681 a major step in earthquake preparedness and safety. But Gov. Brown questioned whether such an inventory would provide the “greatest value” for the investment (cost estimates ranged from $15 million to tens of millions of dollars). Instead, Brown recommended a partnership between the state, local governments, and landlords to correctly identify buildings prone to collapse. This would include a “realistic timeline to develop an inventory.” He’s enlisting the help of the Seismic Safety Commission to develop an alternative plan. 

AB 2681’s sponsor Adrian Nazarian, who represents the earthquake-prone San Fernando Valley, expressed disappointment at the governor’s veto. Nazarian has argued that the benefits of identifying and mitigating vulnerable structures far outweigh the initial costs. Nevertheless, he said he looks forward to working with the Seismic Safety Commission to improve building safety across the state.

Scientists say California is long overdue for a major quake and believe an 8.2-magnitude tremor, which would cause massive devastation and loss of life, could be on the horizon

Two of the last major quakes in Loma Prieta (1989) and Northridge (1994) cost billions of dollars worth of damage. In the absence of state legislation some cities, such as Los Angeles, have implemented their own seismic inventory ordinances.