Sen. Morrell’s Newest Legislation Aims to Help Provide Relief After Natural Disasters

By on May 4, 2019

Reestablishing your life after a major disaster is akin to one disaster after another. If you own your own business and both your home and business were in the path of the natural disaster the task of rebuilding both parts of your world are magnified exponentially. Just ask someone who survived any of California’s more recent disaster – the 2017 Tubbs Fire, the 2018 Camp Fire or one of Southern California’s mudslides. Just these events destroyed more than 25,000 structures and impacted more than 380,000 businesses.

State Senator Mike Morrell (R-23rd District-Rancho Cucamonga) wants to provide a bit of relief for business owners and entrepreneurs by reducing or eliminating the fees that individuals must pay to replace licenses which, for many business people must be on display in the workplace. Senate Bill 601 authored by Sen. Morrell would allow state agencies and departments to waive or reduce fees for businesses or entrepreneurs having to replace licenses within one year following displacement after a federal or state-declared disaster. The Institute for Justice, a non-profit libertarian public interest law firm in the United States, reports that the average amount spent on licensing fees in California is $486.

“It is difficult to fathom having to rebuild entire lives after a disaster,” said Sen. Morrell. “As Californians, we are all in this recovery effort together. As part of that process, the state should provide what relief it can to help these individuals and communities thrive again.”

Currently, SB 601 has unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance as well as the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development (B, P, ED). B, P, ED has rereferred the bill to the Committee on Appropriations with their recommendation and recommend the bill for the California Legislature’s Consent Calendar.

“Sen. Morrell’s SB 601 seems like a small thing, but it can be a big help,” said Steven Greenhut, western region director for the R Street Institute — an American conservative and libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. — sponsor of SB 601. “The average licensing fee in California is nearly $500 – not much in the context of a fire-ravaged house perhaps, but enough to impose hardship when people are trying to rebuild their lives in the middle of a disaster. Reducing or eliminating fees is not only an act of good faith by government officials, but it can help get people back to work as soon as possible. It also encourages people to play by the rules.”