Last September, we reported that the California Assembly had killed Toni Atkins’ AB 976, which would have given the California Coastal Commission the power to levy hefty fines on property owners for alleged violations of the Coastal Act—without having to go to court to prove its case, as it must today. My colleague, Jennifer Fry Thompson, wrote an excellent and comprehensive post exploring the disastrous consequences for coastal landowners, if the Commission gets this power. For obvious reasons, the Commission lobbied hard for this unprecedented expansion of its harassment power, as did its well-funded allies in the radical-environmentalist community.
Fast forward to today. Toni Atkins is Assembly speaker and, lo and behold, the proposal is back on the table. Only this time, Atkins hopes to pass it under the radar, as a budget “trailer bill”—i.e., a bill for implementing the state’s budget. Never mind the fact that the proposal has absolutely nothing to do with the budget! Make no mistake: This is a just an attempt by Atkins and her friends at the Commission to surreptitiously secure passage of the same proposal that has been voted down time and again by the Legislature.