Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown vetoes bill to fully reimburse first responders for San Bernardino attack

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed legislation that would have required the state to fully reimburse first responders for the cost of responding to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, saying the state cannot afford to set such a precedent.

“I recognize the unique circumstances of this horrific terrorist attack,” Brown said in a veto message. “However, this bill sets the expectation that the state will assume all financial responsibility for future emergency costs. The General Fund cannot afford this precedent.”

Senate Bill 1385, by Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, would have required full reimbursement for the local response to the shooting in San Bernardino, where 14 people were killed in a rampage at a social services center in December. The normal state reimbursement in such emergencies is 75 percent of eligible costs, and a legislative analysis estimated passage of the bill would cost the state about $1.6 million. Leyva could still hold out hope for fuller reimbursement. Despite vetoing the bill, Brown said the Office of Emergency Services would work with local agencies in San Bernardino on cost recovery.

The measure was passed unanimously by the Legislature before being vetoed by Brown, a fiscal moderate.

The Democratic governor also vetoed a handful of social-services-related bills that he estimated would result in an additional $240 million in annual spending.

As he has previously on similar proposals, Brown said the measures should be considered during the state’s annual budget deliberations.

“This is the best way to evaluate and prioritize all new spending proposals, including those that increase the cost of existing programs,” Brown wrote. “This process is even more important when the state’s budget is precariously balanced.”

Among the bills Brown vetoed was Assembly Bill 492, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, which would have provided a $50-per-child monthly diaper-buying stipend to parents receiving subsidized child care as part of their participation in a welfare-to-work program.

The measure would cost the Department of Social Services about $14 million to $18 million annually, according to a legislative analysis.

Other vetoed bills include:

▪ Assembly Bill 885, by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, which sought to help former foster children seek public assistance, if necessary, by removing a requirement that their guardian or adoptive parent no longer be receiving assistance on their behalf.

▪ Assembly Bill 1584, by Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, which would have increased funding for needy, aged, blind and disabled people.

▪ Assembly Bill 1770, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, which would have extended eligibility under the California Food Assistance Program to noncitizens legally in the United States.

▪ Assembly Bill 1838, by Assemblymen Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, which sought to increase aid for pregnant foster youths.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders