California’s Commission on State Mandates derives its power from Article XIII B, Section 6 of the California State Constitution, which deals with a government spending limitation.
Section 6 of Article XIII B provides that whenever the Legislature or any state agency mandates a new program or a higher level of service on any local government, then the state must provide a subvention of funds to reimburse that local government for the cost of the program or the increased level of service. Section 6 provides an exception that the Legislature may, but not need provide a subvention of funds for the following specified mandates:
- Legislative mandates requested by the local agency that was affected.
- Legislation defining a new crime or changing an existing definition of a crime.
- Legislative mandates that were enacted prior to January 1, 1975, or executive orders or regulations initially implementing legislation that was enacted prior to 1/1/75.
- Certain legislative mandates contained in statutes.
A mandated new program, or a higher level of service, includes a transfer by the Legislature from the state to cities, counties, cities and counties, or special districts of complete or partial financial responsibility for a required program for which the state previously had complete or partial financial responsibility.
Pursuant to California law, the Commission on State Mandates has four primary duties.
- Adheres and decides test claims alleging that the Legislature or a state agency imposed a reimbursable state mandated program on local agencies, school districts, or community college districts.
- Adheres and decides claims alleging that the State Controller has incorrectly reduced a reimbursement claim for a state mandated program.
- Adheres and decides request to adopt a new test claim decision to supersede a previously adopted test claim decision upon a showing that the state’s liability for that decision, pursuant to Article XIII B Section 6A, has been modified by subsequent change in the law.
- Determines the existence of significant financial distress for applicant counties that seek to reduce the level of aid that they provide under General Assistance and General Relief.
You can find a full transcript of today’s podcast here.