McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

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:

  1. Legislative mandates requested by the local agency that was affected.
  2. Legislation defining a new crime or changing an existing definition of a crime.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Adheres and decides claims alleging that the State Controller has incorrectly reduced a reimbursement claim for a state mandated program.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.