Current law only allows the Commission to sue alleged violators. Backers of the bill say the coastal commission should have the same power to go after law breakers as every other state regulatory agency.
“They have to go to the Attorney General’s office,” Kathryn Phillips is Director of the California Sierra Club, which co-sponsored the bill. “And the Attorney General then has to file a lawsuit. It’s quite expensive, very consuming of staff time.”
But opponents say the bill should be tailored more to focus on the egregious violator.
“It shouldn’t go after the homeowner, the farmer, the rancher. Who may have a relatively small, alleged violation,” says Margo Parks with the California Cattlemen’s Association.
The bill has passed in the Assembly and is expected to be heard on the Senate floor in the next few days.