State Lands Commission Moving Forward on SB 50 Regulations
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Last year the Legislature passed SB 50 (Allen, Chapter 535, Statutes of 2017) that prohibited the conveyance of certain federal lands without the consent of the State Lands Commission. The CLTA opposed SB 50 in the Legislature as unconstitutional and the United States recently sued California over the new law. Nevertheless, given lengthy litigation proceedings, the CLTA recommended to the State Lands Commission that it act to clarify exemptions and streamline requests for determinations so as to minimize disruption in the transfer of real property and transfers of less than fee interests that were not intended to require State Lands Commission approval.
Recently, the State Lands Commission staff sought comments on draft regulations before undertaking the regular rulemaking process where public comments can again be made to the Commission. The deadline for those informal comments has passed and it’s anticipated a revised draft will soon be issued to start the rulemaking process.
Although the new law has an expansive definition of federal public lands, the Commission staff believes that the Legislature intended for SB 50 to address conveyances of federal public lands with high value for environmental conservation or preservation, tourism, scientific study, or recreation, such as national parks and monuments. Therefore, the draft regulations focus on these categories by limiting or eliminating the application of SB 50 to other conveyances, such as conveyances of lands associated with a military defense base realignment or closure.
The draft regulations also intend to exempt transfers of property forfeited under federal criminal statutes because they do not qualify as "conveyances" subject to SB 50. Alternatively, Commission staff anticipates that the regulation would be modified such that conveyances of property forfeited under federal criminal statutes would qualify as "routine" conveyances under SB 50.