Senator Dodd’s Disaster Bills Advance Amid Continued Wildfire Losses

A cavalcade of disaster-related legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, moved closer to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk Wednesday as a wildfire continued to rage in Lake County, providing further proof that devastating fires in California are not letting up.

“To see this level of risk so early in the fire season is a sign that we must take appropriate steps to minimize loss of life and property,” Senator Dodd said. “I continue to advance solutions to the recurring issue through this much-need package of bills that I hope will prevent future fires and help care for people when disaster strikes.”

Senate Bill 969 requires all newly installed electric garage door openers be equipped with backup batteries so they continue to operate during a disaster-connected power failure. In the October wildfires, many evacuees reported being unable to drive away. The bodies of at least five people killed in the fires were found in the vicinity of burned garages. The bill passed the Assembly’s Housing committee and heads next to the Judiciary committee.

SB 1040 ensures disabled people continue to receive services from caregivers during a disaster. It also cleared the Housing committee and move next to Appropriations.

SB 894 allows families to combine insurance coverage to pay for losses suffered in a disaster. It also extends living expenses for disaster victims for up to three years. It passed the Insurance committee and goes to the Assembly floor.

And SB 901 requires utilities to create policies to shut off and de-energize power lines in extreme weather such as high winds, to avoid another disaster. It cleared Utilities committee and goes to Appropriations.

All four bills are expected to go to the governor in August.

Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at