California Self Storage Association Seeks Member Support in Fighting New Legislation

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The California Self Storage Association (CSSA) is appealing to its members for help in fighting Senate Bill 279, which could have adverse affects for self-storage operators in the state. Introduced to the legislature in February by the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA), SB279 has been presented as correction to an error in Assembly Bill 655, which passed in the last session. The CSSA contends the new bill is not the mere technical change CNPA suggests.

AB655, which was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger last September and went into effect Jan. 1, created improvements to the state’s self-storage lien law for facility operators. The culmination of a three-year legislative battle, the new law addresses the "Declaration in Opposition” provision of the lien law, resulting in a more cost-effective process, provides for a more reasonably priced lien-sale notification procedure.

SB 279, authored by Senator Bill Emmerson, proposes to change section 21707 of AB655. In both versions of the law, an advertisement of each lien sale must be published once a week for two weeks consecutively in a newspaper of general circulation. The existing law states this newspaper should be circulated in the county where the sale is being held; the proposed verbiage stipulates the newspaper must be circulated in the judicial district where the sale is to be held.

According to CSSA, the change would reduce the number of publications in which self-storage operators can legally advertise a storage auction, possibly decreasing the number of potential buyers and thereby increasing the cost to advertise each sale. In addition, the association says it is difficult to determine the judicial district boundaries.

CSSA Director Erin King recently requested a map of California judicial districts from the Los Angeles County Clerk’s office. An e-mail sent to CSSA membership said the map King received was from 1951 and unclear on judicial districts. The County Clerk was unable to provide additional assistance. Internet searches for "California judicial districts” result in maps of California counties, CSSA said.

According to the CSSA message, “Now is the time to expand the options for advertising lien sales beyond newspapers of general circulation, not reduce them. Storage operators should be able to meet their statutory lien-sale advertising obligation by posting notice of lien sale on publicly accessible websites or advertising in publications that are actually read by auction buyers but may not be in the illusive ‘judicial district.’”

The CSSA is asking its members to submit a letter of opposition to SB279 to local assembly members, claiming the legislation is unfair and will not achieve the sponsor’s stated purpose. Assembly representatives can be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. Members can also send their letters directly to the CSSA, which will submit them on their behalf. Letters can be e-mailed or faxed to King at erin.king@cssaweb.com or 949.861.9425.

SB279 passed the Senate in late March and has moved on to the Assembly. Information about the legislation can be found at http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_279&sess=CUR&house=B&site=.

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