The state legislature has given its final approval to SB 601, by Senator Mike Morrell, which would grant the state authority to waive or reduce government licensing fees for businesses recovering after a disaster.

Californians have experienced several damaging and costly natural disasters in recent years. The 2017 Tubbs Fire, Southern California mudslides and 2018 Camp Fire combined have claimed over 100 lives, destroyed more than 25,000 structures and impacted an estimated 381,784 businesses.

In the aftermath, expenses can pile up as victims must replace important documents and possessions, including licensing documents. Many lose everything and struggle during this process.

The California Chamber of Commerce named SB 601 a "Job Creator" and one of its top priorities for 2019.

Morrell has pushed for licensing reform throughout his tenure in the legislature. In 2019, he authored SB 999 to repeal certain licensing requirements in the fields of barbering and cosmetology and in 2017, he authored SB 1155 to waive initial licensing fees for veterans entering the civilian workforce.

"We're thrilled that the legislature passed Senator Morrell's SB 601," said Steven Greenhut, western region director for the R Street Institute, sponsor of the legislation. "By giving a fee break to disaster-hit business owners and workers, the state is sending the right message -- that it cares about helping its hard-pressed residents get back on their feet and about creating the right business climate."

SB 601 unanimously passed both the Senate and Assembly. The governor has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill into law.

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