Van De Kamp, 010484 CAAGO, AGO 83-201

Docket Nº:AGO 83-201
Case Date:January 04, 1984
Court:California
 
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JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
RODNEY O. LILYQUIST Deputy Attorney General
AGO 83-201
No. 83-201
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
January 4, 1984
         THE HONORABLE JAMES E. SMITH, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL, has requested an opinion on the following questions:          1. Does the city or county have the authority to establish a licensing or inspection program regulating the transportation of hazardous material over roadways within its jurisdiction?          2. Does a city or county have the authority to restrict the roadways upon which hazardous material is transported within its jurisdiction?          CONCLUSIONS          1. A city or county does not have the authority to establish a licensing or inspection program regulating the transportation of hazardous material over roadways within its jurisdiction.          2. A city or county has limited authority to restrict the roadways upon which hazardous material is transported within its jurisdiction.          ANALYSIS          The questions presented for analysis concern the authority of cities and counties to enact ordinances regulating the transportation of "hazardous material" over roadways within their jurisdictions. The first question deals with a licensing or inspection program, and the second concerns restricting the roads upon which such material may be transported.          Applying the applicable provisions of the Vehicle Code,1 we conclude that cities and counties may not establish their own licensing or inspection programs regulating the transportation of hazardous material over roadways within their jurisdictions but may to a limited degree restrict the roadways upon which the material is transported within their jurisdictions.          1. Local Licensing and Inspection Programs          The first question to be resolved is whether a city or county may exercise its general "police powers" authority to establish a licensing or inspection program. Section 7 of article XI of the Constitution states: "A county or city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws."          The "general law" relevant here is Vehicle Code section 21.2 It provides:
         "Except as otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of this code are applicable and uniform throughout the State and in all counties and municipalities therein, and no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance on the matters covered by this code unless expressly authorized herein."
         A licensing and inspection program regulating the transportation of hazardous material is a matter covered by the Vehicle Code. The Department of the California Highway Patrol ("CHP") is responsible for both licensing (§ 32000.5) and inspecting (§ 32001) motor carriers transporting hazardous material. Section 32000.5 states:
         "(a) Every motor carrier who directs the transportation of an explosive and, on and after July 1, 1982, any motor carrier who directs the transportation of a hazardous material, who is required to display placards pursuant to Section 27903, and every motor carrier who transports for a fee in excess of 500 pounds of hazardous materials of the type requiring placards pursuant to Section 27903, shall be licensed in accordance with the provisions of this code, unless specifically exempted by this code or regulations adopted pursuant to this code. This license shall be available for examination and shall be displayed in accordance with the regulations adopted by the commissioner.          "(b) This division shall not apply to any person hauling only hazardous waste, as defined in Section 25115 or 25117 of the Health and Safety Code, and who is registered pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 25163 of Health and Safety Code or who is exempt from that registration pursuant to subdivision (b) of that section.          "(c) This division shall not apply to implements of husbandry, as defined in Section 36000."
         Section 27903 in turn provides:
         "Subject to the provisions of Section 25611 of the Health and Safety Code, any vehicle transporting any
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