The California Senate Public Safety Committee approved legislation this week authored by Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, that would preserve an "important tool" used to determine penalties for arsonists.
The bill, SB 930, introduced Feb. 3, would renew a 2009 statute that allows law enforcement authorities to incorporate the cost of firefighting activities when calculating the total amount of property damage for an arson fire.
The legislation would extend the law through 2018.
Berryhill cited last year's Rim Fire, which cost the U.S. Forest Service $127 million to fight, in a statement announcing the committee's approval of his bill on Tuesday.
"Whether it is your house, your property or, as in the case of the Rim Fire, our precious forests, I want arsonists to know they are going to be held accountable for not only the damage they do to property but for the cost of fighting the fire," he said.
For the complete story, see the March 27, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.