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A state Senate bill was introduced today to provide disaster relief for people affected by the explosion and fire in San Bruno earlier this month.

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill, which includes a homeowner’s property tax exemption and would allow taxpayers to deduct income loss from the disaster, said Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for Yee.

The bill requires approval by two-thirds of the Legislature and the governor’s signature to become law.

It’s expected to be voted on when the Legislature returns to consider the state budget in the next week or two, Keigwin said.

The blast that tore through the Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood on Sept. 9 killed seven people and injured more than 50 others. Thirty-seven homes were destroyed, and 19 sustained substantial damage.

Yee’s bill, co-authored by state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would allow the continuation of a $7,000 property tax exemption for homeowners who would have qualified for the exemption if their homes were not damaged or destroyed.

The bill also includes assistance for San Mateo County, the city of San Bruno, and schools in the area by providing a one-year reimbursement from the state for property tax losses related to homes affected by the fire. Much of those property tax revenues go to local school districts, Keigwin said.

Other state legislators Yee has talked to “understand what’s happening in San Bruno and want to be helpful,” Keigwin said.

“We fully expect them to support this bill,” he said.

Even though two-thirds approval is needed, Keigwin said similar bills that provided disaster relief to other communities, such as those affected by wildfires in Southern California last year, have recently been passed.

“With these kind of bills, we’ve been able to do that,” he said.

“These folks need this now, not down the road.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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