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Lawmakers: California Coastal Commission can fine

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law empowering the California Coastal Commission to fine property owners who illegally block beach access to the public.

The Oakland Tribune reported Saturday (http://tinyurl.com/n27zqsa ) that the commission has been without the authority to levy fines since its creation in 1976. The commission new powers come amid a legal tussle between Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla and environmentalists over Khosla's closing public access to Martins Beach in San Mateo County. A judge is deciding whether Khosla, who owns oceanfront property, is allowed to close an access road to the beach.

The commission is responsible for protecting the state's coastline. Until now, it collected money only through taking violators to court.

The new bill was included part a $108 billion state budget package.

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