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Gov. Schwarzenegger, bottom left, is joined by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, right, and local and statewide public safety officials at Friday’s signing of Assembly Bill 38 in San Diego.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assemblyman Pedro Nava’s Assembly Bill 38 at a signing ceremony Friday in San Diego, site of the devastating wildfires that struck the state last year.

AB 38, the California Emergency Services Act, creates a new cabinet-level California Emergency Management Agency by combining the Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.

The bill will give CALEMA the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and homeland security activities in the state.

“Emergency personnel, firefighters and law enforcement all over the state have been asking for this reform for many years. CALEMA will make the state more responsive when disaster strikes,” Nava said. “Everyone saw the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the poor response by the federal government. We want to make sure that California’s emergency response and recovery system works effectively and efficiently and can respond to the needs of its residents.”

John Mann is a spokesman for Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.