Highlights of Key RCRC Issues

  • Assembly Bill 1250 -- county contracting restrictions -- did not move out of the Senate Rules Committee;
  • Senate Bill 649 – the citing of small cell towers – Vetoed by Governor Brown;
  • The Cap-and-Trade package appropriates $200 million in funding for healthy forest programs, and appropriates $40 million in funding for organics diversion programs; and,
  • Bottle Bill reform was not addressed.

Specific “End-of-Session” Items

  • Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) – County Contracting
    Assembly Bill 1250 would establish restrictions on the use of personal service contracts by counties.  Despite amendments, AB 1250 does not address RCRC’s concerns as it will continue to inhibit counties from contracting with nonprofits and others to provide critical county services.  The RCRC-opposed bill continues to await consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.

    The RCRC/UCC opposition letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Senate Bill 649 (Hueso) – Small Cell Towers
    Senate Bill 649 would amend an existing law which provides that a wireless telecommunications facility is subject to a city or county discretionary permit and is required to comply with specified criteria.  Despite promises made by the wireless industry, the sponsor of SB 649, the bill would eliminate public input and full local environmental and design review.   The RCRC-opposed bill was vetoed by Governor Brown.

    The local government coalition letter can be accessed here.  Governor Brown’s veto message can be accessed here.
     

  • Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan
    The Legislature passed an extension of the State’s Cap-and-Trade auction program and expenditure plan.  Of importance to RCRC member counties, the Cap-and-Trade package 1) eliminates the State Responsibility Area fee permanently, and backfills the fund from Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds through 2030; 2) appropriates $200 million in funding for healthy forest programs to alleviate wildfire risk and aid in tree mortality mitigation, at least 10 percent of which must be used for local government assistance grants; and, 3) appropriates $40 million in funding to CalRecycle for organics diversion programs. 

    Unfortunately, the Cap-and-Trade package did not contain a modified definition of disadvantaged communities that will allow more rural areas to compete for targeted Cap-and-Trade dollars.  RCRC will continue to advocate for a broader definition of DAC throughout 2018.

    RCRC’s Cap-and-Trade letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Housing Package
    Governor Brown signed into law a number of housing and land-use bills as part of a housing package.  Senate Bill 2 (Atkins) provides a permanent source of affordable housing funding, and Senate Bill 3 (Beall) authorizes a $4 billion bond for housing, which requires voter approval in November 2018.  The bulk of the housing package is intended to streamline local regulatory processes and incentivize housing development through increased enforcement of existing housing laws. 

    The local government coalition letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Senate Bill 623 (Monning) – Water Quality
    Senate Bill 623 would establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.  SB 623 would provide grants, loans, or services to assist those without access to safe and affordable drinking water.  The funding to accomplish these goals include fees on public water system connections.  The proposed fee ranges from $0.95 per month to $10 per month.  At the request of RCRC, water systems of 200 service connections or less are exempted from this charge as are specified low-income customers and non-potable uses of water.  This RCRC-supported bill is now a two-year bill; Senator Monning has expressed his plans to keep working on it in 2018.

    RCRC’s support letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Assembly Bill 1665 (E. Garcia) - State Subsidies for Telecom Deployment
    Assembly Bill 1665 revises eligibility requirements for projects and project applicants for grants funded from the California Advanced Services Fund.  RCRC initially had a “Support if Amended” position on AB 1665; however, amendments made forced RCRC to adopt an “Oppose Unless Amended” position.  RCRC and local government partners requested that the bill be amended to restore the definitions of “unserved” and “underserved,” eliminate annual “right of first refusal,” and require transparency standards for deployment projects subsidized by ratepayers and Public-Benefit MOU commitments.   Unfortunately, the RCRC-opposed bill was signed into law by Governor Brown.   

    The local government coalition letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Senate Bill 568 (Lara) – Election Primaries
    Senate Bill 568 permanently places the Presidential Primary Election and the Gubernatorial Primary Election in early March.  RCRC opposed this effort as it creates a long election cycle for those running for county offices.  Furthermore, incumbent county officers who have experienced defeat in the March Primary would have nearly a year in office where they would serve as a lame duck. 

    RCRC’s opposition letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Assembly Bill 524 (Bigelow) – Wildfire Disaster Funding
    RCRC-supported Assembly Bill 524 appropriates approximately $8.2 million resulting from specified citations relating to the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras Counties to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to be expended for CAL FIRE's State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund and Tree Mortality Grant Program.  The grant program primarily awards funds to local governments and organizations such as Fire Safe Councils for wildfire prevention and tree mortality mitigation projects.  Unfortunately, the RCRC-supported bill was vetoed by Governor Brown.  

    RCRC’s support letter can be accessed here.  Governor Brown’s veto message can be accessed here.
     

  • Assembly Bill 133 (Assembly Budget Committee) - Cannabis
    Assembly Bill 133 is the second cannabis trailer bill to be adopted in the past 90 days.  Initially, RCRC and local government partners opposed the bill; however, counties removed their opposition due to productive discussions with the Brown Administration.  The Brown Administration has assured local governments that our concerns regarding the revisions to the state verification of local approval process will be addressed in the emergency regulations being promulgated by the licensing authorities this Fall.  AB 133 was signed into law by Governor Brown. 

    The local government coalition letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Senate Bill 458 (Wiener) – Bottle Bill – Rural Pilot Projects
    RCRC-supported Senate Bill 458 would, until July 1, 2020, direct the California to authorize up to five limited‑term mobile recycling pilot projects that are designed to improve redemption opportunities in unserved convenience zones.  RCRC believes it is imperative to expand the accessibility of recycling centers to unserved zones in light of recent and widespread recycling center closures.  The RCRC-supported bill was signed into law by Governor Brown.  

    RCRC’s support letter can be accessed here.
     

  • Water Bond
    Of the two water bonds introduced January 2017, the Legislature approved Senate Bill 5 (De León).  SB 5, the “Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018,” will be on the November 2018 ballot.  SB 5 authorizes the issuance of $4 billion in general obligation.  It should be noted that the primary purposes of funds in this bond proposal pertains to parks.  SB 5 was signed into law by Governor Brown.