The Barbed Wire - August 10, 2018

August 10, 2018
Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!
As California Burns, RCRC Implores Legislature to Action on Wildfire
California Delegation Requests Major Disaster Declaration
Rural Broadband Update
The Rural Rundown Podcast Episode #7: End of 2017-18 Legislative Session
THE RURAL RUNDOWN PODCAST
BULLETIN BOARD
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!

RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held September 19-21 at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa in Napa County.  This year’s program will feature experts discussing a wide range of topics of interest to rural counties, including school safety and emergency disaster response, the changing face of media, the current political landscape, global trade war, the U.S. Census, and more.  Read More…

As California Burns, RCRC Implores Legislature to Action on Wildfire

In a four-page letter issued this week, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) implored the Legislature and its Wildfire Preparedness & Response Legislative Conference Committee (Committee) to take much needed action in order to prevent and minimize future catastrophic wildfires.  While the appropriate urgency has yet to be given to increasing the pace and scale of managing and restoring both state and federal forest lands within California’s borders, the Legislature now has a unique opportunity to impact future wildfires by implementing real solutions that will help prevent loss of lives, destruction of property, and profound emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.  Read More…

California Delegation Requests Major Disaster Declaration

25 members of California’s congressional delegation co-signed a letter to President Trump in support of Governor Jerry Brown’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for wildfires in Lake, Mendocino, and Napa Counties.  The declaration would grant California federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the state’s wildfire management efforts.  

The signatories urged the Trump Administration to accept California’s request for a major disaster declaration, and sited the scope and devastation of the uncontained wildfires.  The bipartisan letter comes days after the President tweeted that California’s wildfires are “magnified & made so much worse” by the state’s environmental laws. 

Rural Broadband Update

This week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting comments on the implementation of the e-Connectivity Pilot Program created in the omnibus spending measure that was signed into law on March 23, 2018.  The omnibus package appropriated $600 million for the pilot program within the Rural Utilities Service to finance broadband deployment projects in underserved rural areas.  

Rural communities with a population of 20,000 or less with an internet speed of 10 megabits per second or slower will qualify for assistance from the pilot program.  Comments for the program’s implementation are due on September 10, 2018.

In addition, the USDA announced it will invest $97 million in 12 projects across 11 states that will increase internet service for underserved or unserved rural areas.  The states impacted by the program would include Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  The $97 million will come from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Community Connect Grant Program at the USDA.  Rural California will not benefit from this round of investment, but the USDA reiterated that such investments are the key to rural prosperity and a priority for the agency under the Trump Administration.

The Rural Rundown Podcast Episode #7: End of 2017-18 Legislative Session

In this episode of The Rural Rundown, Justin Caporusso, RCRC's Vice President of External Affairs sits down with Paul Smith, RCRC's Vice President of Governmental Affairs, to talk about the final stretch of 2017-18 Legislative Session, discussing items of particular interest to California's rural counties. The Legislature reconvenes from their summer recess of August 6th and has less than four weeks to finish its business for this legislative year.  Read More…

THE RURAL RUNDOWN PODCAST

The Rural Rundown discusses the legislative and regulatory issues impacting California’s rural counties, featuring commentary and interviews from individuals committed to improving the quality of life in rural California. 

The Rural Rundown can be accessed here

BULLETIN BOARD

Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.

USDA Invests $5 million in Infrastructure Funding in Two Tulare County Communities

Click here

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

RCRC members are encouraged to share letters addressed to state and federal representatives and regulatory bodies with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.  

Assembly Bill 893 (Garcia): Assembly Bill 893 would require each retail seller of electricity and each local publicly owned electric utility to procure a proportionate share, as determined by the Public Utilities Commission, in consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, of electricity products from a statewide total of 3,500 megawatts of geothermal generation capacity. Status: AB 893 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 924 (Bonta): Indian Tribes: Commercial Cannabis Activity.  Assembly Bill 924 expresses legislative intent to authorize the Governor to enter into agreements concerning cannabis activities on lands of federally-recognized sovereign Indian tribes. Status: AB 924 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer): Counties and Cities: Personal Contract Services.  Assembly Bill 1250 would establish specific standards for the use of personal services contracts by counties.  Status: AB 1250 awaits consideration in the Senate Rules Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 1875 (Wood): Residential Property Insurance.  Assembly Bill 1875 would require an insurer to offer extended replacement cost coverage when issuing or renewing a policy of residential property insurance and requires the insurer to disclose the premium costs for extended replacement cost coverage. Status: AB 1875 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1919 (Wood): Price Gouging: State of Emergency. Assembly Bill 1919 would make it a misdemeanor, upon proclamation or declaration of an emergency to increase the monthly rental price advertised, offered or charged for residential housing to an existing or prospective tenant by more than a specified percentage or greater than the rental price advertised, offered, or charged within 30 days immediately prior to the date of the proclamation or disaster. Status: AB 1919 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1954 (Patterson): Timber Harvest Plans: Exemption: Flammable Materials. Assembly Bill 1954 would delete the inoperative date of an exemption from some or all provisions of the Forest Practices Act of 1973 concerning a person engaged in specified forest management activities. Status: AB 1954 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2050 (Caballero): Small System Water Authority Act of 2018.  Assembly Bill 2050 would create the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018 and state legislative findings and declarations relating to authorizing the creation of small system water authorities that will have powers to absorb, improve, and competently operate noncompliant public water systems. Defines various terms and requires a change in organization to be carried out as set forth in the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000. Status: AB 2050 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2348 (Aguiar-Curry): Winter-Flooded Rice: Incentives. Assembly Bill 2348 would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would provide an incentive to farmers to maintain winter-flooded rice. Status:  AB 2348 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2447 (Reyes): California Environmental Quality Act: Land Use. Assembly Bill 2447 would require the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to publish a list of subject land uses and a map that identifies disadvantaged communities and areas within 1/2 mile radius of the disadvantaged communities. Requires a lead agency to provide certain notices to owners and occupants of property located within one-half mile of any parcel or parcels, and to any schools located within one mile of any parcel or parcels, involving a subject land use. Status: AB 2447 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Concerns

Assembly Bill 2518 (Aguiar-Curry): Innovative Forest Products and Mass Timber. Assembly Bill 2518 would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in collaboration with the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, to explore markets, including export markets, for milling, development, and expansion of innovative forest products and mass timber, that require consistence with the state's climate objectives on forest lands. Status: AB 2518 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2594 (Friedman): Fire Insurance. Assembly Bill 2594 would revise the standard forms of policy and extend the period in which to bring suit to 24 months after the inception of the loss if the loss is related to a state of emergency, as specified. Status: AB 2594 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2649 (Arambula): Groundwater Recharge. AB 2649 would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to increase groundwater recharge. Status: AB 2649 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose Unless Amended

Assembly Bill 2697 (Gallagher): Wildlife, Bird and Waterfowl habitat. Assembly Bill 2697 would require the Wildlife Conservation Board to establish a program, which may include direct payments or other incentives, to encourage landowners to voluntarily cultivate or retain cover crops or other upland vegetation on idled lands to provide waterfowl, upland game bird, and other wildlife habitat cover for purposes, including, but not limited to, encouraging the use of idle agricultural lands for wildlife habitat. Status: AB 2697 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2805 (Bigelow): Wild Pig Validation. Assembly Bill 2805 would revise and recast the provisions applicable to wild pigs by, among other things, specifying that the wild pig is not a game mammal or non-game mammal. Expands the definition of wild pig to include feral pigs, European wild boars, and any pig that has 2 or more specified phenotypical characteristics and that does not have a permanent mark or visible tag, as specified. Replaces the wild pig tag requirement with a wild pig validation. Status: AB 2805 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position:  Pending

Assembly Bill 2975 (Friedman): Wild Scenic Rivers. Assembly Bill 2975 would take action to remove or delist any river or segment of a river in California that is included in the national wild and scenic rivers system and not in the state wild and scenic rivers system, requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, after holding a public hearing on the issue, to take any necessary action to add the river or segment of a river to the state wild and scenic rivers system and to classify that river or segment of a river. Status: AB 2975 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 3036 (Cooley): Solid Waste: Definition. Assembly Bill 3036 would exclude from the State Integrated Waste Management Act's definition of solid waste byproducts from processing food, if those byproducts meet certain conditions, including, among others, that the byproducts are intended for use as animal feed. Status: AB 3036 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Watch

Assembly Bill 3178 (Rubio): Integrated Waste Management Plans: Source Reduction. Assembly Bill 3178 would require the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to consider whether the absence or loss of a market for recyclable materials necessitated the disposal of those materials as a temporary measure to avoid a public health threat when evaluating a jurisdiction’s compliance with AB 939 diversion goals. Status: AB 3178 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 71 (Weiner): Solid Waste: Disposal. Senate Bill 71 would require a court to award to a prevailing party reasonable attorney's fees, expert witness fees, and other costs incurred in a civil action brought to enforce a franchise, contract, license, permit, or other authorization for solid waste handling services in an amount the court deems appropriate. Prohibits the court from awarding those fees and costs under specified circumstances. Imposes certain requirements on a plaintiff in order for a court to award those costs and fees. Expands civil enforcement. Status: SB 71 awaits consideration Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Status: Support if Amended

Senate Bill 168 (Wieckowski): Beverage Container Recycling Act of 2017.  Senate Bill 168 would require Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to establish minimum recycled content for beverage containers and to provide the Legislature a report on an extended producer responsibility program to replace the current beverage container recycling program. Status: SB 168 awaits action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Watch

Senate Bill 212 (Jackson): Solid Waste: Pharmaceutical Sharps and Waste. Senate Bill 212 would establish a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program, under which each manufacturer of covered drugs or sharps, as defined, in the state would be required to establish and implement, either on its own or as part of a group of covered manufacturers through membership in a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship organization, a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program. Status: SB 212 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 452 (Glazer): The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act. Assembly Bill 452 is considered the bottle bill “short term fix” and is intended to increase recycling opportunities. SB 452 proposes to return processing payments to 2015 levels and extends plastic recycling market development incentives. SB 452 would also limit take back responsibility for dealers in unserved zones to 24 containers per day, temporarily relieve dealers by suspending the take-back obligation in zones that became unserved due to a recycling center closure until December 2021 and provides additional handling fees in rural areas annually for three years, among other provisions. Status:  SB 452 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support If Amended

Senate Bill 623 (Monning): Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.  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. Status: SB 623 awaits consideration in the Assembly Rules Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 824 (Lara): Insurance: Nonrenewal.  Senate Bill 824 would express the intent of the Legislature to clarify that the provisions described concerning cancellation of structural insurance policies is applicable to all insured properties located within a county for which a state of emergency has been declared. SB 824 prohibits nonrenewal of the policies under specified circumstances. Status: SB 824 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 894 (Dodd): Property Insurance. Senate Bill 894 would require an insurer, in the case of a total loss to the primary insured structure under a policy of residential property insurance, to offer to renew the policy. Increases the minimum coverage for additional living expenses in the case of a loss related to a declared state of emergency. Requires an insurer who decides not to offer to renew a policy after the expiration of that period to report the decision to not offer to renew the policy to the Insurance Commissioner. Status: SB 894 awaits action in the Assembly. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 917 (Jackson): Insurance Policies. Senate Bill 917 would provide that insurance policies that do not cover the peril of landslide shall not exclude coverage for any loss or damage attributable to a landslide if the landslide resulting in loss or damage was proximately caused by another covered peril, as provided.  Status: SB 917 awaits action in the Assembly. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 998 (Dodd): Water Shutoffs: Urban and Community Water Systems. Senate Bill 998 would require an urban and community water system as a public water system that supplies water to more than 200 service connections, to have a written policy on residential service shutoff available in specified languages of the people residing in its service area. Requires certain aspect to be available on its system web site and be provided annually to customers in writing. Status: Senate Bill 998 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 1079 (Monning): Forest Resources: Fire Prevention Grant Fees. Senate Bill 1079 would relate to existing laws authorizing the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection to provide grants to entities, including, but not limited to, private or nongovernmental entities, Native American tribes, or local, state, and federal public agencies, for the implementation and administration of projects and programs to improve forest health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Authorizes the Director to authorize advance payments to a nonprofit organization, a special district, or a Native American tribe. Status: SB 1079 awaits action in the Assembly. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 1215 (Hertzberg): Drinking Water Systems and Sewer Systems: Consolidation. Senate Bill 1215 would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to set timeline and performance measures to facilitate completion of extension of service of drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Authorizes ordered consolidation with a receiving sewer system for, or extension of sewer service to, a disadvantaged community under specified circumstances. Status: SB 1215 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending/Concerns

Senate Bill 1260 (Jackson): Fire Prevention and Protection: Prescribed Burns. Senate Bill 1260 would require a local agency to transmit a copy of their adopted ordinance to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection within a certain number of days of adoption. Requires a local agency to make a finding that ingress and egress for a subdivision meet regulations regarding road standards for fire equipment access, as provided. Gives the Department the option, if it elects not to purchase insurance, to determine proportionate share of liability, as provided. Status: SB 1260 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support