The Barbed Wire - August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018
Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!
Supervisors Advocate for Improved Forest Management in Sacramento
Wildfire Debate Resumes in Congress
Rural Broadband Update
Local Elected Officials Invited to Attend CalPERS Conference
RCRC Participates in Economic Development Conversation in Tehama County
Rural Economic Development Survey Results Submitted to USDA Rural Development
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, the changing face of media, the current political landscape, and more.  Read More…

Supervisors Advocate for Improved Forest Management in Sacramento

This week, RCRC Supervisors Jack Garamendi (Calaveras) and Bob Williams (Tehama) joined RCRC staff in Sacramento urging 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. 

“RCRC has long advocated for an advancement in California’s forest management practices as the true solution to California’s wildland fire problem,” said Supervisor Garamendi. 

Last week, RCRC issued a four-page letter imploring the Legislature to take action on wildfire, explaining that the Committee’s focus on utility issues is circumventing the real root cause of the wildfire problems continually plaguing the state. 

“The Committee now has a unique opportunity to impact future wildfires by implementing real solutions that will help prevent loss of lives, destruction of property, and would honestly impact emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants,” said Supervisor Williams.

Wildfire Debate Resumes in Congress

California’s wildfire season has brought forest management back to the forefront of policy discussions in Congress.  Wildfire suppression funds at the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) would receive a much needed boost under the various proposals for the Fiscal 2019 federal budget, but the agencies currently have $66.8 million and $114 million remaining in their suppression funds.  

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) says he has not received any requests for emergency funding for wildfire suppression costs, but that additional funds could be tacked on to one of Congress’s spending measures for Fiscal 2019.  In the meantime, House Republicans are urging their colleagues to pass pieces of HR 2936, Representative Bruce Westerman’s (R-Arkansas) proposal to increase active forest management practices to reduce wildfires.

The Trump Administration is also pushing for more forest management policies to increase forest resiliency.  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also called for more active forest management in a visit to California earlier in the week.  In addition, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue also said the USFS would devote more funds to logging and controlled burns on federal forest land to reduce available fuel for wildfires.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will implement a new strategy to collaborate more closely with partners at state and local levels.  The USDA and USFS will empower states to play a larger role in setting wildfire suppression objectives to better leverage the federal government’s resources.

Rural Broadband Update

This week, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).”  The purpose of the hearing was to examine the FCC’s various policies including those related to rural broadband deployment and infrastructure.  Senators from rural states in particular voiced their frustration with the lack of internet coverage for their constituents.  

The struggle for underserved rural communities is more poignant against the backdrop of 5G deployment.  Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) doubted whether 5G will ever make it to his state, and urged the FCC to push harder to close the digital divide so rural Americans can benefit from the internet economy.  Senator Tester and his colleagues called for more funding for rural broadband deployment, but FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued Congress and the FCC should focus on modernizing the infrastructure regulations that inhibit broadband deployment projects.  Chairman Pai claimed streamlining the regulatory process would benefit both 5G and rural broadband deployment. 

The FCC’s broadband coverage mapping data was another topic of discussion throughout the hearing.  Multiple senators urged the FCC to modernize its mapping data to ensure federal funding for rural broadband deployment is targeting the most underserved rural areas.  Chairman Pai shared these concerns and committed to improving the FCC’s coverage map to maximize the impact of federal funds.

Local Elected Officials Invited to Attend CalPERS Conference

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) announced that they will be offering a half-day session during their annual conference specifically geared towards local elected officials.  This session provides an opportunity for RCRC members to engage with CalPERS executive leaders and to learn more about pension-related issues. 

This first time “forum-within-the-Forum” will be tailored specifically to elected officials who oversee the local governments, districts, and schools that make up the CalPERS System.  This session will be held in conjunction with the CalPERS annual conference (the Educational Forum) typically geared towards employer management and operational-level staff. 

CalPERS understands that pension costs are a top issue facing local agencies and schools.  This is an opportunity for officials from member-organizations to come and hear directly from CalPERS executive leaders on pension costs, strategies to address the liabilities, and how CalPERS sees the pension landscape going forward.  There will be ample opportunity for questions and access to CalPERS leadership.  

This session will be geared both towards new-comers to the world of pensions, and to well-versed members of the ongoing discussions.  RCRC urges members to share this message and encourage other interested officials to join CalPERS for this special meeting.  Lisa McCargar, RCRC Chief Financial Officer, will also be attending this meeting.  CalPERS can accommodate about 125 people total – first come first served! 

Date:                          Monday, October 22, 2018

Time:                         9:30am – noon

Location:                  Renaissance Indian Wells

76-661 Highway 111

Indian Wells, CA 92210

Cost:                          No charge

Registration:            Click here

RCRC Participates in Economic Development Conversation in Tehama County

Last Friday, more than 50 local business and community leaders gathered in Red Bluff at the invitation of the Tehama County Economic Development (Tehama CED) team.  Led by RCRC Immediate Past Chair Bob Williams (Tehama), the conversation included frank and open dialogue about the barriers businesses encounter on a day-to-day and project-by-project basis.  The conversation covered topics such as the need for available and affordable housing options, workforce training, the regulatory environment, and prevailing wage. 

Attendees provided valuable comments and constructive criticism on the situations they encounter in the operation of their businesses and when attempting to implement specific business projects. Local government representatives also expressed frustration with the difficulties they encounter when replacing important components of county/city infrastructure.

During the afternoon session, USDA State Director for Rural Development Kim Dolbow Vann engaged the business and community leaders in a dynamic conversation about the availability and impact of the many programs offered by the USDA.  She encouraged attendees to contact her directly to discuss projects and offered to connect individuals with the appropriate USDA program staff member.

Additional speakers included RCRC Economic Development Officer Barbara Hayes; Senior Permit Specialist Patrick Nevis from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and California Association for Local Economic Development Board Member and Shasta County Development Services Director, Larry Vaupel.  Each speaker introduced their respective organizations and the programs and assistance they can provide to businesses in Tehama County.

 

Rural Economic Development Survey Results Submitted to USDA Rural Development

Following the submission of the results from RCRC’s Rural Economic Development Survey, USDA Rural Development State Director Kim Dolbow Vann issued the following statement:

“I am excited to share that we’ve received more than 200 eligible projects!  We saw a pretty even split among your needs for community facilities, water and wastewater, and transportation projects with economic development and broadband projects rounding out the totals.”  

“My team received their lists two weeks ago and have been actively connecting with all the point of contacts for these projects.  I am pleased to share that many of these projects are making their way through our systems, and we have even funded a few projects already, including a $50,000 Rural Business Development Grant to CSU Chico for work on addressing barriers to broadband deployment in northern California.  Thank you to everyone for the energy you put toward this survey, it’s going to be a critical tool for us at USDA to help support your needs.” 

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.

NOI: Cal OES Pre-Disaster Mitigation

(PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Program Funding Opportunities

Click here

FEMA/Cal OES Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

Click here

Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration: FY 2018 Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grant Program Fact Sheet

Click here

Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration: FY 2018 Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Program Fact Sheet

Click here

Notice of Funding Opportunity: FY 2018 Flood Mitigation Assistance

Click here

Notice of Funding Opportunity: FY 2018 Pre-Disaster Mitigation

Click here

FEMA Webinars

Click here

California’s Legal Pot Market Falls $100M Short of Revenue Estimates

Click here

DWR Announces 2018 Preseason Flood Coordination Meeting Schedule

Click here

California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program - $53 Million Available for Homelessness

Click here

HCD Announces Funding to Address Homelessness

Click here

Update to California River Parkways Grant Program: Concept Proposal Solicitation

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 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 failed passage in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support If Amended

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 passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee; to the floor.  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 passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee; to the Floor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2501 (Chu): Drinking Water: Consolidation and Extension of Service.  AB 2501 would redefine small public water system for purposes of the California Safe Drinking Water Act as a system with 200 connections or less. Authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation with a receiving water system where a disadvantaged community is reliant on a state small water system, an individual well, or an unregulated water system serving fewer than five connections. Status: AB 2501 was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee; to the Floor. RCRC Position: Pending

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 2551 (Wood): Forest and Wildland Health Improvement. Assembly Bill 2551 would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention to establish, implement, and administer the Forest and Wildland Health Improvement and Fire Prevention Program, which is intended to promote forest and wildland health, restoration, and resilience, and improve fire prevention and preparedness throughout the state. Status: AB 2551 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 Assembly. 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 was approved in the Senate Appropriations Committee; to the Floor. 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 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee; to the Floor. 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 passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee; to the Floor. 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 failed passage 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 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee to the Assembly Floor.  RCRC Position: Support

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 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee to the Assembly Floor. 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 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee to the Assembly Floor. RCRC Position: Support

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 action in the Assembly.  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 930 (Hertzberg): Financial Institutions: Cannabis Senate Bill 930 would state the intent of the Legislature to establish a state-chartered bank that would allow a person licensed to engage in commercial cannabis activity to engage in licensed banking activities in California. Status: SB 930 failed passage in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 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 action on the Assembly Floor. 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 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee; to the Floor. 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

Senate Concurrent Resolution 133 (Berryhill): Senator David E. Cogdill, Sr., Memorial Highway. Senate Concurrent Resolution 133 would designate a specified portion of State Highway Route 395 in the County of Mono as the Senator David E. Cogdill, Sr., Memorial Highway. Status: SCR 133 awaits consideration in the Assembly Transportation Committee. RCRC Position: Support