The Barbed Wire - August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017
RCRC’s 2017 Annual Meeting: Register Today!!!
Legislature Set to Begin Cap and Trade Spending Talks
CMSP Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program Now Accepting Applications
OPR Releases Update to State General Plan Guidelines
President Trump Issues Executive Order on Infrastructure
NAFTA Renegotiations 2.0
Appropriations Update
RCRC Rural Photo Contest

RCRC’s 2017 Annual Meeting: Register Today!!!

RCRC’s 2017 Annual Meeting will be held September 27-29 at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel in El Dorado County.  This year’s program will feature experts discussing a wide range of topics of interest to rural counties, including:

  • Daylight Saving – It’s Time for the Discussion
  • The Opioid Crisis in California’s Rural Counties
  • A Rural Way of Life – Healthy of Harmful?
  • Unfairly Labeled?  The Debate over Intergenerational Dynamics
  • Emergency Preparedness and Recovery – Lessons Learned from the Oroville Spillway Disaster

Registration is now open via the online portal.  Read More…

Legislature Set to Begin Cap and Trade Spending Talks

The Legislature will begin discussions in its first week back from recess on how to spend proceeds from California’s Cap-and Trade auction, the program that requires certain large greenhouse gas emitters to either purchase carbon credits or take measures to reduce their emissions to meet a set emissions cap.  Both the Senate and the Assembly have budget subcommittee hearings set next week to discuss Cap-and-Trade expenditures, the first of such hearings in the wake of the contentious July extension of the Cap-and-Trade auction program through 2030. 

The extension of the program by a two-thirds vote in the Legislature was one of Governor Brown’s primary priorities for 2017, as the Cap-and-Trade auction was set to end in 2020 as a provision of the California Global Warming Solutions Act signed in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The program has been the target of litigation by industry as an unconstitutional tax, and a two-thirds ratification of an extension theoretically extinguishes the legal challenge.  The Governor and Legislature, including a number of Republican members, negotiated and passed what many feel is an industry-friendly extension of the program in July.  Notably for RCRC counties, the extension eliminates the State Responsibility Area fee permanently and backfills the fund from Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds through 2030. 

With the extension accomplished, the Legislature and Administration must now settle on how to spend auction proceeds for the 2017-18 budget year.  RCRC has already been advocating for significant funding for healthy forest programs to alleviate wildfire risk and aid in tree mortality mitigation, both issues which are directly related to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration, as well as continuing to ask for a modified definition of disadvantaged communities that will allow more rural areas to compete for targeted Cap-and-Trade dollars.  An expenditure plan is expected to be finalized before the end of the legislative session in September.

CMSP Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program Now Accepting Applications

The County Medical Services Program (CMSP) Allied Healthcare Loan Repayment Program (AHLRP), administered by the California Office of State Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), is now accepting loan repayment applications from allied healthcare professionals in the 35 counties that participate in the CMSP.  Eligible applicants will be considered to receive up to $16,000 in exchange for a one-year service obligation providing direct patient care at a qualifying contracted CMSP facility or clinic. 

The 35 CMSP participating counties include: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, San Benito, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba.

The application deadline is October 16, 2017. Additional detailed information on eligibility and application requirements can be accessed here

OPR Releases Update to State General Plan Guidelines

The California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released the completion of the first comprehensive update to the State General Plan Guidelines (GPG) since 2003.  OPR is statutorily required to adopt and periodically revise the GPG for the preparation and content of general plans for counties and cities in California.  The general plan is local government’s long-term plan for the community’s vision of future growth, and the GPG serve as the resource for drafting a general plan.  Legislative changes, new technical advisories, guidance documents, a data mapping tool, and additional resources have been incorporated into this new GPG. 

The new GPG was developed with considerable outreach and collaboration.  The public comment draft of the update to the GPG was posted in October 2015.  OPR held multiple community outreach events and public workshops in 2015 and 2016 for the draft GPG update.  Planners, practitioners, and community members have participated in the development of the 2017 GPG.   The 2017 GPG sets out statutory requirements in detail for mandatory elements of the general plan, provides OPR recommended policy language, and includes online links to county and city general plans that have adopted similar policies. Users can also click the links provided for more detailed policies and plans.  The GPG also provides the same detail for common optional elements of the general plan.  As more resources become available, they will be added to the GPG through periodic updates.     

OPR will be conducting workshops around the state over the next year to update communities on the new GPG.  Detailed information on the new GPG can be accessed here.

President Trump Issues Executive Order on Infrastructure

Earlier this week, President Trump signed an Executive Order (E.O.) designed to streamline federal decision making processes related to future infrastructure projects.  Officially titled Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure, the E.O. was signed just days before President Trump disbanded two key advisory councils related to infrastructure.  Given the developments of this week, and the fact that an infrastructure plan has yet to be introduced – by the Administration or Congress, the outlook on any movement related to infrastructure development by the end of the year is unlikely.  The text of the E.O. can be accessed here.

NAFTA Renegotiations 2.0

In Washington D.C. this week, all eyes are on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation talks that began Wednesday between trade representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  Negotiators have set the end of the 2017 calendar year as the ideal date by which to conclude negotiations, but such an aggressive timetable appears unrealistic.  The next round of talks is scheduled for September 1-5, 2017 in Mexico City. 

Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), is prioritizing protections for American manufacturing, and is pushing the Trump Administration’s “America First” agenda.  Lighthizer made clear in his opening remarks at the Wednesday meeting that the priority of the United States will be to draw down deficits with its trade partners, but Mexican and Canadian leadership do not want to appear weak in negotiations with the Trump Administration.  United States agriculture industry leaders are concerned their export gains with Mexico and Canada will be exchanged for protection of American manufacturing.  This threat of concessions to agriculture exports will grow if negotiations stall over Trump’s campaign promises for a trade deal that promotes American made products.

Appropriations Update

On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee released the text of an eight-bill fiscal 2018 minibus spending package (H.R. 3354) that Republican leaders hope to bring to the floor shortly after lawmakers return from August recess.  The House passed a four-bill minibus (H.R. 3219) before the end of last session, and the next minibus bill would round out the chamber's spending measures for fiscal 2018. 

Included in the minibus are spending bills for Agriculture (H.R. 3268), Commerce-Justice-Science (H.R. 3267), Financial Services (H.R. 3280), Homeland Security (H.R. 3355), Interior-Environment (H.R. 3354), Labor-HHS-Education (H.R. 3358), State-Foreign Operations (H.R. 3362) and Transportation-HUD (H.R. 3353).  In a letter to the House Rules Committee, Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) announced the committee will meet sometime during their first week back from recess to grant the rule which would create the legislative vehicle for the remaining appropriations bills.

RCRC Rural Photo Contest

RCRC has launched the 2017 Rural County Photo Contest!  The Rural County Photo Contest was created to promote tourism and local economic development through showcasing the beautiful landscape, scenery, activities, history, and charm of RCRC’s member counties.  All entries must include a brief description of each photo; location where the photo was taken, including the county in which it was taken; and, the photographer’s full name and email address.  Photo entries can be sent to, and must be submitted in .jpeg, .jpg., or png. format, 300 dpi or less, and no larger than 10MB.  All photographs must be the original work of the participant, or must have the photographer’s written permission.  Read More…


RCRC Hosts Global Trade Services Workshop in Nevada County

Click here

Tehama County Seeks Public Works Director

Click here


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

Assembly Bill 64 (Bonta): Cannabis: Medical and Nonmedical. Assembly Bill 64 would make further revisions to recently-enacted cannabis regulatory statues. Status: AB 64 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee RCRC Position: Oppose Unless Amended

Assembly Bill 84 (Mullin): Primary Elections: Election Date.  Assembly Bill 84 would require the presidential primary election to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March.  AB 84 would also require that the statewide direct primary election be held on that same day and consolidated with the presidential primary election during a presidential primary election year.  Status: AB 84 awaits action in the Senate.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 148 (Mathis): California Physician Corps Program: Practice Setting.  Assembly Bill 148 would revise the definition of “practice setting” for the Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program (Program) to include rural area clinics that have 30 percent of patients from medically underserved populations. Status: AB 148 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 196 (Bigelow): Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: Water Supply. Assembly Bill 196 would authorize the use of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) for water and wastewater systems if the investment furthers the regulatory purposes of the act and is consistent with law. With this bill, water supply investments, including repairs, pump and motor efficiency improvements, drinking water transmission and distribution system water loss, and wastewater systems, would be specifically eligible for funding.  Status: AB 196 in Suspense File.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 275 (Wood): Long-Term Care Facilities: Requirements for Changes. Assembly Bill 275 would expand the notice and planning requirements that a skilled nursing facility provides before any change in the status of license or in the operation of the facility that results in its inability to care for its residents.  Status: AB 275 passed in the Senate.  AB 275 pending concurrence in the Assembly.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 376 (Chavez): Veteran’s Benefits: Veteran Farmers or Ranchers.  Assembly Bill 376 would require the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, in coordination with other state agencies to identify and disseminate specified information to assist veterans in entering farming or ranching careers.  Status: AB 376 passed in the Senate.  AB 275 pending concurrence in the Assembly.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 524 (Bigelow): Personal Income Tax: Deduction: Remove Dead and Dying Trees. Assembly Bill 524 would allow a personal income tax deduction for expenses paid or incurred by a taxpayer in the taxable year in connection with the removal of a dead or dying tree on real property owned by the taxpayer. Status: AB 524 awaits action in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.  Status: Support

Assembly Bill 560 (Salas): State Drinking Water Revolving Fund. Assembly Bill 560 would require the State Water Resources Control Board to provide a range of financing options to water system projects that serve severely disadvantaged communities. Status: AB 560 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 890 (Medina): Local Land Use Initiatives. Assembly 890 would require an environmental review of all proposed local initiatives. Status: AB 890 awaits action in the Senate (Second Reading File). RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 924 (Bonta): Indian Tribes: Commercial Cannabis Activity.  Assembly Bill 924 would authorize the Governor to enter into agreements concerning cannabis activities on lands of federally-recognized sovereign Indian tribes. Status: AB 924 held in the Senate Business, Professions & Economic Development 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 action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 1410 (Wood): Emergency Medical Air Transportation.  Assembly Bill 583 would extend the dates of the Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act, so that the assessment of the penalties will continue until January 1, 2028, and any monies unexpended and unencumbered in the Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act Fund on June 30, 2029, will transfer to the General Fund. Status: AB 1410 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1414 (Friedman): Solar Energy System Permits. Assembly Bill 1414 would set a hard cap on permitting fees for solar installations. Status: AB 1414 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 1665 (Garcia, Eduardo): Telecommunications: Advanced Services Fund: AB 1665 would revise eligibility requirements for projects and project applicants for grants funded from the California Advanced Services Fund. Status: AB 1665 awaits action in the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose Unless Amended

Senate Bill 167 (Skinner): Housing Accountability Act.  Senate Bill 167 would make significant changes to the HAA with new terms and definitions; broaden the ability to sue local governments, and increases fines on local governments. The author has committed to taking amendments to address local government concerns.  Status: SB 167 awaits action in the Assembly Rules Committee. RCRC Position:  Neutral

Senate Bill 249 (Allen): Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation.  Senate Bill 249 would recast significant provisions of the Off-Highway Vehicle Program, which was designed to provide a venue for people to legally enjoy recreational vehicles while also assisting the local economy in many parts of rural California.  Status: SB 249 awaits action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Senate Bill 252 (Dodd): Well Permits. Senate Bill relates to new well permits issued in critically over-drafted groundwater basins. Status:  Awaits action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending

Senate Bill 265 (Berryhill): Disaster Relief. Senate Bill 265 provides that the state share for the removal of dead and dying trees in connection with the Governor's Proclamation of a State of Emergency issued on the specified date. Status:  Awaits action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 506 (Nielsen): Streambed Alteration Agreements.  Senate Bill 506 would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to update its Website to provide more useful information to landowners regarding streambed alteration agreements. Status:  SB 506 vetoed by the Governor.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 568 (Lara): Primary Elections: Election Date.  Senate Bill 568 would permanently place the Presidential Primary Election and the Gubernatorial Primary Election in March.  Status: SB 568 await action in the Assembly.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Senate Bill 577 (Dodd): Public Postsecondary Education: Community College.  Senate Bill 577 would allow community college districts to offer a teacher credentialing program. Status: SB 577 is now a two-year bill and awaits action in the Assembly Higher Education Committee.  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 awaits action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose Unless Amended

Senate Bill 649 (Hueso): Wireless Telecommunications Facilities.  Senate Bill 649 would amend an existing law which provides that a wireless telecommunications collocation facility is subject to a city or county discretionary permit and is required to comply with specified criteria. Status: Awaits action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose


RCRC members are encouraged to submit comments on regulatory matters to state and federal regulatory bodies, and to provide a copy to RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.

Draft 2017 Update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP).  The CVFPP is a long-range plan for improving flood risk management in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river Basins.  The plan provides a comprehensive framework for system-wide management and flood risk reduction planning and is required to update every five years.  This first update refines the overall near and long-term investment needs established in the CVFPP, and includes recommendations on policies and financing that support comprehensive flood risk management actions locally, regionally, and system-wide.  Agency: Department of Water Resources.  Status: The draft was released on December 30, 2016, with comments due by March 31, 2017.  Five public outreach hearings were held in February and March 2017 throughout the Central Valley.  The CVFP Board held six workshops in April, May, and June in 2017.  The CVFP Board held additional workshops on July 14, July 28 and August 11, 2017.  These workshops were intended to provide the CVFP Board an opportunity to discuss the 2017 CVFPP Update, associated documents, public comments, and any potential revisions to the 2017 CVFPP Update.  The draft update, draft Supplemental Program EIS, and scheduled workshop details can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments: Staff received no input from member counties and had no comments.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto

Final Draft of Proposed Amended Regulations Pertaining to Surface Mining Operation Inspections.  The proposed amended regulatory language is intended to implement the improvements and updates to Public Resources Code Section 2774 based upon the statutory changes made by Assembly Bill 1142 (Grey, 2016).  Agency: Department of Conservation State Mining and Geology Board.  Status: The final draft was published July 31, 2017, for consideration of adoption on September 14, 2017.  The notice and final draft can be accessed here.   RCRC Comments: Staff submitted comments on the modified text and is seeking additional input prior to the hearing.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Pertaining to Vested Rights Determinations and Mining Ordinances.  The proposed amended regulatory language is intended to implement the updates to Public Resources Code Section 2774 based upon the statutory changes made by Assembly Bill 1142 (Grey, 2016) pertaining to vested rights determinations and mining ordinances.  Agency: Department of Conservation State Mining and Geology Board.  Status: The notice was released June 23, 2017, with comments due August 17, 2017, and final consideration for adoption on September 14, 2017.  The notice and draft can be accessed here.   RCRC Comments: Staff submitted comments and suggested language for consideration.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto

Extension of Public Comment on Proposed Amendment to General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4 General Permit).  The proposed amendment revises the implementation requirements of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) in Attachment G and modifies the corresponding Findings, Provisions, and Fact Sheet of the Small MS4 General Permit accordingly.  The proposed amendment specifically addresses the implementation of 73 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).  Agency:  State Water Resources control Board.  Status:  The proposed amendments were first released June 5, 2017.  Submission of written comments has been extended to noon Monday, August 21, 2017.   The notice and proposed amendments can be accessed hereRCRC Comments:   Staff is seeking input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Staci Heaton         

Draft State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Filled Materials to Waters of the State.  Establishes a State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State (Procedures), for inclusion in the forthcoming Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries and Ocean Waters of California.  The State version of the federal “Waters of the United States” rule.  Agency: State Water Resources Control Board.  Status: The draft was released July 21, 2017, with comments due September 7, 2017.  Board hearing is set for September 6.  The notice, draft, staff reports, and all other related documents can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments: Staff is seeking input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Staci Heaton