The Barbed Wire - August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016
RCRC’s 2016 Annual Meeting – REGISTER TODAY!!!
Annual Meeting Panel Preview: Navigating Life Post Foster Care
RCRC Press Release: RCRC Urges Governor to Sign PILT Legislation
Latest State Cap-and-Trade Auction Falls Well Below Expectations
CAL FIRE Announces Fire Prevention and Tree Mortality Grants
Governor Signs Legislation Reauthorizing Maddy Funding for Counties
FEMA Releases Proposed Rule Implementing Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Little Hoover Commission Continues Review of Special Districts
Legislative Transportation Leaders Unveil Joint Funding Proposal
RCRC Serves on Agricultural Advisory Group
RCRC Enters into Agreement to Assist Rural Healthcare Providers

RCRC’s 2016 Annual Meeting – REGISTER TODAY!!!

RCRC’s 2016 Annual Meeting will be held September 28-30 at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Placer County.  This year’s program will feature experts discussing a wide range of topics of interest to rural counties including:

  • An Insider’s Perspective on the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • Balancing the Benefits and Challenges of Drones;
  • Implementation of a Medical Marijuana Regulatory Scheme in California;
  • Expert Commentary on the Current Political Landscape; and,
  • Navigating the Foster Care System.

To register for RCRC’s 2016 Annual Meeting or to access the current program, click here.

Annual Meeting Panel Preview: Navigating Life Post Foster Care

More than 60,000 children and youth currently live in the California foster care system.  While foster care may be temporary for some, more than 10 percent transition to adulthood, often times on their own.  When a foster youth leaves the system, they generally lose nearly all of the assistance and support they counted on while in care - financial, educational, social, and otherwise.  Although significant improvements have been made in recent years supporting emancipating youth, unique and impactful innovations from partner organizations and programs outside of government help these young people successfully turn surviving into thriving, more effectively bridging the transition from the foster care system to adulthood.  Our panelists will speak to one such partnership, and discuss how to best address this gap in services with limited resources.

RCRC Press Release: RCRC Urges Governor to Sign PILT Legislation

Bipartisan Effort Overwhelmingly Approved by Legislature

SACRAMENTO, CA – August 24, 2016 – Legislation sponsored by the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) to restore the State’s commitment to its county partnership involving state wildland areas is headed to the Governor for his signature.  Commonly known as Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), 36 California counties rely on State PILT to fund vital local programs and services.  Senate Bill 1188 by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) has 15 other authors and co-authors, and is a bipartisan effort to restore Fish and Game Code language making State PILT payments to counties a requirement.  Read More…

Latest State Cap-and-Trade Auction Falls Well Below Expectations

Earlier this week, the California Air Resources Board released the results of its latest allowance auction for the State’s Cap-and-Trade program, the carbon trading program created in 2006 by Assembly Bill 32 to theoretically help the State dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. 

The auction, which took place last week, only moved around 35 percent of the available carbon allowances up for sale to industrial facilities covered under the cap.  Among those allowances, a meager 2.1 percent were held by the State, and are estimated to have netted around $8.4 million total for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.  The remainder of the sold allowances were held by Quebec’s auction system, to which California’s program is linked, or were consigned allowances from investor-owned utilities whose proceeds must go to the benefit of the ratepayers.  The disappointing results of the auction echo the last auction held in April, when the State sold a mere 2 percent of its allowances. 

The future of Cap-and-Trade is currently in question due to an industry lawsuit challenging the program as an illegal, de facto tax on its participants.  Even with a ruling on the suit expected in the coming weeks, Governor Jerry Brown has been exploring ways to continue the program beyond its 2020 sunset date, including a possible ballot measure in 2018.  A quarter of Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds each year are continuously appropriated to funding the High Speed Rail Authority, which is a priority program for the Administration.  The lawsuit has also been one of the main delays in the Legislature allocating funds currently in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which is backfilled by proceeds from the auctions.  Legislative negotiations on allocating the funds stopped in June 2016, but the Senate recently unveiled a new proposal for allocating approximately $1.1 billion in Cap-and-Trade funds, mostly to programs that benefit urban and suburban communities.  Now that the auction results have been released, the Assembly is expected to release its own Cap-and-Trade funding proposal before the end of the legislative session on August 31, 2016. 

CAL FIRE Announces Fire Prevention and Tree Mortality Grants

On Wednesday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the release of nearly $16 million in grant funding aimed at removing dead and dying trees and reducing wildfire threats in communities located in and around the State Responsibility Area (SRA).  

“In just the last couple of weeks, we have seen how destructive this fire season has already been and the critical role fire prevention projects play in helping us protect lives and property, “said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director.

CAL FIRE is encouraging a wide range of applicants throughout the state to apply for this grant funding.  Qualifying projects include the removal of dead, dying and diseased trees, hazardous fuels reduction activities, creation of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and fire prevention education efforts.  Grant amounts are limited to $200,000 per project, and applications are due by 3 p.m. on September 28, 2016.

Additional information on the program and how to apply can be accessed here.  

Governor Signs Legislation Reauthorizing Maddy Funding for Counties

This week, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 867 by Senator Roth, which extends the “Maddy” Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fund until January 1, 2027. 

Current law allows County Boards of Supervisors to levy an additional $2 for every $10 in fines and penalties on specified criminal and vehicle code violations.  Proceeds from this assessment are used to support a variety of local emergency medical services including pediatric trauma centers, and reimbursement to hospitals and physicians who provide uncompensated trauma and emergency care to patients.  SB 867 allows counties to continue to collect this critical funding and provides local communities with the safety net they need to preserve services and ensure patients have access to high quality emergency care.   

FEMA Releases Proposed Rule Implementing Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a proposed rule that, if finalized, would amend federal floodplain management.  The proposal comes as a result of President Obama’s Executive Order 13690, published in January of 2015. 

The Executive Order provided new guidance to federal agencies on managing their actions within floodplains.  The proposed rule released this week attempts to redefine how FEMA identifies the floodplain, and how the agency would manage its projects within the floodplain.  The proposed rule would also mandate the agency consider how projects just outside the floodplain may affect the floodplain.  According to the proposal, FEMA would define the future floodplain for all projects funded by the agency as the 100 year flood event plus two additional feet.  FEMA manages several programs that impact local governments, like the Public Assistance program and the Hazard Mitigation program that help fund recovery efforts after a natural disaster.  Projects funded by these programs that exist within the newly defined floodplain will need to be built to higher resiliency standards, increasing the cost of public infrastructure projects.  FEMA is accepting public comments until October 21, 2016.

Additional information on the program and directions for submitting comments can be accessed here.

Little Hoover Commission Continues Review of Special Districts

Yesterday, the Little Hoover Commission (Commission) held a hearing to continue to build upon their 1999 and 2000 reports that contained a number of recommendations and reforms for California’s special districts and their governance systems.  

In 2014, the State Controller reported there were roughly 4,500 special districts, including 3,000 independent special districts and 1,500 county-run dependent special districts.  During this hearing, the Commission heard testimony from the California Special Districts Association, Association of California Healthcare Districts, North Tahoe Fire Protection District, Local Agency Formation Commission, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, among others, each providing their perspective on the structure and governance systems of California’s various special districts.  

Additional information on the Little Hoover Commission’s work and copies of testimony can be accessed here.

Legislative Transportation Leaders Unveil Joint Funding Proposal

In an effort to advance a new transportation funding proposal, State Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) formally unveiled a transportation funding proposal to provide approximately $7.4 billion in new transportation funding.  As part of the proposal, cities and counties would enjoy roughly $2.5 billion to invest in local streets and roads projects, and an additional $534 would be available to support regional transportation priorities. 

These new transportation revenues would be funded through increases in gas and diesel taxes, and new fees associated with vehicle registrations, among others.  Senator Jim Beall amended this proposal into his Senate Bill 1X 1 and Assembly Member Frazier introduced Assembly Bill 1X 26 in the Special Session on Transportation that was called for as part of the Governor’s 2015-16 State Budget.  

RCRC Serves on Agricultural Advisory Group

On May 9, 2016, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-37-16 which builds upon the temporary statewide emergency water restrictions aimed at water conservation measures.  As part of implementing this Executive Order (EO), an Agricultural Advisory Group (AAG) was established to advise State Agencies on the EO’s implementation, which requires consultation with agricultural stakeholders.  

As part of that initiative, RCRC was asked to serve on the AAG.  The first meeting was yesterday, and consisted of (1) an overview of the current regulatory and statutory criteria; (2) soliciting comments on the existing Agricultural Water Management Plans (AWMP); and (3) if or how the AWMPs might be improved.  (Note: an Urban Advisory Group has also been convened for a similar review of urban water use efficiency programs.)

The AAG is made up of a wide variety of stakeholders representing the breadth of interests from the Farm Bureau to irrigation districts to NGOs.  For the most part, the AAG members focused their comments on (1) the opportunity to streamline this data request with others required by such programs as SGMA, the Irrigated Lands program and the AWMP; (2) the challenges with finding the financial resources to support the various data requests; and (3) if rural communities and small districts are going to meet the service expectations laid out in the EO, the need for a timeline for implementation that reflects the resource limitations in these communities.

Two more meetings are planned for the AAG over the next three months with a final report due from the Department of Water Resources by January 17, 2017.

RCRC Enters into Agreement to Assist Rural Healthcare Providers

RCRC and Solix, Inc. recently teamed up to provide a vehicle through the Federal Rural Healthcare Program to help eligible healthcare providers receive a reimbursement for telecommunication, internet and broadband services.  

Each year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocates $400 million for the Federal Rural Healthcare Program, and historically, less than 50 percent of the available funds are awarded.  Solix, Inc. previously administered the program on behalf of the federal government (for more than 16 years), and has assisted hundreds of eligible healthcare providers in lowering their telecommunications, internet and broadband costs. 

Solix, Inc.’s expertise in completing the required documentation and fulfilling the administrative requirements ensures each application moves along with minimal delays, and with maximum reimbursement.  In addition, Solix, Inc. handles the complex application process on behalf of healthcare providers, and minimizes internal staff resource requirements.

Rural, non-profit health departments, community health/mental health centers, clinics, hospitals and skilling nursing facilities may be eligible for reimbursement.  For more information on this program, please contact Terrance Rodgers at or 916-447-4806.


State Announces Medical Marijuana Regulatory Meetings

Two key State agencies charged with developing regulations for the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Safety Act announced pre-regulatory stakeholder meetings.  The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, the primary licensing and regulatory agency for medical cannabis, will be holding workshops with the California Department of Public Health to gather input on upcoming regulations impacting dispensaries, distributors, manufacturers, testing laboratories, and transporters.  Public input will be welcome.  The meeting dates and place are as follows with all meetings being held from 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Monday, September 19


Tuesday, September 20


Thursday, September 22

Santa Rosa

Monday, September 26


Tuesday, September 27


Tuesday, October 4

Los Angeles

Wednesday, October 5

San Diego

In addition, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the entity charged with licensing and regulating medical marijuana cultivation, has announced the dates for public scoping workshops in September to provide the public an opportunity to learn more about CDFA’s environmental impact review process, efforts to implement a ‘track-and-trace” program as well as proposed regulations on a variety of aspects of the cultivation process.  All of the following workshops for nearby RCRC-member counties will be held from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 13 in Sacramento
Sacramento Convention Center (Room 202),
1400 J Street, Sacramento

Wednesday, September 14 in Redding
Red Lion Hotel (Sierra Room)
1830 Hilltop Drive, Redding

Thursday, September 15 in Eureka
Red Lion Hotel (Pacific Room)
1929 4th Street, Eureka

Tuesday, September 20 in Oakland
Oakland Marriott (Skyline Room)
1001 Broadway, Oakland

Wednesday, September 21 in San Luis Obispo
Courtyard by Marriott (Grand Ballroom)
1605 Calle Joaquin, San Luis Obispo

Thursday, September 22 in Coalinga
Harris Ranch (Garden Ballroom)
24505 West Dorris Avenue, Coalinga

For additional information regarding CFDA’s efforts, please click here.  

University of the Pacific Releases Cost-Benefit Analysis of California WaterFix

The University of the Pacific recently released the first comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of California WaterFix, placing the costs at four times the benefit.  Authored by Dr. Jeffrey Michaels, the analysis concludes that the project is not economically justified under base or optimistic scenarios.  The base scenario pegs the benefit at 23 cents for every dollar spent, and only increases to 39 cents under the optimistic scenario.

Click here

2016-2017 SRA Fire Prevention Fund and Tree Mortality Grant Program

Click here

Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program Public Scoping Workshops & Comment Period

Click here


RCRC members are encouraged to share letters addressed to state and federal representatives and regulatory bodies with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.  Click “Read More” to access information related to the current status of legislation impacting California’s rural counties.  

Legislature Enters Final Days of Session

The Legislature must complete its work for this year’s session by midnight on August 31, 2016.  Governor Brown will have until September 30, 2016, to sign or veto the bills that have reached his desk on or after September 1, 2016.

As of this writing, there are approximately 500 bills remaining in the Assembly, and 140 bills remaining in the Senate that still need to be acted on prior to adjournment next week.  RCRC staff continues to work on issues still outstanding in the Legislature into the final days and hours of session.  The RCRC bill list will be available on our website, and will be updated as each bill passes through the legislative process, and then again after the Governor takes action on each item.

AB 587 (Chau) Mobilehomes Fees/Tax Amnesty Program:  Assembly Bill 587 would provide an amnesty program for mobilehome owners who face outstanding tax and registration obligations.  Status:  AB 587 gained passage in the Senate and the Assembly and now awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position:  Oppose Unless Amended

AB 779 (Cristina Garcia) Local Elected Officials Compensation Disclosure:  Assembly Bill 779 requires cities, counties and special districts to compile compensation information about their elected officials and post it on their jurisdiction’s website.   Status:  AB 587 awaits concurrence in the Assembly.  RCRC Position:  Oppose Unless Amended

AB 1549 (Wood) State Highways/Broadband Deployment:  Assembly Bill 1549 requires the California Department of Transportation to maintain an inventory of broadband conduits that house fiber-optic communications located on state highway rights-of-way.  Status:  AB 1549 gained passage in the Senate awaits concurrence in the Assembly.   RCRC Position:  Support

AB 1628 (Committee on Budget): No Place Like Home Program: Funding:  Assembly Bill 1628 establishes the bond financing mechanism and structure for funding the $2 billion No Place Like Home homeless housing package that was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in late June.  Status:  AB 1628 gained passage in both the Assembly and Senate and awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position:  No Position

AB 1853 (Cooper) County Employees Retirement Systems:  Assembly Bill 1853 would authorize a retire system under the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 to elect to be independent districts by a simple vote of the Board of Retirement and assume specified responsibilities related to county employees.  Status:  AB 1853 gained passage in both the Assembly and Senate and awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position:  Oppose

AB 2406 (Thurmond) Junior Accessory Dwellings:  Assembly Bill 2406 would provide local governments the option to adopt an ordinance regarding the development of Junior Accessory Dwelling Units in single family residential zones.  Status:  AB 2406 awaits concurrence in the Assembly.  RCRC Position:  Support

AB 2476 (Daly) Notice of Parcel Tax Increases:  Assembly Bill 2476 would require a local agency to notify an out-of-jurisdiction property owner of an approved parcel tax following its successful passage if the property owner does not reside within the jurisdiction where the parcel tax is levied.  Status:  AB 2476 gained passage in the Assembly and Senate and now awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position:  Oppose

AB 2636 (Linder) Marriage and Birth Certificates: Electronic Application:  Assembly Bill 2636 would allow local jurisdictions to provide consumers with the option to complete an online request for vital records.  Status:  AB 2636 gained passage in both the Assembly and Senate and now awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position:  Support

AB 2679 (Cooley, Bonta, et. al) Medical Marijuana Products Manufacturing:  Assembly Bill 2679 puts forth professional standards and requirements for the manufacturing medical marijuana products.  Status:  AB 2679 awaits consideration in the Senate.   RCRC Position:  Support

AB 2686 (Mullin) All Mail Ballot Elections:  Assembly Bill 2686 would allow counties the option of conducting special elections to fill the vacancy of a State Senate, State Assembly, or Congressional district via all-mail balloting.  Status:  AB 2686 gained passage in the Senate and awaits concurrence in the Assembly.  RCRC Position:  Support

SB 450 (Allen) Vote By Mail:  Senate Bill 450 would authorize counties to conduct all types of elections as an all-mailed ballot election.  Status:  SB 450 awaits final consideration in the Senate.  RCRC Position:  Support

SB 838 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) Transportation:  Senate Bill 838 is a 2016-17 budget trailer bill that would, among others, increase the annual vehicle registration fee by $10 from $43 to $53 per year.  The increase in revenues would provide funding to the Department of Motor Vehicles to support programs and operations.  Status:  SB 838 gained passage in the both the Senate and the Assembly and now awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position:  No Position

SB 1029 (Hertzberg) Debt Issuance.  Senate Bill 1029 would require local governments to submit various reporting elements to the California Debt and Investment Advisory Committee for all bond debt that has not been fully repaid or redeemed.  Status: SB 1029 gained passage in both the Senate and the Assembly and awaits the Governor’s consideration.  RCRC Position: No Position

SB 1069 (Wieckowski) Land Use: Zoning. Senate Bill 1069 seeks to encourage the development of more affordable housing through various reforms to a local government’s planning requirements and zoning regulations.  Status: SB 1069 awaits consideration on the Assembly Floor.  RCRC Position: Opposition Removed