The Barbed Wire - February 16, 2018

February 16, 2018
POTUS Requests Additional Funding for Rural Programs
National Infrastructure Proposal
KEEPING UP
BULLETIN BOARD
REGULATORY UPDATE
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

POTUS Requests Additional Funding for Rural Programs

The White House is requesting an additional $117 billion in nondefense discretionary spending for the 2018 budget.  The request includes funding for Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and key programs for rural broadband, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) broadband mapping program and the Rural Utilities Service within the Department of Agriculture.  

The official request asks Congress to increase funding for PILT by $68 million.  This additional funding will bring the total allocation to $465 million, equivalent to funding levels enacted in the 2017 budget.

Inadequate mapping data for broadband access is a major barrier for policymakers when determining where to allocate federal funds based on which areas lack access to high-speed broadband.  The outcome of this mapping project, if included in the final budget, will be critical in determining which areas will receive federal funds for rural broadband projects.

The White House is also requesting funds $500 million for the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to invest in broadband deployment projects that would otherwise yield a negative cash flow for the service provider.  The $500 million will be administered in a combination of grants and loans and its allocation will be determined in large part by the outcome of the NTIA’s mapping project.  The allocation of $500 million for RUS investment in rural broadband follows a report from USDA Secretary Perdue’s Task Force on Rural Prosperity which found insufficient broadband is a major barrier for economic development in rural America.  $500 million would not make a dent in the estimated $40 billion worth of investment required to close the digital divide.

National Infrastructure Proposal

On Monday, the White House released the Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America, President Trump’s proposal to create $1.5 trillion of new investment for infrastructure and public works projects.  The proposal leverages $200 billion of federal funds with permitting and environmental review reforms to attract $1.3 trillion of investment from state and local government and private industry.  

Under this legislative outline, the $200 billion of federal funds will be allocated across four programs:

  • Infrastructure Incentives Program ($100B): States would be required to establish a sustainable non-federal funding stream equal to 80% of project costs, which would be matched with 20% federal funding.  This would be aimed at traditional areas of federal investment, i.e., transportation, water/sewer.
  • Rural Infrastructure Program ($50B): This funding would come via grants to states with no matching funds required, and would be aimed more broadly than traditional federal investment by including broadband and electrical power in addition to transportation and water/sewer.  Eighty percent of funds under the Rural Infrastructure Program will be provided to the governor of each state distributed based on the state’s rural population.  Broadband deployment infrastructure, a critical need for rural Americans, is an eligible asset class to receive project funding from the Rural Infrastructure Program.
  • Transformative Projects Program ($20B): The federal government would put up funding for 30%, 50%, or 80% of the project cost (depending on project stage).  This would be aimed at projects that are commercially viable but have much higher than usual risk/reward.
  • Infrastructure Financing Programs ($20B): The proposal would expand several existing federal programs through additional funding and broader eligibility, including the TIFIA and WIFIA programs and private activity bonds (PABs).

In addition, the infrastructure proposal includes language that seeks to expand workforce development programs and reduce the federal regulatory burden for private infrastructure projects.  The approaching 2018 midterm elections cast doubt on the future of an ambitious infrastructure package and the proposal was met with skepticism from Republican Chairmen of committees with jurisdiction on infrastructure, Representative Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) and Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota). 

After he released his proposal, President Trump made infrastructure headlines again this week when he told lawmakers that he would support a $0.25 increase in the gas tax.  This move would raise $396 billion in new revenue over 10 years that would help pay for future infrastructure projects.

KEEPING UP

Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.

Susan Tatayon, 58, of Rocklin, has been reappointed to the Delta Stewardship Council, where she has served since 2014. Tatayon has held several positions at the Nature Conservancy since 2006, including water program director and associate director for the California water program. She was supervising resource planner at Schlumberger Water Services from 2001 to 2005 and special assistant to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific regional director from 2000 to 2001. Tatayon served in several positions at the California Department of Water Resources from 1996 to 2000, including research program specialist and special assistant to the chief deputy director. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $46,913. Tatayon is registered without party preference.

Richard Wade, 64, of Pollock Pines, has been reappointed to the California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, where he has served since 2011. Wade has held several positions at Sierra Pacific Industries since 1995, including district manager and district forester. He was a forester at the Cal Oak Lumber Company from 1983 to 1995 and at James Nicklos and Associates from 1980 to 1983. Wade was a harvest inspector for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 to 1980 and a forester at Western Timber Services Inc. from 1978 to 1979. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Wade is a Democrat.

Camille E. Maben, 63, of Rocklin, has been appointed to the California State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care. Maben has been executive director at First 5 California since 2012. She was director of the Child Development Division at the California Department of Education from 2008 to 2012, where she held several positions from 1992 to 2007, including director of the School and District Accountability Division, coordinator, senior advisor, consultant and special assistant to the superintendent. Maben was chief of staff in the California Secretary for Education’s Office from 2007 to 2008, legislative aide to the California State Assembly Education Committee from 1991 to 1992 and a business manager at Roseville Community Preschool Inc. from 1983 to 1992. She is a member of the Rocklin Unified School District Board of Trustees. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Maben is a Democrat.

Dorene D’Adamo, 57, of Turlock, has been reappointed to the State Water Resources Control Board, where she has served since 2013. D’Adamo served as senior policy advisor to Congressman Jim Costa in 2013 and to Congressman Dennis Cardoza from 2003 to 2012. She was legal counsel for Congressman Gary Condit from 1994 to 2003 and a visiting instructor at California State University, Stanislaus from 1992 to 1998. D’Adamo was an associate attorney at the Law Offices of Perry and Wildman from 1992 to 1994 and a policy consultant at DeeDee D’Adamo Consulting from 1991 to 1992. She was legislative director for Congressman Gary Condit from 1990 to 1991 and assistant director at the California Youth Authority from 1988 to 1990. D’Adamo was legal counsel at the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety from 1986 to 1988 and legislative director for the California State Assembly Assistant Majority Leader from 1985 to 1986. She is a member of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and served on the California Air Resources Board from 1999 to 2013. D’Adamo earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $147,778. D’Adamo is a Democrat.

Curtis Hill, 63, of Hollister, has been appointed to the California Victim Compensation Board. Hill was acting executive officer at the Board of State and Community Corrections in 2014 and a legislative advocate and strategic business consultant at Warner and Pank LLC from 2011 to 2012. Hill served as the sheriff of San Benito County from 1999 to 2010 and served in several positions in the San Benito County Sheriff’s Department from 1976 to 1999, including as undersheriff, sergeant, investigator and deputy sheriff. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Hill is a Republican.

Jane Dolan, 68, of Chico, has been reappointed to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, where she has served since 2012. Dolan has been executive director at the Sacramento River Forum since 2010 and an independent probate referee since 1987. She served as member of the Butte County Board of Supervisors from 1979 to 2011. Dolan was a committee member of the Governor’s Advisory Drought Planning Panel in 2000. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $46,913. Dolan is a Democrat.

Michael Villines, 50, of Placerville, has been reappointed to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, where he has served since 2010. Villines has been owner at the Villines Group LLC since 2011. He served as a California State Assemblymember from 2004 to 2010 and was director of public relations and co-owner at Panagraph Marketing Solutions from 1999 to 2004. Villines was chief of staff to California State Assemblymember Chuck Poochigian from 1994 to 1998 and special assistant at the California Department of Fish and Game from 1992 to 1994. He was an advance representative in the Office of the Governor from 1991 to 1992. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $46,913. Villines is a Republican

Shirley H. Diaz, 58, of Chico, has been appointed to the Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel. Diaz has been assistant superintendent of educational services for the Glenn County Office of Education since 2007. She served as superintendent for the Plaza Elementary School District from 2006 to 2007 and as a social science teacher at Wheaton Warrenville South High School from 2003 to 2006. Diaz was an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Wheaton College and at Trinity International University from 2002 to 2003. She was a teacher for the Community Unit School District 200 from 1997 to 2002 and for the Alvord Unified School District from 1986 to 1991. Diaz is a member of the California Standards Technical Assistance Network and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association Curriculum Instruction Steering Committee. She earned a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Diaz is a Republican.

BULLETIN BOARD

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

President’s FY19 budget allocates more than $200 million for Sacramento and Yolo County District projects

Click here

CalOES Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funding Opportunity

Click here

Urban Greening Grant Program

Click here  

Low Carbon Transit Operations Program Allocation Requests

Click here

Safe Routes to Parks Grant Funds Available

Click here

ReLeaf Social Equity Planting Grant Program

Click here

REGULATORY UPDATE

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.  Click “Read More” to access information related to the current status of regulations impacting California’s rural counties. 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Pertaining to Financial Assurance Mechanisms (FAMs).  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 Financial Assurance Mechanisms (FAMs).  AB 1142 requires the SMGB to formally adopt FAM forms by July 1, 2018.  Assurance mechanisms include, but are not limited to, surety bond forms, irrevocable letters of credit, and certificate of deposit establishment and encashment instructions.  Agency: Department of Conservation State Mining and Geology Board.  Status: The notice was released January 26, 2018, with comments due March 13, 2018.  The notice and draft forms can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments:  Staff is seeking input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Pertaining to Amendments and Additions to the State CEQA Guidelines.  The proposed Guidelines for implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines) reflect past legislative changes to CEQA, clarify certain portions of the existing CEQA Guidelines, and update the CEQA Guidelines consistent with past court decisions.  Agency: California Natural Resources Agency.  Status: The notice was released January 26, 2017 for a 45-day public comment period, which ends March 15, 2018.  Public hearings have been scheduled for March 14, 2018 in Los Angeles and March 15, 2018 in Sacramento.  Additional information and the proposed CEQA Guidelines can be accessed here.   RCRC Comments:  Staff is seeking input from member counties.  RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

Assembly Bill 901 Proposed Reporting Regulations for Recycling, Disposal, and Enforcement:  Assembly Bill 901 (Gordon, 2015) established new requirements to address the lack of a formal reporting system on recycling, complete and timely data on disposal, and enforcement in order to measure statewide compliance with new statewide recycling goals and programs.  Agency: Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery Status:  Draft regulations were released January 26, 2017 for a 45-day public comment period, which ends March 14, 2018.  A public hearing has been scheduled for March 14, 2018 in Sacramento.  Additional information and draft regulations can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments:  Staff is seeking input from member counties.   RCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

Senate Bill 1383 Organics Diversion from Landfills Informal Draft RegulationsSenate Bill 1383 (Lara, 2016) established methane emissions reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) from various California sectors.  SB 1383 included goals of reducing organics from landfills by 50 percent in 2020 and 75 percent by 2025 from 2014 levels.  CalRecycle is in the process of developing regulations to implement SB 1383.   Agency: Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery Status: Four series of informal stakeholder workshops on concepts were held in 2017.  The first draft regulatory language was released October 25, 2017, with a fifth workshop.  The second informal draft is expected in early March with a workshop scheduled for March 21 in Sacramento and March 22 in Carlsbad.  Additional information and draft regulations can be accessed here.  RCRC Comments:  Staff comments can be accessed here.  In addition, RCRC participated in two coalition letters that can be accessed here and hereRCRC Advocate: Mary Pitto mpitto@rcrcnet.org

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 would 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 Business, Professions & Economic Development Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 975 (Friedman): Natural Resources: Wild and Scenic Rivers. Assembly Bill 975 would expand the area protected in the state’s Wild and Scenic Rivers System from immediately adjacent to the affected river segment to one-quarter of a mile, including both public and private lands. Status: AB 975 has failed on the Assembly Floor.  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 1667 (Friedman): Agricultural Water Management. Assembly Bill 1667 would make permanent agricultural water conservation criteria established as part of the Governor’s response to the drought. Status: AB 1667 awaits consideration in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC

Assembly Bill 1772 (Aguiar-Curry): Fire Insurance Indemnity. Assembly Bill 1772 would extend the minimum limit during which an insured may collect the full replacement cost of a loss relating to a state of emergency to 36 months. Status:  AB 1722 awaits consideration in the Assembly Insurance Committee. RCRC Position: Support

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 Assembly Insurance Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1886 (Carrillo): Payment of Expenses.   Assembly Bill 1886 would require the State to pay for the cost of special elections - proclaimed by the Governor - to fill a vacancy in the office of a member of the State Assembly, State Senate, or the U.S. Congress that has occurred after January 1, 2017. Status: AB 1886 awaits consideration in the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.  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 currently awaits action on the Assembly Floor.  RCRC Position: Watch

Senate Bill 168 (Wieckowski): Beverage Container Recycling Act of 2017. Senate Bill 168 would amend the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, which is administered by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. SB 168 would require CalRecycle 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 on the Assembly Floor.  RCRC Position: Watch

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 Senate Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.  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 awaits consideration in the Senate Rules Committee. RCRC Position: Support In Concept

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 it's system web site and be provided annually to customers in writing. Status: Senate Bill 998 awaits action on the Senate Floor. RCRC Position: Watch