The Barbed Wire - July 07, 2017

July 7, 2017
RCRC’s 2017 Annual Meeting: Register Today!!!
RCRC Funded PROTECT Program Receives National Attention
Second Policy Hearing on Small Cell Legislation Scheduled
Prevailing Wage Bill Amended to Exclude Tree Mortality, Fire Prevention Projects
2018 Farm Bill – CBO Report and Budget Talks
RCRC Launches Rural County Photo Contest
BULLETIN BOARD
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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
  • Opiate Drug Addiction and Rural County Impacts
  • A Rural Way of Life – Healthy of Harmful?
  • Unfairly Labeled?  Debating Intergenerational Dynamics

Registration is now open via the online portal.  

RCRC Funded PROTECT Program Receives National Attention

CNN’s Freedom Project is an ongoing series on “Modern-Day Slavery,” more commonly known as human trafficking.  The series recently visited Humboldt County, and ran a story on human trafficking in California’s rural counties, highlighting the RCRC funded PROTECT program.  Read More…

Second Policy Hearing on Small Cell Legislation Scheduled

RCRC-opposed Senate Bill 649, authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 1:30pm.  Last week, SB 649 passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on a 6-2 vote with Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) voting “No,” and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) abstaining from the vote.

SB 649 would eliminate local consideration of the aesthetic and environmental impacts of “small cell” structures and force counties to lease space to wireless companies at a rate set by the Legislature.  Amendments taken in the Assembly Local Government Committee fail to make any meaningful changes to the bill, and RCRC and its local government partners remain strongly opposed to the legislation. 

RCRC continues to urge Member Counties to join in opposition of this legislation.  At this time, thirteen RCRC Member Counties have submitted letters of opposition, which can be accessed here.  The text of the bill can be accessed here.

Prevailing Wage Bill Amended to Exclude Tree Mortality, Fire Prevention Projects

A bill making its way through the Legislature reclassifying tree removal projects as public works projects and requiring prevailing wage was amended last week, significantly narrowing the scope of the measure, and effectively excluding tree mortality and wildfire prevention projects.  Following weeks of discussion between the author and various stakeholders, including RCRC, Assembly Bill 1066 by Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) was amended to limit the scope to tree removal activities done in conjunction with existing public works projects.  

Chief among the concerns was that the bill would drive up costs for counties currently aiding low-income residents with removal of dead and dying trees from their property using state grant and disaster assistance funding – funds which are already at a premium. 

The author amended the bill to specifically address concerns with out-of-state tree removal companies taking work from local contractors in areas where tree removal is necessary as part of a demolition or construction project, as was the case in the wake of the 2015 Valley Fire in Lake County.  The bill is set for hearing on July 12, 2017 in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. 

2018 Farm Bill – CBO Report and Budget Talks

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released projections on 10-year estimated spending for agriculture related programs that could have implications on the 2018 Farm Bill.  The CBO’s report predicts mandatory farm and nutrition programs, including those related to conservation and forestry, would cost $822 billion over a decade.  This figure is about $130 billion less than the $956 billion estimate lawmakers had to work with during 2014 Farm Bill negotiations.  Conservation and forestry programs are projected to cost $23.4 billion over five years, representing a modest savings of $4.8 billion when compared to 2014 figures. 

The CBO’s projections report was released amid budget negotiations between House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-TN).  Chairwoman Black is seeking $150 billion in budget cuts from social welfare and has targeted programs in the 2018 Farm Bill.  Chairman Conway struck a deal with Black and expressed his confidence that this agreement provides the Agriculture Committee the “flexibility it needs to craft a farm bill that works for all of our various stakeholders.”  Despite this assurance from Chairman Conway, the Farm Bill will continue to be a target of budget negotiations as a number of Republican members of Congress wish to see tax cuts.

RCRC Launches Rural County Photo Contest

RCRC has launched the 2017 Rural County Photo Contest!  Kicking off July 1, 2017, 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.  Read More

BULLETIN BOARD

California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Moves Offices

Click here

NOFA: Mobilehome Park Rehabilitation and Resident Ownership Program

Click here

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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 Local Government Committee. RCRC Position:  Neutral

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 awaits action on the Assembly Floor: Consent Calendar.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 563 (Lara): Residential Wood Smoke.  Senate Bill 563 would establish the Woodsmoke Reduction Program to replace old wood-burning stoves with cleaner and more efficient alternatives. Status: SB 563 awaits action in the Assembly.  RCRC Position: Support

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 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 Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials 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 Communications & Conveyance Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 64 (Bonta): Cannabis: Medical and Nonmedical. Assembly Bill 64 would amend the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. Status: AB 64 awaits action in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Comm. RCRC Position: Watch

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 Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.  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 Health Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 174 (Bigelow): California Transportation Commission (CTC): Membership.  Assembly Bill 174 would require that at least one voting member serving on the California Transportation Commission reside in a rural county with a population less than 100,000 individuals.  Status: AB 174 awaits action in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 211 (Bigelow): State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fees.  Assembly Bill 211 would require the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to provide an annual report to the Legislature which would itemize each expenditure on the State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Fee indefinitely.  Status: AB 211 awaits action in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 425 (Caballero): Timber Harvesting Plans: Exemptions: Temporary Roads.  Assembly Bill 425 would expand the Forest Fire Prevention Pilot Project Exemption to allow the construction or reconstruction of temporary roads on slopes of 40 percent or less if certain conditions are met, including that a registered professional forester designates temporary road locations, associated class III watercourse crossings, and unstable areas, on specified maps.  Status: AB 425 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 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 Assembly.  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 Environmental Quality Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 653 (Ridley-Thomas): Property Taxation: Exemption: Indian Tribes.  Assembly Bill 653 would exempt from taxation property owned in fee by a federally-recognized Native American tribe.  Status: SB 653 awaits action in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 920 (Aguiar-Curry): Electricity: Integrated Resource Plans.  Assembly Bill 920 would Requires the Public Utilities Commission, when reviewing a load-serving entity's integrated resource plan, to evaluate the mix of resources in the entity's portfolios to ensure balance. Status: AB 920 awaits action in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

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 action in the Senate Business, Professions & Economic Development Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 1066 (Aguiar-Curry): Public Works: Definition.  Assembly Bill 1066 which would revise the definition of the term “demolition” as it relates to public works to include tree removal for the purposes of payment of prevailing wages. Status: AB 1066 awaits action in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.  RCRC Position: Watch

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 Governance and Finance 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

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 action in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC Status: Oppose