Barbed Wire - July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014
2014 RCRC Annual Meeting
State Water Board Releases Draft Emergency Water Conservation Regulations
State Water Board Preparing Public Workshop on Statewide Trash Permit
House Votes to Reauthorize Nation’s Employment and Job Training Program
House and Senate Committees Pass Highway Trust Fund Bills
Appropriations Update
President Obama Emergency Supplemental Funding Request
CA Financing Coordinating Committee Hosting Free Funding Fairs

2014 RCRC Annual Meeting

RCRC’s 2014 Annual Meeting will be held September 24-26 at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Placer County.  RCRC is excited about the developing program, where you will hear experts discuss a wide range of topics of interest to rural counties, including panels on the Endangered Species Act, Marijuana in Colorado (One-Year Later), Ethics in Politics, Gambling in California, and Rural Economic Development.

To register for the 2014 Annual Meeting, or review the current program, click here

State Water Board Releases Draft Emergency Water Conservation Regulations

Late this week, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) released Draft Emergency Water Conservation Regulations in light of the current drought.  The proposed emergency regulations would prohibit each of the following (except in case of health or safety needs, or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a state or federal agency):

  • The direct application of water to any hard surface for washing;
  • Watering of outdoor landscapes that cause runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures;
  • Using a hose to wash an automobile, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle; and,
  • Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated.

Violations of the prohibited activities are considered infractions, and punishable by fines of $500 for each day in which the violation occurs.  The State Water Board will consider adoption of the proposed statewide emergency regulations at their July 15, 2014 Board meeting.  Detailed information on the proposed regulations can be accessed here.

For additional information, please contact RCRC Legislative Advocate Kathy Mannion at (916) 447-4806 or

State Water Board Preparing Public Workshop on Statewide Trash Permit

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is preparing to hold the first and only planned public workshop on the Draft Amendments to Statewide Water Quality Control Plans to Control Trash on July 16, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Headquarters in Sacramento.  The amendments relating to trash have surfaced before as part of other permits, most notably in the 2011 first draft of the most recent update of the Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit.  RCRC and a coalition of municipal stakeholders worked with the State Water Board to ensure that the trash provisions were omitted from the final permit adopted in February 2013, but expected them to show up as an independent proposal later. 

The trash amendments contain six elements:

1.    Water quality objective;

2.    Prohibition of discharge;

3.    Implementation provisions;

4.    Time schedule;

5.    Time extension option for State Water Board consideration; and,

6.    Monitoring and reporting requirements.

The amendments will impact all municipalities that currently fall under either Phase of the MS4 permitting program, placing additional requirements for trash mitigation on local agencies that are already stretched thin.

The State Water Board has set a public hearing for August 5, 2014, with comments due at noon that same day.  Detailed information on the trash program, including the proposed amendments and instructions on filing comments, can be accessed here.

For additional information, please contact RCRC Regulatory Affairs Advocate Staci Heaton at (916) 447-4806 or

House Votes to Reauthorize Nation’s Employment and Job Training Program

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), H.R. 803 as amended by the Senate, to reauthorize and modernize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998.  The WIOA represents a compromise between the House-passed Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee’s Workforce Investment Act of 2013.  The Senate voted in overwhelming support of the WIOA nearly two weeks ago.  With passage by the House, the bill will now go to the President for his signature.  RCRC applauds the work of Senate and House leadership to reauthorize and strengthen our nation’s job training and employment program, and we thank President Barack Obama for his commitment to sign this legislation. 

The WIA reauthorization updates and streamlines job training and state and local workforce development programs by requiring unified state plans, establishing a system of common performance measures, placing a stronger emphasis on the use of real-time data and performance indicators to evaluate program effectiveness, and eliminating the “sequence to service” barriers to training.  The WIOA provides additional flexibility to state and local governments to align the workforce development system with economic development and education systems through industry and sector-based strategies and partnerships, and expanded use of career pathways.  Of importance to counties, the WIOA maintains leadership of local elected officials, reduces the size of state and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and provides ongoing support to California’s American Job Centers, known as One-Stop Career Centers.

RCRC has long advocated for the reauthorization of the WIA.  Not only has WIA been critical to strengthening our local, regional and state economies, but WIA investments in employment training programs and services, particularly for rural counties, are vital to developing the highly-skilled and technical workforce our businesses need to sustain, maintain, and grow our competitive edge during these challenging economic times.  The reauthorization of the WIA means that local elected officials, in partnership with business-led WIBs, can continue to provide the guidance, support, and coordination to California’s businesses and workforce, leading to job creation and helping businesses remain competitive.

The WIOA will now head to President Obama for his signature, which he has committed to supporting when the bill hits his desk.  It is unclear at this time when the President will sign the WIOA, although we anticipate the bill will be signed in the next couple of weeks prior to Congress heading home for summer recess.

House and Senate Committees Pass Highway Trust Fund Bills

This week, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees passed bills to stabilize the rapidly diminishing Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is anticipated to become insolvent sometime this summer without Congressional action.  Both the House and Senate bills would provide approximately $11 billion to provide temporary funding relief to the HTF through May 31, 2015, which would be funded with general fund transfers that would be offset through “pension smoothing,” an extension of expiring customs duties, and funding transfers from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.  House Speaker John Boehner announced earlier this week that he intends to have the full House vote on House the measure next week.  The Senate is expected to vote on their version of the bill within the coming weeks. 

Addressing the potential insolvency of the HTF as well as reauthorizing MAP 21 – the federal transportation funding program which is due to expire in September – remains a top priority for RCRC.  RCRC’s federal advocates remain engaged with Congressional leaders and their staff on efforts to provide funding to vital rural transportation programs.

Appropriations Update

Despite early progress with the FY 2015 appropriations bills, the prospect for enacting the 12 bills before the start of the fiscal year in October has dimmed.  The two most contentious bills are weighted with policy riders to halt the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules on waters of the U.S. and greenhouse gas emissions.  The prospect of adding those riders to a different spending package derailed Senate consideration of funding for several unrelated agencies.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) recently dubbed the Energy and Water Development bill and the Interior and Environment bill “the ugly stepsisters.”  Senate leaders pulled the Energy and Water Development Appropriation that funds the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy before a committee vote weeks ago because of the two policy riders, and the Senate version of EPA’s spending bill has yet to be introduced. 

Meanwhile, the House is expected to adopt its version of the Energy and Water Development Appropriation this week with a modest reduction in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, and a nine percent reduction for the Bureau of Reclamation.  The House Appropriations Committee acted earlier this week on the Interior and Environment Appropriation that includes steep reductions in the state revolving loan programs from $1.4 billion to $1 billion for wastewater, and $906 million to $757 million for drinking water.  Both House bills include a prohibition on funding for the Corps and EPA to proceed with the proposed rule on waters of the U.S.  All appropriations matters are now further complicated by the President’s request for a supplemental appropriation to respond to the sudden surge in child immigrants and to fund wildfire suppression.

President Obama Emergency Supplemental Funding Request

This week, President Obama submitted an emergency supplemental funding request of $4.3 billion.  The majority of this funding ($3.7 billion) would be to address the surge in child migrants at the border, with the remaining $615 million for wildfire assistance.  The $615 million would be given to the Department of Agriculture to cover necessary expenses for wildfire suppression and emergency rehabilitation activities.  It is unclear at this time what the prospects are of the passage of this funding request due to the political and controversial nature of the border issue, coupled with the House Republicans desire to find offsets for the funding. 

For additional information on federal issues, please contact RCRC Legislative Analyst Randall Echevarria at (916) 447-4806 or

CA Financing Coordinating Committee Hosting Free Funding Fairs

The CA Financing Coordinating Committee announced their hosting of a free funding fair in Redding on August 20, 2014.  Funding is available for a variety of projects including:

  • Water quality;
  • Wastewater treatment;
  • Water supply;
  • Restoration;
  • Flood management;
  • Streets and highways; and,
  • Community facilities.

Fairs will also be held in Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Perris, and Sacramento during September and October.  Detailed information, including agendas, locations, and registration information can be accessed here.


Thursday, July 3, 2014 marked the last working day for the California State Assembly and Senate before their summer recess.  The California State Assembly and Senate are currently on summer recess, and will reconvene activities on Monday, August 4, 2014. 

For more information regarding state or federal legislative calendars, please contact the RCRC Governmental Affairs staff at (916) 447-4806.