The Barbed Wire - July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018
Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!
Supervisor Lee Adams (Sierra) Appointed to State Historical Resources Commission
Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders Issue Statement on Formation of Wildfire Preparedness and Response Conference Committee
Endangered Species Act Update
Rural Broadband Update
THE RURAL RUNDOWN PODCAST
KEEPING UP
BULLETIN BOARD
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
REGULATORY UPDATE

Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!

RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held September 19-21 at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa in Napa County.  This year’s program will feature experts discussing a wide range of topics of interest to rural counties, including school safety, the changing face of media, the current political landscape, and more.  Read More…

Supervisor Lee Adams (Sierra) Appointed to State Historical Resources Commission

On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Lee Adams, Sierra County Supervisor and RCRC Delegate, to the State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC).  The SHRC is responsible for the identification, registration, and preservation of California’s culture heritage. 

“I am humbled and honored that Governor Brown has appointed me to serve as a member of the State Historical Resources Commission, “said Adams.  “This nine-member review board is responsible for the preservation of California’s cultural heritage.  As a proud Californian and native son, I could not be more excited to serve in this new role.”

The SHRC meets four times per year, and welcomes public attendance and participation.

Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders Issue Statement on Formation of Wildfire Preparedness and Response Conference Committee

Early this week, Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), and Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) announced action on legislation to strengthen disaster preparedness, and set forth appropriate policies to respond to the increasing wildfire danger. 

According to the Governor’s press release, the amended legislation will help prepare the state to deal with the increasingly extreme weather and natural disasters caused by climate change.  Specifically, the committee will consider provisions of the plan outlined in March to update rules and regulations for utility services in light of changing climate and the increased severity and frequency of weather events, such as:

  • Strengthen fire prevention activities such as vegetation removal, infrastructure maintenance, utility company inspections and temporary shut off of power during extreme weather;
  • Continue to ensure that those who cause wildfires are held accountable for damages associated with them;
  • Appropriately determine responsibility for a wildfire;
  • Ensure fair allocation of wildfire prevention and response costs in a manner that protects ratepayers; and,
  • Require utilities to annually submit to the state more expansive and detailed wildfire and emergency preparedness plans.

RCRC’s letter to Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon expressing RCRC’s concern regarding any potential release from liability for the 2017 wildfires or any other wildfire event found to be caused by negligence on the part of Investor Owned Utilities can be accessed here.  The Governor’s press release can be accessed here.

Endangered Species Act Update

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), introduced a discussion draft of a proposal to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The draft legislation would reauthorize the ESA for the first time since 1992, and increase the role of state and local governments in species protection and restoration.  

Chairman Barrasso’s proposal was endorsed by the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and is backed by the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, the American Forest Resource Council, American Loggers Council, Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Public Lands Council, and Land Conservation Assistance Network.

The bill emphasizes that federal enforcement of ESA should be exercised in conjunction with state authorities.  Sec. 103 of the discussion draft requires the Secretary of the Interior to notify the Governor and state agency of each state impacted by ESA within 15 days upon receipt of a petition to list a species under the ESA.  The language would require the Secretary to seek input from the Governor or state agency within a period of 75 days from the point of notification and states “the Secretary shall take into consideration, and give great weight to, any state or Tribal comments submitted.”  

The draft legislation would authorize states:

  • To lead recovery planning and implementation;
  • To expedite threatened species or endangered species recovery by supporting State-level initiatives and partnerships; and,
  • To increase flexibility and feasibility for the applicability of recovery plans.

The bill includes comprehensive reforms to the ESA that expand the roles of Governors and state agencies in the protection and restoration of endangered species.  Sec. 105 of the draft bill would require the Secretary “to consult with the states to the maximum extent possible, and to acknowledge and respect the primary authority of state agencies to manage fish and wildlife within their borders.” Republicans argue an expanded role for state authorities would improve rural economies and bring transparency to environmental policy.

Chairman Barrasso plans to hold a hearing on his proposal in the coming weeks.  The bill is opposed by conservation activists who argue state and local governments lack funding and bandwidth to take on a new role in endangered species protection and recovery. It is unclear how much traction this proposal will get in the Senate with a Supreme Court fight looming.  It is possible Chairman Barrasso’s bill is shelfed until the midterm elections in November.

Rural Broadband Update

Next week, House and Senate Republicans are expected to take on proposals to facilitate rural broadband deployment and improve broadband coverage mapping data.  Republicans may attempt to expedite their rural broadband proposals before the midterm elections.  

Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is drafting a bill that would reauthorize the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to increase accuracy of the rural broadband coverage map used by federal agencies to identify underserved rural areas.  In addition, the Fiscal 2019 Agriculture Appropriations Bills in the House and Senate provide funding for rural broadband loan and grant programs in the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).  The House bill includes $550 million for RUS broadband programs and the Senate provides $425 million.

THE RURAL RUNDOWN PODCAST

The Rural Rundown discusses the legislative and regulatory issues impacting California’s rural counties, featuring commentary and interviews from individuals committed to improving the quality of life in rural California. 

The Rural Rundown can be accessed here

KEEPING UP

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

Leland Adams, 62, of Downieville, has been appointed to the State Historical Resources Commission. Adams has been a member of the Commission on State Mandates since 2017 and of the Sierra County Board of Supervisors since 2009. Adams was sheriff and coroner for Sierra County from 1988 to 2007. He served in several positions at the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office from 1979 to 1988, including sergeant and deputy sheriff. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Adams is a Democrat.

Jennifer Halferty, 45, of Mammoth Lakes, has been appointed to represent the First District on the Mono County Board of Supervisors. Halferty has been executive director at Mammoth Lakes Housing since 2013, where she was deputy director from 2007 to 2013 and programs manager from 2006 to 2007. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $49,308. Halferty is a Democrat.

Mohammad Qureshi, 52, of Tustin, has been reappointed to the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists, where he has served since 2014. Qureshi has been public works director for the County of Glenn Public Works Agency since 2018. He was traffic engineer for the County of Monterey Resource Management Agency from 2016 to 2018 and chief of traffic at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Works from 2012 to 2016. He was regional director and senior project manager at LIN Consulting from 2007 to 2012, director of the Institute for Multimodal Transportation at Jackson State University from 2006 to 2007, an assistant professor and director at the University of Missouri-Rolla’s Missouri Local Transportation Resource Center from 2000 to 2006, a research specialist at the University of Tennessee from 1998 to 2000 and senior associate at Resource Systems Group Inc. from 1995 to 1997. Qureshi earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in civil engineering from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Qureshi is a Democrat. 

BULLETIN BOARD

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

Trinity County Seeks District Attorney/Public Administrator

Click here

Department of Water Resources Seeks Information Officer I and Student Assistant

Click here

Santa Barbara County Seeks Chief Procurement Officer

Click here

HUD Announces Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Grant Program

Click here

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 986 (Gallagher): Hunting and Sport Fishing Licenses.  Assembly Bill 986 would revise the duration of sport fishing licenses, and provide Veterans with a reduced-fee sport fishing license.  Status: AB 986 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

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 Status: Oppose

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 Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1919 (Wood): Price Gouging: State of Emergency. Assembly Bill 1919 would make it a misdemeanor, upon proclamation or declaration of an emergency to increase the monthly rental price advertised, offered or charged for residential housing to an existing or prospective tenant by more than a specified percentage or greater than the rental price advertised, offered, or charged within 30 days immediately prior to the date of the proclamation or disaster. Status: AB 1919 awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1954 (Patterson): Timber Harvest Plans: Exemption: Flammable Materials. Assembly Bill 1954 would delete the inoperative date of an exemption from some or all provisions of the Forest Practices Act of 1973 concerning a person engaged in specified forest management activities. Status: AB 1954 awaits action in the Senate. 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 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2348 (Aguiar-Curry): Winter-Flooded Rice: Incentives. Assembly Bill 2348 would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would provide an incentive to farmers to maintain winter-flooded rice. Status:  AB 2348 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2447 (Reyes): California Environmental Quality Act: Land Use. Assembly Bill 2447 would require the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to publish a list of subject land uses and a map that identifies disadvantaged communities and areas within 1/2 mile radius of the disadvantaged communities. Requires a lead agency to provide certain notices to owners and occupants of property located within one-half mile of any parcel or parcels, and to any schools located within one mile of any parcel or parcels, involving a subject land use. Status: AB 2447 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Oppose Unless Amended

Assembly Bill 2501 (Chu): Drinking Water: Consolidation and Extension of Service.  AB 2501 would redefine small public water system for purposes of the California Safe Drinking Water Act as a system with 200 connections or less. Authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation with a receiving water system where a disadvantaged community is reliant on a state small water system, an individual well, or an unregulated water system serving fewer than five connections. Status: AB 2501 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 2518 (Aguiar-Curry): Innovative Forest Products and Mass Timber. Assembly Bill 2518 would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in collaboration with the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, to explore markets, including export markets, for milling, development, and expansion of innovative forest products and mass timber, that require consistence with the state's climate objectives on forest lands. Status: AB 2518 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2594 (Friedman): Fire Insurance. Assembly Bill 2594 would revise the standard forms of policy and extend the period in which to bring suit to 24 months after the inception of the loss if the loss is related to a state of emergency, as specified. Status: AB 2594 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2649 (Arambula): Groundwater Recharge. AB 2649 would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to increase groundwater recharge. Status: AB 2649 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Concerns

Assembly Bill 2697 (Gallagher): Wildlife, Bird and Waterfowl habitat. Assembly Bill 2697 would require the Wildlife Conservation Board to establish a program, which may include direct payments or other incentives, to encourage landowners to voluntarily cultivate or retain cover crops or other upland vegetation on idled lands to provide waterfowl, upland game bird, and other wildlife habitat cover for purposes, including, but not limited to, encouraging the use of idle agricultural lands for wildlife habitat. Status: AB 2697 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2975 (Friedman): Wild Scenic Rivers. Assembly Bill 2975 would take action to remove or delist any river or segment of a river in California that is included in the national wild and scenic rivers system and not in the state wild and scenic rivers system, requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, after holding a public hearing on the issue, to take any necessary action to add the river or segment of a river to the state wild and scenic rivers system and to classify that river or segment of a river. Status: AB 2975 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 3036 (Cooley): Solid Waste: Definition. Assembly Bill 3036 would exclude from the State Integrated Waste Management Act's definition of solid waste byproducts from processing food, if those byproducts meet certain conditions, including, among others, that the byproducts are intended for use as animal feed. Status: AB 3036 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Watch

Assembly Bill 3178 (Rubio): Integrated Waste Management Plans: Source Reduction. Assembly Bill 3178 would require the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to consider whether the absence or loss of a market for recyclable materials necessitated the disposal of those materials as a temporary measure to avoid a public health threat when evaluating a jurisdiction’s compliance with AB 939 diversion goals. Status: AB 3178 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 168 (Wieckowski): Beverage Container Recycling Act of 2017.  Senate Bill 168 would require Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery 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 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Watch

Senate Bill 212 (Jackson): Solid Waste: Pharmaceutical Sharps and Waste. Senate Bill 212 would establish a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program, under which each manufacturer of covered drugs or sharps, as defined, in the state would be required to establish and implement, either on its own or as part of a group of covered manufacturers through membership in a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship organization, a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program. Status: SB 212 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 452 (Glazer): The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act. Assembly Bill 452 is considered the bottle bill “short term fix” and is intended to increase recycling opportunities. SB 452 proposes to return processing payments to 2015 levels and extends plastic recycling market development incentives. SB 452 would also limit take back responsibility for dealers in unserved zones to 24 containers per day, temporarily relieve dealers by suspending the take-back obligation in zones that became unserved due to a recycling center closure until December 2021, and provides additional handling fees in rural areas annually for three years, among other provisions. Status:  SB 452 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support If Amended

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 Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 894 (Dodd): Property Insurance. Senate Bill 894 would require an insurer, in the case of a total loss to the primary insured structure under a policy of residential property insurance, to offer to renew the policy. Increases the minimum coverage for additional living expenses in the case of a loss related to a declared state of emergency. Requires an insurer who decides not to offer to renew a policy after the expiration of that period to report the decision to not offer to renew the policy to the Insurance Commissioner. Status: SB 894 awaits action in the Assembly. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 917 (Jackson): Insurance Policies. Senate Bill 917 would provide that insurance policies that do not cover the peril of landslide shall not exclude coverage for any loss or damage attributable to a landslide if the landslide resulting in loss or damage was proximately caused by another covered peril, as provided.  Status: SB 917 awaits action in the Assembly. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 919 (Dodd): Water Resources: Stream Gages. Senate Bill 919 would require the Department of Water Resources to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages that includes a determination of funding needs and opportunities for reactivating existing gages. Requires the Department to prioritize the deployment of stream gages based upon gaps in the existing system of gages and specified considerations. Status: SB 919 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 1079 (Monning): Forest Resources: Fire Prevention Grant Fees. Senate Bill 1079 would relate to existing laws authorizing the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection to provide grants to entities, including, but not limited to, private or nongovernmental entities, Native American tribes, or local, state, and federal public agencies, for the implementation and administration of projects and programs to improve forest health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Authorizes the Director to authorize advance payments to a nonprofit organization, a special district, or a Native American tribe. Status: SB 1079 awaits action in the Assembly. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 1215 (Hertzberg): Drinking Water Systems and Sewer Systems: Consolidation. Senate Bill 1215 would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to set timeline and performance measures to facilitate completion of extension of service of drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Authorizes ordered consolidation with a receiving sewer system for, or extension of sewer service to, a disadvantaged community under specified circumstances. Status: SB 1215 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending/Concerns

Senate Bill 1260 (Jackson): Fire Prevention and Protection: Prescribed Burns. Senate Bill 1260 would require a local agency to transmit a copy of their adopted ordinance to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection within a certain number of days of adoption. Requires a local agency to make a finding that ingress and egress for a subdivision meet regulations regarding road standards for fire equipment access, as provided. Gives the Department the option, if it elects not to purchase insurance, to determine proportionate share of liability, as provided. Status: SB 1260 awaits consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

 

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.  

15-Day 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 original notice was released January 26, 2017 for a 45-day public comment period, which ended March 15, 2018.  This 15-Day notice was released July 2, 2018, with comments on the modifications to the originally-proposed changes due by July 20, 2018.  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