The Barbed Wire - June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017
RCRC’s 2017 Annual Meeting: Register Today!!!
RCRC Releases “The Rural Rundown: A Summary of the 2017-18 State Budget Package”
RCRC-Opposed Effort to Move Presidential Primary Date Moves Forward
Counties Submit Comments Regarding Proposed Cannabis Regulations
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Calls on Congress to Lift Protections on Cannabis
Rural Communities and Organizations Raise Concerns Over USDA Restructuring
Showcasing Rural Life: RCRC Seeking Local Photography for Instagram Account
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

Save-the-date cards have been mailed, and registration is now open via the online portal.  Read More…

RCRC Releases “The Rural Rundown: A Summary of the 2017-18 State Budget Package”

Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown and the California Legislature announced a deal on the 2017-18 State Budget Package.  Yesterday, both houses ratified the $183.2 billion spending plan (Assembly Bill 97) and a handful of budget trailer bills that assist in implementing the State Budget Package.  It should be noted that the State Budget Package remains incomplete – there are a number of remaining budget trailer Bills awaiting action, including measures pertaining to health care, public health, a State pre-payment to California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), and reforms to the California Beverage Container Recycling Program (Bottle Bill).  Read More…

RCRC-Opposed Effort to Move Presidential Primary Date Moves Forward

This week, Senate Bill 568, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D – Bell Gardens), passed out of the Assembly Elections & Redistricting Committee.  As recently amended, SB 568 would permanently place the Presidential Primary Election and the Gubernatorial Primary Election in March.  RCRC opposes this effort and believes the moving of the Primary Election will translate to an extremely long campaign season.  

Furthermore, incumbents who have experienced defeat in March would have nearly a year in office where they would serve as a lame-duck.  RCRC’s opposition letter can be accessed here

SB 568 will now be reviewed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Counties Submit Comments Regarding Proposed Cannabis Regulations

This week, RCRC, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and the Urban Counties of California (UCC) submitted comments on the proposed cannabis regulations from the State licensing agencies – the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).  

In 2015, Governor Brown signed into law the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) which established a licensing and regulatory framework for the cultivation, manufacture, transport, storage, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis in California. 

DCA Proposed Regulations

  • The joint letter regarding the State’s licensing and enforcement criteria for commercial cannabis licenses can be accessed here.  The proposed regulations can be accessed here
  • The joint letter regarding the proposed regulations for the State’s licensing and enforcement criteria for commercial cannabis testing laboratories can be accessed here.  The proposed testing laboratories regulations can be accessed here

CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Proposed Regulations

  • The joint letter regarding proposed regulations for the State’s medical cannabis cultivation and licensing program can be accessed here.  The proposed regulations can be accessed here.

CDPH

  • The joint letter regarding the proposed regulations for the State’s licensing for manufacturers of cannabis and manufactured cannabis products can be accessed here.  The proposed regulations can be accessed here.

With the expected enactment of the cannabis Trailer Bill Language (TBL), many of the proposed regulations are no longer applicable.  It is expected a new set of proposed regulations from the State licensing agencies will be released later this summer.  The TBL harmonizes the regulatory structure of the MCRSA and Proposition 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Calls on Congress to Lift Protections on Cannabis

In a letter dated May 1, 2017, and first made available publicly earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to reverse federal medical cannabis protections.  The protections under the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to pre-empt State laws regarding “the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”  

During his campaign, President Trump pledged to leave state-level medical cannabis regulations alone.  Despite this campaign promise, Sessions’ letter is an “explicit appeal to allow the Department of Justice to go after medical marijuana providers,” according to the Washington Post

Rural Communities and Organizations Raise Concerns Over USDA Restructuring

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue appointed Anne Hazlett as the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development amid USDA restructuring on rural development issues.  On June 12, 2017, hundreds of local governments, businesses, and rural development organizations co-authored a letter Congress condemning the USDA’s elimination of the Rural Development Mission Area, and the President’s fiscal year 2018 budget request to eliminate funding for numerous USDA Rural Development programs.  

The letter was written in anticipation of Secretary Perdue’s testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development regarding the President’s budget for the USDA.  The budget request is attracting concern over its $3 billion cut in program financing and 20 percent to the USDA’s discretionary spending.  If approved, this budget would cut funding for programs that finance water and waste disposal systems, rural housing development, and grants for rural businesses. 

Showcasing Rural Life: RCRC Seeking Local Photography for Instagram Account

We invite you to get out your camera and capture life in rural California by showcasing the beautiful landscape and scenery in your communities.  It might be a scenic waterway, wildlife, livestock, barns, snowy landscapes, seasons, farm and ranch photos – we’d love to see your photos and feature them on our Instagram!  

All photographs must be the original work of the participant, or must have the photographer’s written permission. By submitting a photo, you give RCRC the right to use the photo on our website or in future newsletters and publications.

Pictures can be emailed to Santinia Pasquini at spasquini@rcrcnet.org.  Please include a description of your photo. 

BULLETIN BOARD

RCRC’s 2017 Annual Meeting: Sponsorship Opportunities

Click here

State Awards $62 Million to House Veterans Experiencing Homelessness in Third Round of Proposition 41 Grants

Click here

GO-Biz Committee Approves $62.8 Million In Tax Credits For 87 Companies Adding Over 6,400 Jobs In California

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

Assembly Bill 168 (Eggman): Employers: Salary Information.  Assembly Bill 168 would prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information from an applicant for employment. Status: AB 168 recently secured passage in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.  RCRC Position: Oppose

Assembly Bill 174 (Bigelow): California Transportation Commission (CTC): Membership.  Assembly Bill 174 would require that at least one voting member serving on the CTC 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 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 710 (Wood): Department of Consumer Affairs: Boards: Meetings.  Assembly Bill 710 would require a Board within the Department of Consumer Affairs to meet once every other calendar year in rural California.  Status: AB 710 awaits action in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer): Counties and Cities: Personal Contract Services.  AB 1250 would establish specific standards for the use of personal services contracts by counties.  Status: AB 1250 awaits action in the Senate.  RCRC Position: Oppose