The Barbed Wire - June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018
Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!
RCRC Board of Directors Consider Statewide Ballot Measures
Farm Bill Update
Rural Broadband Update
THE RURAL RUNDOWN PODCAST
BULLETIN BOARD
LEGISLATIVE 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…

RCRC Board of Directors Consider Statewide Ballot Measures

At their Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, the RCRC Board of Directors considered three statewide measures currently slated for the November 2018 ballot.  The measures included the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, the Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act of 2018, and the People’s Initiative to Protect Proposition 13 Savings Act. 

The Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, also known as Senate Bill 3 (Beall), authorizes the issuance of $4 billion in General Obligation bonds for affordable housing.  The RCRC Board of Directs adopted a position of “No Position” on this measure.  The memo can be accessed here.

The Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act of 2018 seeks to restrict the ability of state and local governments to generate new revenues through taxes and fees.  The RCRC Board of Directors adopted an “Oppose” position on this measure.  The memo can be accessed here.

The People’s Initiative to Protect Proposition 13 Savings Act seeks to mandate the acceptance of base property taxes from another county, thereby eliminating the local option component of Proposition 90, thus lowering the amount of property tax revenues to California counties and other local jurisdictions without any corresponding revenue source, or elimination of any current county responsibilities.  The RCRC Board of Directors adopted an “Oppose” position on this measure.  The memo can be accessed here.

Farm Bill Update

Today, the House of Representatives voted 213-211 to pass H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill.  Representative Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, stuck to his agreement with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to deliver conservative support for the House’s version of the Farm Bill in exchange for a vote on the conservative backed immigration reform bill sponsored by Representative Robert Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

Next week, the U.S. Senate is expected to take up their version of the bill, S. 3042, which enjoys broad bipartisan support. If the Senate version passes next week, the next step will be for both chambers to name conferees and go to a conference committee to resolve the difference between the two bills. This is expected to be a complicated process because the House version of the bill makes significant modifications to the food stamp program.  These modification to the food stamp program has no support from Senate Democrats nor House Democrats. Leaders from both parties have until September 30th, when current Farm Bill is slated to expire, to negotiate a final bill; however, failure to reach an agreement will likely trigger a short-term extension of the current Farm Bill.  While conferees could be named in July, it is expected that key members of Congress could use time-periods in July and August to try and work out differences in advance of a formal conference committee, which could come in September. 

Rural Broadband Update

This week, the Senate Commerce Committee held a nomination hearing for Geoffrey Starks who was nominated to fill retiring Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s seat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In his opening statement, Starks told Committee Chairman John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Florida) that rural broadband deployment and telemedicine would be top priorities for his tenure on the FCC.  

Starks supports federal spending for rural broadband deployment and endorsed the $600 million for rural broadband included in the 2018 Omnibus, as well as the AIRWAVES Act, legislation introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) that would invest new funds for broadband deployment. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) asked Starks if he would work with other agencies, specifically the Bureau of Land Management, to find solutions to barriers for rural broadband deployment and Starks said he would.

Earlier this week, the Senate Broadband Caucus met to discuss the benefits of broadband deployment to precision agriculture and other rural industries. The purpose of the panel, and the Caucus in general, was to broaden support within Congress for rural broadband funding. Throughout the panel, broadband deployment was depicted as a gatekeeper to the future of rural economic development. Lawmakers repeatedly compared rural broadband deployment today to the rural electrification movement of the early 20th Century that brought electricity to rural areas that lagged behind big cities.

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

BULLETIN BOARD

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

Alpine County Seeks Director of Finance

Click here

California Department of Community Services and Development Hosts Community Solar Pilot Program Workshop

Click here

California Department of Community Services and Development Hosts Solar PV Consumer Protections Information Session

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 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 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 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 action in the Senate. 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 Governmental Organization 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 consideration in the Senate Appropriations 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 awaits action in the Senate.  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 Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC Position: Support

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 Natural Resources and Water 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 Insurance 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 Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC Position: Concerns

Assembly Bill 2805 (Bigelow): Wild Pig Validation. Assembly Bill 2805 would revise and recast the provisions applicable to wild pigs by, among other things, specifying that the wild pig is not a game mammal or non-game mammal. Expands the definition of wild pig to include feral pigs, European wild boars, and any pig that has 2 or more specified phenotypical characteristics and that does not have a permanent mark or visible tag, as specified. Replaces the wild pig tag requirement with a wild pig validation. Status: AB 2805 awaits consideration in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC Position: Pending

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 Senate Natural Resources and Water 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 consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Pending

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 action in the Senate. 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 Natural Resources 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 Judiciary 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 consideration in the Assembly Insurance Committee. 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 consideration in the Assembly Insurance Committee. 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 Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee.  RCRC Position: Support

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 its system web site and be provided annually to customers in writing. Status: Senate Bill 998 awaits consideration in the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials 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 consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support

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 Local Government Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 1302 (Lara): Cannabis: Local Jurisdiction: Prohibitions on Delivery. Senate Bill 1302 would prohibit a local jurisdiction from adopting or enforcement any ordinance that would prohibit a licensee from delivering cannabis within or outside of the jurisdictional boundaries of that local jurisdiction. Status: SB 1302 has been placed in the Senate Inactive File. RCRC Position: Oppose

Senate Concurrent Resolution 133 (Berryhill): Senator David E. Cogdill, Sr., Memorial Highway. Senate Concurrent Resolution 133 would designate a specified portion of State Highway Route 395 in the County of Mono as the Senator David E. Cogdill, Sr., Memorial Highway. Status: SCR 133 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Support