The Barbed Wire - June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018
RCRC Joins California Delegation at SelectUSA Conference
Governor Brown Signs California State Budget Package
State Budget Update on Assembly Bill 32 Cap-and-Trade Proceeds
Bureau of Cannabis Control Announces Opening of North Coast Regional Office
Federal PILT Payments Issued
Farm Bill Update
RCRC Launches Second Annual Rural Photo Contest
RURAL RUNDOWN PODCAST
BULLETIN BOARD
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

RCRC Joins California Delegation at SelectUSA Conference

RCRC partnered with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) and other California economic development organizations at the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit (Summit) in Washington, D.C. last week.  RCRC staff participated in a number of conversations with foreign entities interested in making investments and creating jobs in rural California.  

More than 3,000 people attended this year’s Summit, including 1,200 business representatives from 66 foreign markets, and economic development organizations (EDOs) from 51 U.S. states and territories.  Summit speakers included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, as well as 10 Governors, and five Cabinet Secretaries.   

“SelectUSA continues to be the premier event for international companies looking to enter American markets,” said Secretary Ross.  “With millions in investments announced over the past few days, hundreds of American jobs will be created in communities across the country.”  

This year’s event included more than 2,700 individual matchmaking meetings among the companies and EDOs in attendance.  Secretary Ross also unveiled a report on the immense benefits rural communities have received from foreign direct investment (FDI) – just since 2003 the value of greenfield FDI in non-metro areas has totaled nearly $56.8 billion.

Governor Brown Signs California State Budget Package

On Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a $139 billion General Fund State Budget Package that provides $78 billion for K-12 schools and community colleges, $500 million for emergency homeless aid, and $134 million for new voting equipment and funding to create offices focused on election cybersecurity and risk management.  The RCRC Governmental Affairs team has analyzed and summarized the 2018-19 State Budget and identified items of particular interest to California’s rural counties.  Read More…

State Budget Update on Assembly Bill 32 Cap-and-Trade Proceeds

The 2018-19 State Budget Package allocates $1.4 billion from the state’s Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds, which is an uptick from the $1.25 billion in the Governor’s January proposed Budget due to higher than expected revenues over the past year.  The final 2018-19 Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan includes significant investments in program areas vital to rural communities, including $160 million for forest health and restoration projects, $30 million for prescribed fire and other fuels reduction projects to carry out the goals of the Forest Carbon Plan, $20 million for Northern, Coastal, and Southern California Regional Forest Health Projects, and $25 million for local fire response.  

While the $160 million was originally proposed by the Governor in January, the additional forest health funds were added by the Legislature to aid with wildfire prevention and forest restoration programs.  The State Budget Package also contains $25 million for waste diversion programs, which is an increase of $5 million over the Governor’s January proposed Budget, but a $15 million decrease from the 2017-18 State Budget.

RCRC will continue to advocate for allocation of auction proceeds to these and other programs and projects that benefit rural communities.  RCRC will also continue to pursue a change in the current definition of “disadvantaged communities” to disseminate Cap-and-Trade proceeds, as the current definition excludes most rural communities from receiving these funds.  RCRC will also continue seeking targeted rural funds in the various funding programs.

2018-19 Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan

Investment Category

Department

Program

Amount

(In Millions)

AB 617 Implementation

Air Resources Board

Community Air Protection

$245

Local Air District Implementation

$20

Technical Assistance to Community Groups

$10

Low Carbon Transportation

Air Resources Board

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

$175

Clean Trucks, Buses & Off-Road Freight Equipment

$180

Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program

$100

Energy Commission

Low Carbon Fuel Production

$12.5

Climate Smart Agriculture

Air Resources Board

Agricultural Diesel Engine Replacement and Upgrades

$112

Energy Commission

Energy Efficiency

$64

Department of Food and Agriculture

Renewable Energy

$4

Energy Commission

Healthy Soils

$5

Sustainable Forests

CAL FIRE

Fire Prevention

$160

Forest Carbon Plan: Prescribed Fire & Fuel Reduction

$30

Urban Forestry

$5

 

Natural Resources Agency

Forest Carbon Plan: Northern, Coastal and Southern California Regional Forest Health Projects

$20

CalOES

Local Fire Response

$25

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Department of Food and Agriculture

Methane Reduction

$99

CalRecycle

Waste Diversion

$25

Air Resources Board

Woodstoves

$3

Integrated Climate Action: Mitigation and Resilience

Strategic Growth Council

Transformative Climate Communities

$40

Natural Resources Agency

Urban Greening

$20

Various

Coastal Resilience

$5

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Wetlands Restoration

$5

Community Services & Development

Low-Income Weatherization

$10

California Conservation Corps

Energy Corps

$6

Climate and Clean Energy Research

Strategic Growth Council

California Climate Change Technology and Solutions Initiative & Technical Assistance

$20

Total

$1,400

 

Bureau of Cannabis Control Announces Opening of North Coast Regional Office

On Thursday, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) announced the upcoming opening of its North Coast Regional Office in Eureka.  The office is officially scheduled to open on Monday, July 2 at 8 a.m.  Located within the Humboldt County Courthouse, the office will serve as a temporary location until the Bureau’s permanent office opens later this year.  Read More…

Federal PILT Payments Issued

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Interior distributed FY 2018 Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) monies to counties.  California’s counties received approximately $60.4 million in payments.  

Most RCRC member counties experienced a significant increase in their Federal PILT payments, primarily the result of a loss in Secure Rural Schools & Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) payments from previous years.  The Federal PILT payments’ formula accounts for a loss in SRS; however, since SRS has been reauthorized for the next two years, next year’s Federal PILT payment levels will drop back down to their recent levels (assuming Congress reauthorizes for 2019).

Federal PILT payments to local governments help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries.  Federal PILT payments support a variety of local government programs and services, including police and fire departments, emergency medical services, and search and rescue operations.  

County-by-county Federal PILT payment’s for California can be accessed here.

Farm Bill Update

Late this week, the Senate voted 86-11 to pass the 2018 Farm Bill.  The Senate bill largely preserves existing Farm Bill programs and avoids reforms to food stamp programs that created controversy for the House version of the bill.  An 86-11 vote suggests overwhelming support for a bill that would provide substantial investment in rural America, but next the Senate and House must conference to reconcile substantial differences between the two bills. 

The House passed its version of the bill last week by a narrow 213-211 vote despite opposition from Democrats and conservatives.  The House version of the bill expands work requirements and makes other changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps.  The changes to SNAP in the House version prevented any Democrats from supporting a bill that is historically bipartisan.  Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) attempted to add tougher SNAP language in the Senate version but were rejected in a 30-68 vote.  The House and Senate versions of the bill have vastly different language in SNAP, as well as the energy, conservation, and farm subsidy sections of the bill.

Before the Senate version of the bill passed, the Senate adopted several amendments to the bill that would impact rural America:

  • Collins 3160 would authorize the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief to find efficiencies in the operations of the forest inventory and analysis program required by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act of 1978.  The proposal authorizes the USFS to use innovative remote sensing technologies to provide estimates for state and national levels of inventory on federal land, and to partner with States and other stakeholders where necessary.
  • Moran 3159 contains language that would amend the Agricultural Credit Act to provide disaster relief for farmers, ranchers, and producers with disaster relief from wildfire damage.
  • Gillibrand 3154 would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to make loans and loan guarantees to finance community facilities for business innovation services, incubators, and rural entrepreneur centers.  This proposal seeks to invest in rural innovators that will drive economic development in the future.
  • Enzi 3181 would amend the Rural Energy for America Program under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.  The Enzi amendment would set annual funding for the Rural Energy for America Program at $50,000,000.  This would be a $30,000,000 increase above enacted levels.
  • A proposal backed by Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) would revamp the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and provide more flexibility for farmers on land enrolled in the CRP.

The base version of the Senate Farm Bill preserves or expands existing rural development programs that are critical for economic growth in rural counties.  Specifically, the Senate version expands investment and financing for rural broadband deployment.  The bill amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to authorize the Community Connect Grant program at $50,000,000.  The bill amends the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to insert a carve-out for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant funding.

Under the Forestry Title, the Senate Farm Bill would establish a competitive grant program for financial and technical assistance to encourage collaborative, science-based restoration of priority forest landscapes.  The grant program would exist as part of the “State and Private Forest Landscape‐Scale Restoration Fund.”  Under Section 8401 Promoting Cross-Boundary Wildfire Mitigation, the bill would authorize a new grant program to fund hazardous fuel reduction projects across landscapes on Federal and non-Federal land.  The program targets State foresters and would require recipients to consult with owners of state, county, tribal, and private landowners to carryout cross-boundary hazardous fuels reduction projects.

The House and Senate have yet to announce the team to negotiate the final version of the bill.  The two versions of the bill differ greatly in key areas.  Negotiations are expected to last through the summer, and Congress may need to pass a Farm Bill extension before current funding expires on September 30, 2018.  Both versions of the 2018 Farm Bill include critical funding for farmers and rural areas, and the pressure is on Congress to cut a deal before the September deadline.

RCRC Launches Second Annual Rural Photo Contest

The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) announced the launch of its Rural County Photo Contest for 2018.  The second annual contest invites amateur photographers to capture life in rural California by showcasing the beautiful, vibrant imagery found in RCRC’s 35 member counties.  Read More…

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.

California Water Commission Water Storage Investment Program Determinations Summary

Click here

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

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 expresses legislative intent to 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: Pending

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 1800 (Levine): Fire Insurance. Assembly Bill 1800 relates to existing law which prohibits a fire insurance policy from limiting or denying payment of the replacement cost of property in the event the insured decides to rebuild or replace the property at a location other than the insured premises. Qualifies that prohibition by making it applicable in addition to any extended replacement cost coverage purchased by the insured and in addition to any increase in policy limits. Status: AB 1800 awaits action in the Senate. RCRC Position: Support

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 Insurance 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 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 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 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 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 Natural Resources 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 Natural Resources Committee. RCRC Position: Support If Amended

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 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 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