April 2019 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate


The State Legislature hit their first deadline in the 2019-2020 session – the bill introduction deadline. A whopping 2,721 bills have been introduced; 826 (up from 684 last year) in the Senate, 1,878 (up from 1,531) in the Assembly.

New Bills of Interes

AB 60 (Friedman – D) Water conservation: water meters: accuracy standards. Would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, on or before January 1, 2022, to adopt regulations setting standards for the accuracy of water meters, as specified. The bill would prohibit any water meter manufactured on or after the effective date of those regulations from being sold or offered for sale in the state, or installed by a water purveyor, unless it is certified by the manufacturer to be in compliance with those standards.

AB 226 (Mathis – R) Transportation funds: transit operators: fare revenues. Current law provides various sources of funding to public transit operators. Under the Mills-Alquist-Deddeh Act, also known as the Transportation Development Act, revenues from a 1/4% sales tax in each county are available, among other things, for allocation by the transportation planning agency to transit operators, subject to certain financial requirements for an operator to meet in order to be eligible to receive moneys. This bill would require a fare paid pursuant to a reduced fare transit program to be counted as a full adult fare for purposes of calculating any required ratios of fare revenues to operating costs specified in the act, except for purposes of providing information in a specified annual report to the Controller or providing information to the entity conducting a fiscal or performance audit pursuant to specified provisions.

AB 393 (Nazarian – D) Building standards. The California Building Standards Law provides for the adoption of building standards by state agencies by requiring all state agencies that adopt or propose the adoption of any building standard to submit the building standard to the California Building Standards Commission for approval and adoption. This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would implement a functional recovery building standard for California regarding restoration of building functions and occupancies following an earthquake.

AB 394 (Obernolte – R) California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: fire safety. Would exempt from CEQA projects or activities recommended by the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection that improve the fire safety of an existing subdivision if certain conditions are met. The bill would require the lead agency to hold a noticed public meeting to hear and respond to public comments before determining that a project or activity is exempt. The bill would require the lead agency to file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and with the clerk of the county in which the project or activity will be located. Because the bill would impose additional duties on a lead agency, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

AB 402 (Quirk – D) State Water Resources Control Board: local primacy delegation: funding stabilization program. The California Safe Drinking Water Act requires the State Water Resources Control Board to administer provisions relating to the regulation of drinking water to protect public health. The act requires the state board to provide the local primacy agency, to the extent funds are available from the Safe Drinking Water Account, with an annual drinking water surveillance program grant to cover the costs of conducting inspection, monitoring, surveillance, and water quality evaluation activities specified in the local primacy agreement. The act requires the state board to adopt a schedule of fees and requires a public water system under the jurisdiction of a local primacy agency to pay these fees to the local primacy agency in lieu of the state board. This bill would include enforcement costs as costs covered by an annual drinking water surveillance program grant.

AB 405 (Rubio, Blanca – D) Sales and use taxes: exemption: water treatment. Would exempt from Sales and Use Tax the gross receipts from the sale in this state of, and the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of, chemicals used to treat water, recycled water, or wastewater regardless of whether those chemicals or other agents become a component part thereof and regardless of whether the treatment takes place before or after the delivery to consumers.

AB 422 (Frazier – D) High-speed rail: performance measurement dashboards. Current law requires the High-Speed Rail Authority to establish an independent peer review group for purposes of reviewing the planning, engineering, financing, and other elements of the authority’s plans and issuing an analysis of the appropriateness and accuracy of the authority’s assumptions and an analysis of the viability of the authority’s funding plan, including the funding plan for each corridor. This bill would require the authority, in consultation with the peer review group, to develop and update quarterly a set of summary performance measurement dashboards that show ongoing performance of the project and post on its internet website full sets of the summary performance measurement dashboards.

AB 429 (Nazarian – D) Seismically vulnerable buildings: inventory. Would declare the intention of the Legislature to enact legislation to implement an inventory of all seismically vulnerable buildings within California.

AB 441 (Eggman – D) Water: underground storage. Under current law, the right to water or to the use of water is limited to that amount of water that may be reasonably required for the beneficial use to be served. Current law provides for the reversion of water rights to which a person is entitled when the person fails to beneficially use the water for a period of 5 years. Current law declares that the storing of water underground, and related diversions for that purpose, constitute a beneficial use of water if the stored water is thereafter applied to the beneficial purposes for which the appropriation for storage was made. This bill would revise the above declaration to additionally provide that certain uses of stored water while underground constitute beneficial use.

AB 476 (Rubio, Blanca – D) Department of Consumer Affairs: task force: foreign-trained professionals. Current law provides for the licensure and regulation of various professions and vocations by boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs. This bill, the California Opportunity Act of 2019, would require the Department of Consumer Affairs to create a task force, as specified, to study and write a report of its findings and recommendations regarding the licensing of foreign-trained professionals with the goal of integrating foreign-trained professionals into the state’s workforce, as specified.

AB 587 (Friedman – D) Accessory dwelling units: sale or separate conveyance. Current property tax law establishes a welfare exemption under which property is exempt from taxation if the property is owned and operated by a nonprofit corporation that is organized and operated for the purpose of building and rehabilitating single-family or multifamily residences for sale, as provided, at cost to low-income families. This bill would authorize an accessory dwelling unit that was ministerially approved pursuant to the process described above to be sold or conveyed separately from the primary residence to a qualified buyer if certain conditions are met.

AB 613 (Low – D) Professions and vocations: regulatory fees. Would authorize each board within the Department of Consumer Affairs to increase every 4 years any fee authorized to be imposed by that board by an amount not to exceed the increase in the California Consumer Price Index for the preceding 4 years, subject to specified conditions. The bill would require the Director of Consumer Affairs to approve any fee increase proposed by a board except under specified circumstances. By authorizing an increase in the amount of fees deposited into a continuously appropriated fund, this bill would make an appropriation.

AB 694 (Irwin – D) Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2019. Would enact the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2019 to authorize the issuance of bonds in an unspecified amount to provide additional funding for the VHHPA. The bill would provide for the handling and disposition of the funds in the same manner as the 2014 bond act.

AB 695 (Medina – D) Community college facilities: design-build contracts. Current law authorizes a community college district until January 1, 2020, to enter into a design-build contract for both the design and construction of a facility if specified requirements are met.This bill would extend the authorization for community college districts to enter into design-build contracts to January 1, 2030. The bill would also make conforming changes.

AB 756 (Garcia, Cristina – D) Public water systems: perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate. Would require a public water system to monitor for perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate.

AB 832 (Gipson – D) Income taxes: credits: qualified developer: affordable housing. The Personal Income Tax Law and the Corporation Tax Law allow various credits against the taxes imposed by those laws. This bill would allow a credit against those taxes for each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2025, to a taxpayer in an amount equal to 50% of the amount contributed by the taxpayer to a qualified developer for the development of a qualified project, as defined, but that does not exceed a specified amount per taxpayer per qualified project. The bill would also limit the aggregate amount of the credit, as specified.

AB 841 (Ting – D) Drinking water: contaminants: perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Would require the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to adopt and complete a work plan within prescribed timeframes to assess which substances in the class of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances should be tested as a risk to human health. The bill would require the office, as part of those assessments, to determine which of the substances are appropriate candidates for notification levels to be adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board.

AB 847 (Grayson – D) Transportation finance: priorities: housing. Would require the Department of Housing and Community Development, on or before June 30, 2020, and on or before June 30 every year thereafter, to review each production report submitted by a city or county in accordance with the provisions described above to determine if that city or county has met its very low, low-, and moderate-income housing goals, as defined, for that reporting period. The bill would require the department, if it determines that a city or county has met one of those housing goals, to submit a certification of that result to the Controller by no later than June 30 of that year.

AB 881 (Bloom – D) Accessory dwelling units.  The Planning and Zoning Law provides for the creation of accessory dwelling units by local ordinance, or, if a local agency has not adopted an ordinance, by ministerial approval, in accordance with specified standards and conditions. Curent law requires the ordinance to designate areas where accessory dwelling units may be permitted and authorizes the designated areas to be based on criteria that includes, but is not limited to, the adequacy of water and sewer services and the impact of accessory dwelling units on traffic flow and public safety. This bill would instead require a local agency to designate these areas based on the adequacy of water and sewer services and the impact of accessory dwelling units on traffic flow and public safety.

AB 1006 (Grayson – D) Manufactured or prefabricated housing units: statewide standards. Current law, the Planning and Zoning Law, authorizes a local agency to provide, by ordinance, for the creation of manufactured homes in single-family and multifamily residential zones and sets forth required ordinance standards, including, among others, maximum unit size, parking, and roof overhang standards. This bill would prohibit a local agency from imposing additional building standards for projects that are constructed using prefabricated and manufactured units, beyond those set forth in the California Building Standards Code.

AB 1074 (Diep – R) Accessory Dwelling Unit Construction Bond Act of 2020. Would enact the Accessory Dwelling Unit Construction Bond Act of 2020 (bond act), which, if adopted, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $500,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance the Accessory Dwelling Unit Construction Program, established as part of the bond act. The bill would authorize the Department of Housing and Community Development to enter into a contract under that program with a homeowner to provide financing to pay for the eligible costs incurred by the homeowner in constructing an accessory dwelling unit on the homeowner’s property, subject to specified terms and conditions.

AB 1142 (Friedman – D) Strategic Growth Council: transportation pilot projects: regional transportation plans. Would require the Strategic Growth Council, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, to manage and award financial assistance to specified local entities for the purpose of funding pilot projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled to support the planning and development of sustainable communities. The bill would require a local entity that receives funding for a pilot project to provide data regarding the reduction of vehicle miles traveled by the project to the board for use in a specified report.

AB 1180 (Friedman – D) Water: recycled water. The California Safe Drinking Water Act requires the State Water Resources Control Board to administer provisions relating to the regulation of drinking water to protect public health. Current law requires, on or before January 1, 2020, the state board to adopt standards for backflow protection and cross-connection control through the adoption of a policy handbook, as specified. This bill would require that handbook to include provisions for the use of a swivel or changeover device to supply potable water to a dual-plumbed system during an interruption in recycled water service.

AB 1204 (Rubio, Blanca – D) Public water systems: primary drinking water standards: implementation date. Would require the adoption or amendment of a primary drinking water standard for a contaminant in drinking water not regulated by a federal primary drinking water standard or that is more stringent than a federal primary drinking water standard to take effect 3 years after the date on which the state board adopts or amends the primary drinking water standard. The bill would authorize the state board to delay the effective date of the primary drinking water standard adoption or amendment by no more than 2 additional years as necessary for capital improvements to comply with a maximum contaminant level or treatment technique.

AB 1276 (Bonta – D) Green New Deal. Current law establishes various environmental and economic policies. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to develop and implement a Green New Deal with the objective of reaching specified environmental outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the plan and accomplishing certain social goals.

AB 1277 (Obernolte – R) Major transportation infrastructure construction projects: oversight committees. This bill would require a public agency undertaking a publicly funded major transportation infrastructure construction project that is estimated to cost $500,000,000 or more to form an oversight committee subject to applicable open meeting laws and to develop and use risk management plans throughout the course of the project. The bill would requires the oversight committee (1) to be composed of specified individuals, (2) to act as the authority for critical decisions regarding the project, and (3) to have sufficient staff to support decision making. By imposing new requirements on local agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

AB 1304 (Waldron – R) Water supply contract: Native American tribes. Current law provides for the establishment and operations of various water districts. This bill would specifically authorize a water district, as defined, that supplies potable water to enter into a contract with a Native American tribe to receive water deliveries from an infrastructure project on tribal lands.

AB 1522 (Committee on Business and Professions) Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. Current law establishes the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists, which is within the Department of Consumer Affairs, to license and regulate engineers, land surveyors, and geologists and geophysicists and authorizes the board to appoint an executive officer. Current law repeals these provisions on January 1, 2020.This bill would extend the repeal date of the provision establishing the board and the board’s authority to appoint an executive officer until January 1, 2024.

AB 1633 (Grayson – D) Regional transportation plans: traffic signal optimization plans. Would authorize each city located within the jurisdiction of MTC to develop and implement a traffic signal optimization plan intended to reduce greenhouse gases and particulate emissions and to reduce travel times, the number of stops, and fuel use. The bill would also require the Department of Transportation to coordinate with each city that develops a traffic signal optimization plan pursuant to these provisions to ensure that any traffic signals owned or operated by the department are adjusted and maintained in accordance with the plan.

AJR 7 (Gloria – D) Green New Deal. This measure would encourage the United States Congress to enact a Green New Deal that would, among other things, comprehensively address our current climate emergency, transform our economy to one that places the health and wellness of communities at its center, promotes ecological resilience, and restores biodivesity.

Next month we’ll look at Senate bills.

New Reports of Interest

Sierra Club California has released its report, “California Cement Industry: Failing the Climate Challenge,” finds “California’s cement factories are the largest consumers of coal and petroleum coke in the state, and are more polluting per ton of cement than many of their counterparts in India and China.”

CA State Auditor’s office has released its report, “Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Program,” reviewing whether state agencies and departments are honoring their commitment to “expend not less than 3 percent of the cumulative value of all their contracts” on firms owned by disabled veterans, finds the program “continues to benefit only a small percentage of DVBE firms,” adds  “just 133 (or 8 percent) of the 1,671 certified DVBE firms received contracts directly from awarding departments during fiscal year 2017-18.”

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has released its report, “The 2019-20 Budget: Transportation Proposals,” outlines Governor’s proposed $23.5 billion for all transportation departments and programs, includes a “placeholder” request of “$63.7 million annually from 2019‑20 through 2022‑23 to support 780 positions to continue addressing increased workload for processing REAL IDs” that will likely be “updated in the spring after further study of DMV’s workload and processes,” recommends the Legislature consider requiring Dept. of Finance and DMV Reinvention Strike Team to “submit a report at spring budget hearings on potential operational efficiencies” which would allow the Legislature to examine and evaluate “all of the potential efficiencies that have been identified thus far—not just those selected by the administration” and may “help reduce the total amount of additional funding needed to address REAL ID workload or other DMV workload in the coming years.”



Governor Gavin Newsom made the following appointments:

To the State Water Resources Control Board: Laurel Firestone of Sacramento, co-founder and co-director of the Community Water Center since 2006.

As Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board: Joaquin Esquivel of Sacramento, has served on the Board since 2017.

As Chair of High Speed Rail Authority: Lenny Mendonca of Half Moon Bay, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and co-owner of Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

Reappointed to the California Transportation Commission: Carl Guardino of Monte Sereno, President of Silicon Valley Leadership Group since 1997.


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