April 2022 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate

Help the PLS Community

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is seeking licensed professional surveyors and mapping scientists to participate in a professional activities and knowledge study, or PAKS, for the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam. The results of this study will be used to update the specifications for the exam, which is used throughout the United States for licensing purposes. NCEES requires a cross section of licensed professional surveyors and mapping scientists—including those working in consulting, the public sector, and academia—to complete an online questionnaire about the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a newly licensed surveyor or mapping scientist to practice in a manner that safeguards the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The questionnaire can be completed in 35–45 minutes. “These studies help NCEES ensure its licensing exams reflect current professional practice,” explained Chief Officer of Examinations Jason J. Gamble, P.E. “We need input from as many professional surveyors and mapping scientists as possible to ensure that the PS exam continues to meet the demands of the profession.” Click on the following URL to access the online questionnaire before the deadline of May 30, 2022. https://www.research.net/r/PS-questionnaire

Session Begins

In January, the State Senate and Assembly returned to Sacramento. They immediately got down to State business – dealing with a few leftover 2021 bills and the first look at the 2022-23 State budget. And soon after returning, more than 20 legislators announced they were done with Sacramento – including Assembly Members Lorena Gonzalez, Jim Frasier, and Autumn Burke, who quit to pursue other activities. That makes five vacancies in the State Assembly (all Democrats) – but still gives the Democrats a 2/3 supermajority.

State Legislation

We’ll look at Assembly bills this month – Senate bills next month.

AB 1604 The Upward Mobility Act of 2022: boards and commissions: civil service: examinations: classifications. (Holden – D) This bill would require that, on or after January 1, 2023, all state boards and commissions (like BPELSG) consisting of one or more volunteer members have at least one board member or commissioner from an underrepresented community. The bill would define the term “board member or commissioner from an underrepresented community” as an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native; who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender; who is a veteran, as defined; or who has a disability, as defined. The bill would apply these requirements only as vacancies on state boards and commissions occur.

AB 1642 California Environmental Quality Act: water system well and domestic well projects: exemption. (Salas – D) This bill would exempt from CEQA a project that relates to a well that is part of a water system or to a domestic well that has been designated by the state board as high risk or medium risk in the state board’s drinking water assessment and that is designed to mitigate or prevent a failure of the well or the domestic well that would leave residents that rely on the well, the water system to which the well is connected, or the domestic well without an adequate supply of safe drinking water. The bill would require a lead agency that determines that a project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to these provisions to file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and the county clerk, as provided.

AB 1662 Licensing boards: disqualification from licensure: criminal conviction. (Gipson – D) This bill would allow individuals who have been convicted of a crime to submit information regarding the conviction to the BPELSG and request a determination as to whether or not the conviction would be grounds for denial of the license prior to the individual actually submitting an application for licensure and prior to paying any application fee. The bill would require the Board to determine if the individual may be denied licensure based on the information submitted and to notify the individual in writing of the determination.

AB 1733 State bodies: open meetings. (Quirk – D) This bill would allow the BPELSG to continue meeting via teleconference without having to list all of the locations from where a Board member may attend the meeting. It would also require the Board to provide the public with both a physical location and a teleconference option where they can hear, observe, and address the Board.

AB 1748 Exempt surplus land: regional housing need. (Seyarto – R) AB 1748 seeks to incentivize cities to meet certain annual housing goals by rewarding them with more flexibility in creating civic centers within their towns when they meet these housing goals.

AB 1774 California Environmental Quality Act: water conveyance or storage projects: judicial review. (Seyarto – R) AB-1774 adds water storage and conveyance to the type of projects that qualify for expedited judicial CEQA review under SB 7 (Atkins, 2020).

AB 1778 State transportation funding: freeway widening: poverty and pollution: Department of Transportation. (Garcia, Cristina – D) AB 1778 prohibits the use or contribution of State funds or personal hours for permitting freeway-widening projects in areas of high pollution and poverty.

AB 1784 Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014: groundwater sustainability projects: grants and loans.  (Smith – R) Current law provides for the sum of $900,000,000 to be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Fund of 2014, for expenditures on, and competitive grants, and loans for, projects to prevent or clean up the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water, as provided. Current law requires a project that receives funding to be selected by a competitive grant or loan process with added consideration for those projects that leverage private, federal, or local funding, and outlines the additional requirements and processes applicable to projects that receive funding. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these latter provisions.

AB 1795 Open meetings: remote participation. (Fong – R) This bill would require state bodies, like BPELSG and CSLB, subject to existing exceptions, to provide all persons the ability to participate both in-person and remotely in any meeting and to address the body remotely.

AB 1845 Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: alternative project delivery methods. (Calderon – D) Would authorize the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to use the design-build procurement process for certain regional recycled water projects or other water infrastructure projects. The bill would define “design-build” to mean a project delivery process in which both the design and construction of a project are procured from a single entity. The bill would require the district, if using this procurement process, to follow certain procedures, including preparing and issuing a request for qualifications, preparing a request for proposals including the scope and needs of the project or contract, and awarding projects based on certain criteria for projects utilizing either lowest responsible bidder or best value selection criteria.

AB 1923 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Partnership Academies. (Mathis – R) The State Department of Education, under the administration of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, has numerous duties with respect to the funding and conduct of the instructional activities undertaken by school districts. This bill would establish Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Partnership Academies and would require the department, in coordination with the Superintendent, to issue grants to school districts to establish up to 100 partnership academies dedicated to training young people in STEM occupations, as specified.

AB 1952 Infill Infrastructure Grant Program of 2019.  (Gallagher – R) Would exempt from the requirements of CEQA a project financed pursuant to the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program of 2019, and would make all legal actions, proceedings, and decisions undertaken or made pursuant to the program exempt from CEQA. The bill would also make nonsubstantive changes to the program by renumbering a code section and updating erroneous cross-references.

AB 2041 California Safe Drinking Water Act: primary drinking water standards: compliance. (Garcia, Eduardo – D) Would require the State Water Resources Control Board to take specified actions if the state board adopts a primary drinking water standard with a compliance period for which public water systems are given a designated period of time to install necessary measures, including, but not limited to, installation of water treatment systems, to comply with the primary drinking water standard without being held in violation of the primary drinking water standard. Those actions would include, among other actions, developing a financial plan to assist public water systems that will require financial assistance in procuring and installing the necessary measures.

AB 2088 Career technical education: California Pilot Paid Internship Program. (Cooper – D) Current law establishes the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program, administered by the State Department of Education, with the purpose of encouraging, maintaining, and strengthening the delivery of high-quality career technical education programs. This bill would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program in the department to help prepare thousands of California pupils for high-skill jobs of the future in engineering, health care, mathematics, manufacturing, science, teaching, and technology. The bill would appropriate $575,000,000 from the General Fund to the department to provide technical assistance to, and allocate grant funds to, school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education that establish or expand existing local public-private internship programs, as provided. The bill would require the department to allocate grant funds to local educational agencies to support, in total, up to 40,000 grade 12 pupils per year participating in 8-week internship programs, as provided.

AB 2147 Pedestrians. (Ting – D) Would prohibit a peace officer, as defined, from stopping a pedestrian for specified traffic infractions unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power.

AB 2233 Public Housing Loan Fund and Program: Public Housing Financing Authority. (Quirk-Silva – D) Would establish the Public Housing Loan Fund for purposes of establishing and administering, upon appropriation by the Legislature, the Public Housing Loan Program and making loans pursuant to that program. The bill would require California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) to administer the fund and program from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2025, and would require the Public Housing Financing Authority (PHFA), as established on January 1, 2025, in the Treasurer’s office by the bill, to administer the fund and program on and after January 1, 2026. The bill would authorize the CHFFA and PHFA to make and award loans from the fund for purposes of the program. This bill would require the CHFFA or PHFA, as applicable, to establish requirements for a local agency to be eligible to receive a loan under the program, including, but not limited to, requiring that the loan be used to cover construction costs for public housing on property owned by the local agency.

AB 2237 Regional transportation plan: Active Transportation Program. (Friedman – D) AB 2237 takes a multifaceted approach to set California on the course to meet the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets expected under SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) by making changes at the state, local, and regional levels to assist metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) in meeting their 2035 regional GHG emission target. AB 2237 requires the development of a bicycle highway proposal by Caltrans.

AB 2313 Water: judges and adjudications. (Bloom – D) (1) Current law authorizes the Judicial Council to conduct institutes and seminars for the purpose of orienting judges to new judicial assignments, keeping them informed concerning new developments in the law, and promoting uniformity in judicial procedure, as specified. This bill would encourage the Judicial Council to establish a program that provides training and education to judges in specified actions relating to water, as defined. The bill would provide that the program may be funded by an appropriation from the General Fund in the annual Budget Act or another statute. The bill would authorize the Chairperson of the Judicial Council to assign to certain actions relating to water a judge with that training or education. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.

AB 2387 Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparation, Flood Protection, Extreme Heat Mitigation, and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2022. (Garcia, Eduardo – D) Would enact the Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparation, Flood Protection, Extreme Heat Mitigation, and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2022, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $7,430,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance projects for safe drinking water, wildfire prevention, drought preparation, flood protection, extreme heat mitigation, and workforce development programs. This bill contains other related provisions.

AB 2438 Transportation projects: alignment with state plans. (Friedman – D) AB 2438 requires all transportation projects funded at the state and local level to adhere to the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure and the California Transportation Plan.

AB 2451 State Water Resources Control Board: drought planning. (Wood – D) Would require the State Water Resources Control Board to establish a Drought Section within the Division of Water Rights, as specified. The bill would require the state board, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, to adopt principles and guidelines for diversion and use of water in coastal watersheds during times of water shortage for drought preparedness and climate resiliency and for the development of watershed-level contingency plans to support public trust uses, public health and safety, and the human right to water in times of water shortage. The bill would require the state board to adopt those principles and guidelines no later than March 31, 2023, as specified.

AB 2514 Department of Transportation: highway safety. (Dahle, Megan – R) Current law vests the Department of Transportation with full possession and control of all state highways and all property and rights in property acquired for state highway purposes. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation relating to the department’s highway upgrade priorities in order to account for rural communities and roads that may have fewer drivers, but have a large number of accidents.

AB 2605 Water quality: state certification. (Villapudua – D) The State Water Resources Control Board and the California regional water quality control boards prescribe waste discharge requirements in accordance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Under federal law, any applicant seeking a federal license or permit for an activity that may result in any discharge into the navigable waters of the United States is required to first seek a state water quality certification, as specified. The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act authorizes the state board to certify or provide a statement to a federal agency, as required pursuant to federal law, that there is reasonable assurance that an activity of any person subject to the jurisdiction of the state board will not reduce water quality below applicable standards. The federal act provides that if a state fails or refuses to act on a request for this certification within a reasonable period of time, which shall not exceed one year after receipt of the request, then the state certification requirements are waived with respect to the federal application. This bill would authorize the state board to delegate its authority regarding the above-described issuance of a certificate or statement to the regional boards.

AB 2639 Water quality control plans and water rights permits. (Quirk – D) Would require the State Water Resources Control Board, on or before December 31, 2023, to adopt a final update of a specified water quality control plan for the Bay-Delta and to implement the final San Joaquin River/Southern Delta update of that specified water quality control plan, as provided. The bill would prohibit the state board from approving any new water right permits or extensions of time for any existing permits resulting in new or increased diversions to surface water storage from the Sacramento River/San Joaquin River watershed until the state board has taken those actions.

AB 2719 California Environmental Quality Act: exemptions: highway safety improvement projects. (Fong – R) CEQA includes exemptions from its environmental review requirements for numerous categories of projects, including, among others, emergency projects undertaken, carried out, or approved by a public agency to maintain, repair, or restore an existing highway under specified circumstances. This bill would further exempt from the requirements of CEQA highway safety improvement projects, as defined, undertaken by the Department of Transportation or a local agency.

AB 2740 Water resources: desalination. (Dahle, Megan – R) Current law requires the Department of Water Resources, not later than July 1, 2004, to report to the Legislature, on potential opportunities and impediments for using seawater and brackish water desalination, and to examine what role, if any, the state should play in furthering the use of desalination technology. Current law requires the department to convene a Water Desalination Task Force, comprised of representatives from listed agencies and interest groups, to advise the department in carrying out these duties and in making recommendations to the Legislature. This bill would repeal these provisions.

AB 2789 Competitive bidding: design-build and best value construction contracting. (Mullin – D) Current law authorizes, until January 1, 2023, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the Santa Clara Valley Open-Space Authority to use the design-build process for the construction of facilities or other buildings in those entities, as specified. This bill would repeal the January 1, 2023, sunset date, thereby indefinitely extending the authority of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the Santa Clara Valley Open-Space Authority to use the design-build process for the construction of facilities or other buildings in those entities, as specified. The bill would also authorize the East Bay Regional Park District to use the design-build process for the construction of facilities or other buildings in that district.

AB 2857 Groundwater. (Bauer-Kahan – D) Current law relating to groundwater management declares the intent of the Legislature to encourage local agencies to work cooperatively to manage groundwater resources within their jurisdictions, and makes related legislative findings and declarations. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to those legislative findings and declarations.

AB 2876 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. (Bigelow – R) The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires all groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins by the Department of Water Resources that are designated as basins subject to critical conditions of overdraft to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans by January 31, 2020, and requires all other groundwater basins designated as high- or medium-priority basins to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated groundwater sustainability plans by January 31, 2022, except as specified. The act requires all relevant state agencies to consider the policies of the act, and any adopted groundwater sustainability plans, when revising or adopting policies, regulations, or criteria, or when issuing orders or determinations, where pertinent. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to the latter provision.

AB 2895 Water transfers. (Arambula – D) Current law regulates water transfers and authorizes a permittee or licensee to temporarily change the point of diversion, place of use, or purpose of use due to a transfer or exchange of water or water rights if the transfer would only involve the amount of water that would have been consumptively used or stored by the permittee or licensee in the absence of the proposed temporary change, would not injure any legal user of the water, and would not unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other instream beneficial uses. Current law defines a temporary change for these purposes to mean a change of point of diversion, place of use, or purpose of use involving a transfer or exchange of water or water rights for a period of one year or less. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to the definition of a temporary change.

AB 2940 Water rights: reasonable and beneficial use of water. (Dahle, Megan – R) Current law declares that the right to water is limited to that water that is reasonably required for the beneficial use to be served, and does not extend to the waste or unreasonable use, unreasonable method of use, or unreasonable method of diversion of water. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to that provision.

AB 2956 Transportation. (Committee on Transportation – ) Current law establishes the Active Transportation Program in the Department of Transportation for the purpose of encouraging increased use of active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking. Current law requires the program to be funded by state and federal funds from appropriations in the annual Budget Act to the Department of Transportation, for allocation to the California Transportation Commission. Under existing law, the amount of these appropriations include 100% of federal Transportation Alternative Program funds, except as specified. This bill would revise those provisions to specify the federal statutory source for the Transportation Alternative Program and would make a related technical change.

ACR 132 Engineers Week. (Rivas, Luz – D) Would recognize the week of February 20, 2022, to February 26, 2022, as Engineers Week.

ACR 133 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. (Rivas, Luz – D) Would proclaim February 24, 2022, as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

ACR 154 Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. (Seyarto – R) Would honor 100 years of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics during the month of June 2022.

Reports of Interest

California Strategic Growth Council released “California Transportation Assessment Report,” conducted by researchers at the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, finds “a significant share of funds at the state, regional, and local levels continue to be spent on adding highway lanes and other projects that increase vehicle travel. This funding not only adds to the maintenance burden of an aging highway system but also means less available funding for other investments that might move more people (such as running more buses or prioritizing their movement) without expanding roadways or inducing additional vehicle travel and provide Californians with more options to meet daily travel needs; recommends aligning existing funding programs with State goals; reevaluating project and program funding and reviewing the current transportation project pipeline.”


Appointments of Interest by the Governor

As Secretary of the State Transportation AgencyToks Omishakin, 44, Sacramento, no party preference, director of Dept. of Transportation since 2019; Salary: $227,178.





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