August 2017 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate


Legislative Update

By Richard Markuson

Region 9 Legislative Advocate

Legislative Update

By Richard Markuson

Region 9 Legislative Advocate


The Legislature completed its crafting of the State Budget and numerous budget trailer bills. Governor Brown signed the budget with NO line-item vetoes.


Laurel Rosenthall with CALmatters wrote “Now, the use of trailer bills ebbs and flows with the economy. Lawmakers write more of them when the state’s fortunes are down and fewer when times are flush, ranging from 61 trailer bills in 2004 to 16 passed so far this year—with more still in the works.”


John Meyers wrote in the LATimes “Gov. Jerry Brown holds two unique records when it comes to state budgets. No governor has signed more of them, and none in modern times have been as hesitant to veto items they don’t like. In the budget he signed on Monday, Brown made no changes. It’s not the first time. This was Brown’s second consecutive budget in which he took no veto actions, and his third veto-free budget since 1982.”


Why no vetoes? That is a good question. Chriss Street writes in Beitbart that Brown negotiated a deal “that guaranteed Democratic leaders he would not veto any of their spending” in return for “$2 billion more for his reserve fund than the constitutionally mandated $1.3 billion.”


The budget and related acts signed by the Governor include:


AB 97 by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) – Budget Act of 2017.

AB 99 by the Committee on Budget – School finance: education omnibus trailer bill.

AB 102 by the Committee on Budget – The Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017: California Department of Tax and Fee Administration: Office of Tax Appeals: State Board of Equalization.

AB 103 by the Committee on Budget – Public safety: omnibus.

AB 107 by the Committee on Budget – Developmental services.

AB 111 by the Committee on Budget – State government.

AB 115 by the Committee on Budget -Transportation.

AB 119 by the Committee on Budget – State government.

AB 120 by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) – Budget Act of 2017.

SB 85 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Education.

SB 89 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Human services.

SB 90 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Public social services: 1991 Realignment Legislation and IHSS Maintenance of Effort and collective bargaining.

SB 92 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Public resources.

SB 94 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Cannabis: medicinal and adult use.

SB 96 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – State Government.


The Dept. of Finance has released its summary of the enacted 2017-18 budget.


Other Legislation


The Senate Business, Professions And Economic Development Committee approved ASCE supported AB 56 (Holden D) that clarifies the definition of housing-related infrastructure for the purposes of programs administered through the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank).


The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee approved ASCE supported AB 1523 (Obernolte R) that would authorize the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, upon approval of its board of directors, to use the design-build contracting process for local agencies to award a contract for the construction of the Mt. Vernon Avenue Viaduct project in the City of San Bernardino.


The  Senate Environmental Quality Committee approved ASCE supported AB 1671 (Caballero D) that requires, on or before January 1, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to update its backflow protection and cross-connection regulations. According to the author, “The United States Environmental Protection Agency has determined that contamination from backflow is the leading cause of disease outbreaks in a water distribution system.  Backflow prevention assemblies are critically important components of drinking water systems because they prevent contaminants from making their way from one location into the entire water system. The state’s Cross Connection Control Regulations were revised in July 1987 and have not been updated since that time. The regulations are out-of-date and must be updated to ensure comprehensive guidance for the protection of public health. This bill will protect California’s drinking water supply by ensuring that the protective actions taken by water suppliers meet current industry guidance and are clearly supported in regulation.” Another measure, AB 1529 (Thurmond, D) requires certifications for cross-connection or backflow prevention device testing and maintenance that were determined by the State Department of Public Health (DPH) to demonstrate competency to be approved California-specific certifications, and prohibits, under certain conditions, a water supplier from refusing to recognize statewide certifications that meet standards set by the SWRCB.



Recent Reports


Air Resources Board has released its 2015 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, finds “climate-warming emissions fell by 1.5 million metric tons (MMT) in 2015 compared with 2014, which is equivalent to removing 300,000 vehicles from California’s roads for a year,” adds the carbon intensity of the economy, or the amount of greenhouse gases “needed to generate each million dollars of gross state product,” has “fallen 33 percent since its peak in 2001,” while “during that same period, the state’s gross state product has grown by 37 percent.”


Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center has released “Building Drought Resilience in California’s Cities and Suburbs,” examines “evolving roles in managing urban water supply and lessons to help us better prepare for droughts of the future,” recommendations include “state should avoid the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach it took with the mandate and rely instead on a ‘trust but verify’ policy.”


Legislative Analyst’s Office has released its report, “Overview of the 2017 Transportation Funding Package,” describes “major features” of SB 1, which raises gas tax by 12 cents a gallon and is estimated to “increase state revenues for California’s transportation system by an average of $5.2 billion annually;” among “issues for legislative consideration,” LAO recommends “increasing efficiency at Caltrans” by “reducing its capital outlay support staff relative to the volume of capital projects the department delivers” and “ensuring oversight and accountability” by establishing “outcome measures” in law that could be used to hold the administration accountable.


Western States Petroleum Assn. has released report it commissioned from Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, “Oil & Gas in California: The Industry and Its Economic Impact,” findings include: “industry sustains 368,100 jobs, generates $26.4 billion in state and local tax revenues” and accounts for “$148 billion in total economic value” which is “larger than 15 US state economies.”


Little Hoover Commission has released its report, “Improving State Permitting for Local Climate Change Adaptation Projects,” finds “local governments designing and constructing projects to protect Californians from the threat of climate change have landed on a collision course with the state’s complicated permitting process intended to protect the environment,” recommendations include establishing “multi-agency communication early in the process” and developing “detailed guides for expectations and requirements for permit applications.”


Ocean Protection Council and Ocean Science Trust have released their report, “Readying California’s Fisheries for Climate Change,” outlines “four climate change scenarios for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem” and “seven potential management strategies to adapt to climate change impacts,” note “we have seen market squid moving farther north, loss of kelp beds in Northern California, and compromised shellfish populations,” suggestions include managing for “ecological resilience,” fishery transitions and “strengthen monitoring and forecasting.”






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