August 2021 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate

June 2021 – Budget News

The Legislature and Governor had money in their pockets they wanted to spend. The $262.6 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1 was fueled by a $76 billion state surplus and $27 billion in federal aid. Democrats who control the Capitol wanted to use the windfall to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its uneven toll on Californians.

California state lawmakers included nearly 300 member requests in a budget bill they sent in June to Gov. Gavin Newsom, totaling $1.2 billion in grants for district projects, many of which they began touting to constituents after the vote. Among the asks: $8 million for a nonprofit dance academy in south Los Angeles, $5 million for a nonprofit Shakespeare theater company in central Los Angeles, and $1 million for equipment and a performance center in downtown Sacramento for Capital Public Radio.

What they didn’t pay is an estimated $22 billion Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund debt, which, according to business leaders, undermines “the long-term integrity of the program and guaranteeing that businesses of every size will be forced to pay higher taxes to pay off the debt.”

State Legislation


AB 75 (O’Donnell – D) Places the Kindergarten-Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2022 on the 2022 statewide ballot, to be operative if approved by voters at the election. 6/18/2021-In Committee: Hearing postponed by Committee.  ASCE position: Watch

SB 22 (Glazer – D) Would place on the ballot the Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2022 as a state general obligation bond act that would provide $15,000,000,000 to construct and modernize education facilities. It requires the department of general services to prioritize projects for funding, which includes the use of a project labor agreement (PLA). 6/10/2021-Referred to Coms. on ED. and HIGHER ED.  ASCE position: Disfavor

SB 45 (Portantino – D) This bill would enact the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, which authorizes the sale of $5.595 billion in general obligation bonds, upon approval by voters at the November 2021 statewide general election. Bond funds would be used for projects related to wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection. 6/1/2021-Ordered to inactive file on request of Senator Portantino.  ASCE position: Watch

Business Issues

SB 319 (Melendez – R) Requires local agencies that do not comply with impact fee annual report requirements for three years to include each year they did not comply with these requirements in requested audits. 6/28/2021-Read second time. Ordered to third reading.  ASCE position: Watch


SB 44 (Allen – D) Establishes expedited administrative and judicial review of environmental review and approvals granted for “environmental leadership transit projects” that meet specified requirements. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the need to submit certified payroll records, and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. 6/28/2021-Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on JUD.  ASCE position: Watch


AB 464 (Mullin – D) expands the types of facilities and projects EIFDs may fund to include the acquisition, construction, or repair of commercial structures of small businesses or facilities in which nonprofit community organizations provide health, youth, homeless, and social services, as specified. The author sponsors this bill.  6/28/2021-Approved by the Governor. Chaptered by Secretary of State – Chapter 25, Statutes of 2021.  ASCE position: Support

AB 1037 (Grayson – D) This bill would require DGS to develop guidance, policies, and procedures for integrating and developing digital construction technologies for use on a civil infrastructure project generated by specified state entities and has a state project cost of greater than $50,000,000. Applies to:(1) The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, DGS, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Caltrans, DWR, HSRA, the Military Department. 6/9/2021-Referred to Com. on G.O.  ASCE position: Watch

AB 1329 (Nazarian – D) Requires the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) to develop, adopt, and publish building standards requiring that new construction be designed and built to a functional recovery standard for earthquakes. 6/30/2021-From committee chair, with author’s amendments: Amend and re-refer to Committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on HOUSING.  ASCE position: Support

SB 83 (Allen – D) This bill would establish the Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Program through the collaboration primarily of the Coastal Conservancy and the I-Bank. 6/29/2021-Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on APPR.  ASCE position: Watch


AB 1010 (Berman – D) Require architects to complete five hours of continuing education training on zero net carbon design for every two-year licensing period 6/22/2021-Read second time. Ordered to third reading.  ASCE position: Watch

SB 414 (Jones – R) Senate Bill 414 extends the time a local agency has to hear an appeal to 45 days after an appellant files a request and makes conforming changes. SB 414 also creates a different definition of “cadastral surveying” to mean a survey that creates, marks, defines, retraces, or reestablishes the boundaries and subdivisions of the public land of the United States, or any other field survey of a cadaster that is a public record, survey, or map of the extent and ownership of land. 6/22/2021-From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on L. GOV. with recommendation: To consent calendar. (Ayes 19. Noes 0.) (June 22). Re-referred to Com. on L. GOV.  ASCE position: Favor


AB 43 (Friedman – D) Grants Caltrans and local authorities greater flexibility in setting speed limits based on recommendations the Zero Traffic Fatality Task Force made in January 2020.  6/25/2021-From committee chair, with author’s amendments: Amend and re-refer to Committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on TRANS.  ASCE position: Watch

AB 1035 (Salas – D) This bill would delete the condition in the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program requirement imposed on the department and those cities and counties to use advanced technologies and material recycling techniques to the extent possible. 6/28/2021-Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on APPR.  ASCE position: OUA

AB 1147 (Friedman – D) Requires each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to submit a 2035 target action plan by July 1, 2023, to identify barriers in meeting regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets and establishes the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) Block Grant Program.  6/10/2021-From committee chair, with author’s amendments: Amend and re-refer to Committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on E.Q.  ASCE position: Watch

AB 1499 (Daly – D) This bill authorizes the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and regional transportation agencies (RTPAs) to use the design-build procurement method for transportation projects in California until 2034. 6/24/2021-From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on APPR with recommendation: To Consent Calendar. (Ayes 15. Noes 0.) (June 24). Re-referred to Com. on APPR.  ASCE position: Support

SB 339 (Wiener – D) SB 339 extends the California Road Charge Pilot Program from 2023 until 2027. This extension will allow the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to continue their study of the viability of a road charge or a fee based on road usage to replace the current gas tax. 6/22/2021-From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on APPR. (Ayes 11. Noes 4.) (June 21). Re-referred to Com. on APPR.  ASCE position: Support

SB 640 (Becker – D) This bill authorizes local governments to sponsor local streets and road projects jointly funded by the Road Repair and Accountability Act (SB 1, Beall, Chapter 5, Statutes of 2017). 6/30/2021-From Committee: Do pass. Ordered to consent calendar. (Ayes 14. Noes 0.) (June 30).  ASCE position: Support

SB 671 (Gonzalez – D) This bill requires the CTC, in coordination with other state agencies, to develop a Clean Freight Corridor Efficiency Assessment and incorporate the recommendations into their respective programs for freight infrastructure; and codifies existing CTC guidelines for eligible projects for the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP). 6/22/2021-From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on NAT. RES. with recommendation: To consent calendar. (Ayes 15. Noes 0.) (June 21). Re-referred to Com. on NAT. RES.  ASCE position: Watch

SB 674 (Durazo – D) This bill creates the California Jobs Plan (CAJP) Act of 2021, which requires private entities bidding on covered transportation-related contracts over $10 million, excluding contracts for road, bridge, or highway construction, to include as part of their application a CAJP form stating information about jobs created and retained. It specifies that the CAJP is scored as part of the overall application and included in the awarded contract as a material term. 6/23/2021-From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on TRANS. (Ayes 5. Noes 0.) (June 22). Re-referred to Com. on TRANS.  ASCE position: Watch


AB 754 (Mathis – R) Allows the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to extend the deadline to submit a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) by up to 180 days for an agency developing a GSP for a medium- or high-priority basin. 6/16/2021-Referred to Com. on N.R. & W.  ASCE position: Watch

AB 1195 (Garcia, Cristina – D) Creates the Southern Los Angeles County Human Right to Water Collaboration Act. Requires the State Water Board to appoint a Commissioner to implement the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Program in southern Los Angeles County.  6/17/2021-In Committee: Set, first hearing. Hearing canceled at the request of the author.  ASCE position: Disfavor

SB 222 (Dodd – D) Would establish the Water Rate Assistance Program, with an unknown source of funding, administered by the Community Services Development Department (CSD) in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board, to help provide water affordability assistance, for both drinking water and wastewater services, to low-income ratepayers. 6/30/2021-VOTE: Do pass as amended and be re-referred to the Committee on [Appropriations] (PASS) ASCE position: Watch

SB 273 (Hertzberg – D) Authorizes a municipal wastewater agency to acquire, construct, expand, operate, maintain, and provide facilities to manage stormwater and dry weather runoff. 6/30/2021-Coauthors revised. From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on APPR. (Ayes 9. Noes 0.) (June 30). Re-referred to Com. on APPR.  ASCE position: Favor

SB 403 (Gonzalez – D) Authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation between a receiving water system and an at-risk water system under specified circumstances 6/16/2021-From Committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on L. GOV. (Ayes 6. Noes 3.) (June 16). Re-referred to Com. on L. GOV.  ASCE position: Watch

SB 552 (Hertzberg – D) Imposes drought and water shortage contingency planning requirements on state small water systems, counties, and specified state agencies. 6/21/2021-Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on L. GOV.  ASCE position: Support

SB 559 (Hurtado – D) This bill would authorize state funding to help restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal, Delta-Mendota Canal, San Luis Field Division of the California Aqueduct, and the San Joaquin Division of the California Aqueduct.  6/14/2021-From committee with author’s amendments. Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on W.,P., & W.  ASCE position: Support

Federal Legislation

The American Rescue Plan allocates $350 billion for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.

The Treasury Department urges applicants (states, counties, cities, tribal governments, territories, and non-entitlement local government units) to use project labor agreements on federally assisted water, sewer, and broadband projects.

From the Interim Final Rule: “It is important that necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure be carried out in ways that produce high-quality infrastructure, avert disruptive and costly delays, and promote efficiency. Treasury encourages recipients to ensure that water, sewer, and broadband projects use strong labor standards, including project labor agreements and community benefits agreements that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local hire provisions, not only to promote effective and efficient delivery of high-quality infrastructure projects but also to support the economic recovery through strong employment opportunities for workers. Using these practices in construction projects may help to ensure a reliable supply of skilled labor that would minimize disruptions, such as those associated with labor disputes or workplace injuries. To provide public transparency on whether projects are using practices that promote on-time and on-budget delivery, Treasury will seek information from recipients on their workforce plans and practices related to water, sewer, and broadband projects undertaken with Fiscal Recovery Funds. Treasury will provide additional guidance and instructions on the reporting requirements at a later date.

You can read more here

Reports of Interest

The California Dept. of Tax and Fee Administration has released data on cannabis sales for the first quarter of 2021, finds “as of May 18, 2021, California’s cannabis excise tax generated $131.9 million in revenue,” “the cultivation tax generated $30.7 million” and “sales tax from cannabis businesses totaled $82.4 million in revenue;” reports “since January 2018, total program revenue to date is $2.38 billion, which includes $1.2 billion in cannabis excise tax, $298.4 million in cultivation tax and $882.7 million in sales tax.”

The California Energy Commission has released its inaugural “Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Assessment,” finds that the state will need “nearly 1.2 million public and shared chargers by 2030 to meet the fueling demands of the 7.5 million passenger plug-in electric vehicles anticipated to be on California roads,” also finds “157,000 chargers will be required by 2030 to support 180,000 medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks and buses also anticipated,” notes that “more than 73,000 public and shared chargers have been installed to date, with additional 123,000 planned by 2025” which “falls short of the state’s goal of 250,000 chargers.”

UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment releases “Envisioning Offshore Wind for California,” finds “California’s coast has 112 gigawatts of technical offshore-wind potential, equivalent to nearly 1.5 times total statewide annual electricity consumption,” however most of the potential sites are in water that is 1000-1300 meters deep, as compared to operational sites off the Atlantic coast that are in water less than 60 meters deep; also finds that developing proposed sites off Morro Bay and Humboldt County under current conditions would require using newer floating platforms and costly subsea cables that would run from Morro Bay to Los Angeles or Long Beach and from Humboldt to San Francisco.

Appointments of Interest by the Governor

As Assistant Secretary for Equity and Environmental Justice at the California Natural Resources Agency: Moises Moreno-Rivera, Sacramento, assistant tribal liaison for the State Water Resources Control Board since 2019.

Reappointed general counsel at the Department of Fish and Wildlife: Wendy Bogdan, Sacramento, has held the position since 2015.

Reappointed executive officer for the Office of Public School Construction at the Department of General Services: Lisa Silverman, Pilot Hill, has held the position since 2012.

As Chief Counsel at the California Department of Water Resources: Thomas Gibson, West Sacramento, assistant chief counsel at California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 2020.

As Chief Engineer of Strategic Delivery at the High-Speed Rail Authority: Christine Inouye, Sacramento, director of engineering since 2019. Salary: $194,412.

As Director of Engineering at the High-Speed Rail Authority: Brian Sutliff, Woodland, deputy director of engineering and assistant vice president at WSP USA since 2017.

To State Water Resources Control Board: Nichole Morgan, Sacramento, assistant deputy director of financial assistance since 2019.

Reappointed to the California Commission on Disability Access: M. Scott Lillibridge, Rocklin, assistant vice president at RICK Engineering Company since 2016.

As chief of staff and policy advisor to chair of California Air Resources Board: Jamie Callahan, Sacramento, deputy cabinet secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2019.

As senior advisor on environmental equity for the California Air Resources Board: Daniela Simunovic, Los Angeles, senior policy director for Better World Group since 2019.


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