THIS MONTH IN SACRAMENTO – DECEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER
The Legislature is in recess until January 6. January will be a busy month for any two-year bills as they must clear their house of origin by January 31.
Status Report on ASCE’s other Bills of Interest
AB 48 by O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) Authorizes $15 billion for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, California Community Colleges (CCC), University of California (UC), and California State University (CSU) facilities to be placed on the March 3, 2020 primary ballot. Chaptered – Proposition 13 on the March 2020 ballot. Support
AB 695 by Medina (D – Riverside) Extends the sunset on community college districts’ (CCDs’) authority to enter into design-build public works contracts and adopts the same “skilled and trained workforce” requirements applicable to the design-build authority of state agencies and local governments. The bill contains provisions that allow a contractor under a project labor agreement to be presumed to meet the requirements of using a skilled and trained workforce. Chaptered. Support
SB 127 by Wiener (D – San Francisco) This bill requires more pedestrian and bicycle facilities to be installed on state highways, subject to limitations and exceptions, when Caltrans is working on those highways. Vetoed. OUA
To the Members of the California State Senate: I am returning Senate Bill 127 without my signature. This bill creates a process to require the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to add complete streets elements to certain projects on state highways. I fully support improving facilities to increase walking, biking and accessing public transit. However, this bill creates a prescriptive and costly approach to achieve these objectives. By implementing my Executive Order N-19-19, Caltrans is increasing and accelerating its investments in active transportation where appropriate and feasible. I am committed to holding the department accountable to deliver more alternatives to driving while continuing to maintain our state’s highways and bridges. The new leadership we are putting in place at Caltrans will be key in implementing this vision and approach. Sincerely, Gavin Newsom
New Reports of Interest
Delta Stewardship Council releases 2019 update to report first issued in 2015 titled “State of the Estuary,” It finds that since 2015 tidal marsh restoration is “proceeding at a brisk pace” and “urban water conservation continues to meet mandated benchmarks,” however water flows “continue to be well below levels that could increase and restore ecosystem health” and fisheries in the brackish and freshwater areas of the Delta are in “poor condition.”
As deputy secretary for climate policy and intergovernmental relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency: Lauren Sanchez, Oakland, international policy director at the California Air Resources Board since 2018.
The Legislature adjourned for the year on September 14, at about 3:30 am.
The final day was not without supplemental drama to the usual chaos that surrounds the last day of session. A protester threw a small container of blood from the balcony onto the floor of the Senate Chamber (and a couple of Senators). This caused a three-hour recess and the Senate to move the final hours of the Senate session to a large committee room.
Senate Bill 1 (Atkins) Vetoed
Immediately after the session, Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that he intended to veto Senate Bill 1 (Atkins) only hours after lawmakers passed it in both houses.
SB 1 was characterized as “Trump insurance” by its supporters. It would have enshrined Obama-era versions of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act in California. It encountered stiff opposition from some water agencies for language that would have preserved current versions of water-pumping rules in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect endangered fish against potential Trump administration changes.
Lawmakers passed the bill with healthy margins in both houses on the last night of session after some doubt whether it would be taken up. The bill was a priority for Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, as indicated by its assignment as SB 1.
Newsom said that subjecting the federal water-delivery system to state endangered species protections would jeopardize ongoing talks over water-sharing agreements involving customers of both the state and federal water projects. Newsom defended his opposition to SB 1, calling it “a solution in search of a problem” that would have unnecessarily provoked the state’s water interests. Newsom said he made lawmakers “very clear on [his] concerns” about the bill ahead of the vote and he didn’t read anything into their decision to send him the bill anyway.
He made good on his promise to veto SB 1 on September 27 writing, “While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California’s environmental and worker protections.”
Newsom repeated his earlier comments in his veto message, touting the state’s defensive maneuvers against the Trump administration that now total 60-plus lawsuits. “No other state has fought harder to defeat Trump’s environmental policies, and that will continue to be the case,” he wrote. “While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California’s environmental and worker protections.” You can read his veto here.
Status Report on ASCE’s other Bills of Interest
AB 335 by Garcia, Eduardo (D – Coachella) Authorizes the Imperial County Transportation Commission (ICTC) to evaluate, develop, and implement specific nontransportation programs within Imperial County. CHAPTERED. Support
AB 48 by O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) Authorizes $15 billion for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, California Community Colleges (CCC), University of California (UC), and California State University (CSU) facilities to be placed on the March 3, 2020 primary ballot. ENROLLED. Support
AB 695 by Medina (D – Riverside) Extends the sunset on community college districts’ (CCDs’) authority to enter into design-build public works contracts and adopts the same “skilled and trained workforce” requirements applicable to the design-build authority of state agencies and local governments. The bill contains provisions that allow a contractor under a project labor agreement to be presumed to meet the requirements of using a skilled and trained workforce. ENROLLED. Support
SB 19 by Dodd (D – Napa) This bill would require the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages in order to address significant gaps in information necessary for water management and the conservation of freshwater species. CHAPTERED. Support
SB 127 by Wiener (D – San Francisco) This bill requires more pedestrian and bicycle facilities to be installed on state highways, subject to limitations and exceptions, when Caltrans is working on those highways. ENROLLED. OUA
New Reports of Interest
Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center has released four fact sheets on “ways to improve water management and modernize the system for a more volatile climate;” titles of the briefs are: Climate Change and California’s Water, California’s Water Grid, Dams in California, and Groundwater Recharge.
E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) released a report, “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America,” findings include that “California led the nation in energy-efficient employment with 318,500 jobs…energy efficiency jobs account for 19% of all construction jobs in California” and “Energy Star appliance and efficient lighting firms employ nearly 71,800 Californians.”
As Director of Caltrans: Toks Omishakin, Nashville, Deputy Commissioner for Environment and Planning at the Tennessee Dept. of Transportation since 2011. He was director of Healthy Living Initiatives in the Nashville Mayor’s Office from 2008 to 2011. Omishakin earned a Master of Arts degree in urban and regional planning from Jackson State University. This position requires Senate confirmation.
As Chief Deputy Director of Caltrans: James Davis, Davis, Special Advisor to the Director at Caltrans since 2019. He held multiple positions at the Department of Transportation, including Senate Bill 1 program manager from 2018 to 2019, Bay Area district director in 2018, division chief of project management from 2013 to 2018, division chief of transportation planning from 2016 to 2017, division chief and deputy division chief of engineering services from 2004 to 2013 and multiple transportation engineering positions from 1988 to 2004. This position does not require Senate confirmation.
As Deputy Secretary for communications and strategic planning at the California State Transportation Agency: Garin Casaleggio, Sacramento, Deputy Secretary of communications at the CA Labor and Workforce Development Agency since 2015. He was deputy communications director at the State Controller’s Office from 2003 to 2015 and special advisor to the chief of staff in the Office of Governor Gray Davis from 2000 to 2003. This position does not require Senate confirmation.
As Deputy Secretary and special counsel for water policy at the California Environmental Protection Agency: Kristin Peer, Sacramento, assistant general counsel at Cal/EPA since 2015. She was a deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2010 to 2015, an associate at Miller, Starr, Regalia from 2007 to 2010 and a credit analyst at Union Bank from 2002 to 2004. Peer earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation.
Reappointed as Chief Deputy Secretary for rail and transit at the California State Transportation Agency: Chad Edison, Sacramento, first appointed in 2014.
To the California Transportation Commission: Tamika Butler, Los Angeles, California director of planning and director of equity and inclusion at Toole Design Group since 2017, and principal and owner of Tamika L. Butler Consulting since 2017; Hilary Norton, Los Angeles, executive director of Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST) since 2008.
As Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea policy at the California Natural Resources Agency: Arturo Delgado, Palm Desert, Salton Sea program manager at the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife since 2018.