THIS MONTH IN SACRAMENTO – MAY 2021 NEWSLETTER
March 2021 – Getting back to some normalcy
After the Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed into law a legislation package to provide needed relief to individuals, families, and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship due to COVID-19, the Legislature commence both budget and policy hearings in March. One remaining piece of COVID-19 legislation was the enactment of SB 95 (Skinner). This bill mandates that employers expand supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19-related absences. SB 95, which took effect on March 29, 2021, applies retroactively to applicable leave taken on or after January 1, 2021, and remains in effect until September 30, 2021. Thus, covered employers must provide Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave beginning on March 29, 2021, and covered employees who took qualifying leave between January 1 and March 28 may request retroactive payment for leave taken during that period.
This month we’ll review Senate bills.
SB 22 (Glazer) school facilities: 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, including a project labor agreement (PLA).
SB 44 (Allen) California Environmental Quality Act: Establishes expedited administrative and judicial review of environmental review and approvals granted for “environmental leadership transit projects” that meet specified requirements.
SB 45 (Portantino) would enact the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds for $5,510,000,000 under the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance projects for wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection program.
SB 66 (Allen) would establish an advisory committee, the California Council on the Future of Transportation, to provide recommendations for changes in state policy to ensure that autonomous vehicles enhance the state’s efforts to increase road safety, promote equity, and meet public health and environmental objectives.
SB 83 (Allen) would create the Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Program within the I-Bank to provide low-interest loans to local jurisdictions to purchase coastal properties in their jurisdictions identified as vulnerable coastal property.
SB 223 (Dodd) This bill would apply current law that prohibits an urban and community water system from discontinuing residential water service for nonpayment until payment by a customer has been delinquent for at least 60 days, to a very small community water system, defined as a public water system that supplies water to 200 or fewer service connections used by year-long residents.
SB 230 (Portantino) would require the State Water Resources Control Board to establish, maintain, and direct an ongoing, dedicated program called the Constituents of Emerging Concern Program to assess the state of information and recommend areas for further study on, among other things, the occurrence of constituents of emerging concern (CEC) in drinking water sources and treated drinking water.
SB 273 (Hertzberg) Water quality: municipal wastewater agencies. would authorize a municipal wastewater agency to enter into agreements with entities responsible for stormwater management to manage stormwater and dry weather runoff, to acquire, construct, expand, operate, maintain, and provide facilities for specified purposes relating to managing stormwater and dry weather runoff, and to levy taxes, fees, and charges consistent with the municipal wastewater agency’s existing authority to fund projects undertaken under the bill.
SB 313 (Durazo) California Competes tax credit: refunds. would require a qualified taxpayer who receives a tax refund to reinvest the refund into immobile capital equipment that supports infrastructure improvements, expansion, or developments for media production facilities in the state. The project must include a PLA.
SB 403 (Gonzalez) Drinking water: consolidation. This bill would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation where a water system serving a disadvantaged community is at risk of failing to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water or where a poor neighborhood is substantially reliant on domestic wells that are at risk of failing to provide a good supply of safe drinking water.
SB 475 (Cortese) Transportation planning: sustainable communities strategies. Would require the State Air Resources Board, on or before June 30, 2023, and in coordination with the California Transportation Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development, to issue new guidelines on sustainable communities strategies and require these guidelines to be updated after that at least every four years.
SB 552 (Hertzberg) Drought planning: small water suppliers: nontransient noncommunity water systems. Would require small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools, no later than December 31, 2022, to develop and submit to the Division of Drinking Water, State Water Resources Control Board an emergency response plan that includes specified drought-planning elements.
SB 559 (Hurtado) Department of Water Resources: water conveyance systems: would establish the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Fund in the State Treasury to be administered by the Department of Water Resources; the money would be used for subsidence repair costs, including environmental planning, permitting, design, and construction, and necessary road and bridge upgrades required to accommodate capacity improvements.
SB 580 (Hueso) Department of Transportation: highways and roads: recycled plastics study and specifications. Would authorize Caltrans to conduct a study to assess the feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and life-cycle environmental benefits of including recycled plastics in asphalt used as a paving material in the construction, maintenance, or rehabilitation of a highway or road.
SB 626 (Dodd) Department of Water Resources: Procurement Methods. Would require the Department of Water Resources, on all projects delivered by the department, to use department employees or consultants under contract with the department to perform all project design and engineering services related to design and construction inspection services required for the CM/GC method of construction.
SB 640 (Becker) Transportation financing: jointly proposed projects. This bill would authorize cities and counties to jointly submit to the California Transportation Commission a list of proposed projects funded by the cities and counties’ apportionments of Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account funds.
SB 671 (Gonzalez) Transportation: Clean Freight Corridor Efficiency Assessment. Would establish the Clean Freight Corridor Efficiency Program, to be jointly administered by the California Transportation Commission and State Air Resources Board, in coordination with other state entities.
SB 674 (Durazo) Public Contracts: workforce development: transportation-related contracts. Would require public agencies to develop a program, known as the California Jobs Plan Program, to meet specified objectives, including, as a component of applications for covered public contracts, the creation of a form that states the minimum numbers of proposed jobs that are projected to be retained and created if the applicant wins the covered public contract, and offered wages, benefits, and investment in training.
SB 683 (Ochoa Bogh) Water quality: regional municipal separate storm sewer system permits. Would require, to the extent permitted by federal law, a regional board that issues a separate municipal storm sewer system permit under the federal national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit program to a region rather than to an individual discharger to include specified elements in the permit and to meet and collaborate with the permittees before or during the permit writing process.
SB 776 (Gonzalez) Safe drinking water and water quality. Current law provides that the California Safe Drinking Water Act does not apply to small state water systems, except as specified. This bill would expand the application of the act to small state water systems.
SCR 20 (Ochoa Bogh) designates April 4, 2021, to April 10, 2021, inclusive, as Women and Girls in STEM Week and would encourage all citizens and community organizations to support the observance of California’s Women and Girls in STEM Week by encouraging and celebrating women in the STEM fields.
Reports of Interest
Caltrans has released its “California Transportation Plan 2050,” which outlines policies for achieving the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation to 80 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2050.
State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Quality has released a staff report with recommendations on adapting the water rights permitting process to account for climate change. Suggestions include: “leverage existing climate change data” in issuing permits for analyses of water available for development projects, “prepare for and capitalize on capturing flood flows and storing them underground,” and “plan for droughts.”
Air Resources Board, Public Utilities Commission, and Energy Commission released “SB 100 Joint Agency Report: Charting a path to a 100% Clean Energy Future,” findings include that to achieve SB 100’s goal of fulfilling 100% of the state’s electrical demand with renewable and zero-carbon energy sources by 2045 “California will need to roughly triple its current electricity grid capacity” and it “may need to build up to 6 gigawatts of new renewable and storage resources annually,” while in comparison state has built an average of 1.3 gigawatts annually over the last ten years.
Legislative Analyst’s Office has released “Department of Toxic Substance Control Budget Analysis,” which recommends approving the Governor’s proposal to establish a Board of Environmental Safety to “improve transparency and promote greater accountability” of DTSC; also suggests the Legislature consider a tax increase for the Toxic Substance Control Account to “keep the fund solvent and expand cleanup-related activities.”
Appointments of Interest by the Governor
To the California Water Commission: Alexandre Makler (reappointed), Berkeley, senior vice president, West Region at Calpine Corporation since 2014; Jose Solorio, Santa Ana, government affairs officer at Moulton Niguel Water District since 2018.
To the California Transportation Commission: Darnell Grigsby, Oakland, executive director at TransForm since 2020; Joseph Tavaglione (reappointed), Riverside, president at Tavaglione Construction and Development since 1962.
Reappointed to the State Water Resources Control Board: E. Joaquin Esquivel, Sacramento, has served since 2017 and serves as Chair.