September 2020 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate


Governor Gavin Newsom released a final version of his Water Resilience Portfolio. The Administration’s blueprint is intended to ensure California can cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater and other challenges. The portfolio outlines 142 state actions to help build a climate-resilient water system in the face of climate change. The actions tie directly to Administration efforts to carry out recent laws regarding safe and affordable drinking water, groundwater sustainability and water-use efficiency. State agencies are expected to track and share progress on portfolio implementation with an annual report and stakeholder gathering. For more information, visit


Legislation. Update on bills that are moving.

AB 310 (Santiago D-Los Angeles) [Gut and amend] Would, among other things, establish the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank Commission and place the I-Bank under the supervision of the commission. The bill would require that the commission be comprised of the Governor, the Treasurer, the Controller, or their designees. The bill would require the commission to appoint members of the bank board, as specified. The bill would eliminate the I-Bank Fund spending limit with respect to educational facilities, environmental mitigation measures, and parks and recreational facilities. Senate Governance and Finance Committee

AB 2285 (Committee on Transportation) Transportation. Makes various non-controversial changes to transportation-related statutes. Specifically, this bill: 1) Extends the requirement for a person driving a vehicle to slow down and move over for certain stationary vehicles displaying flashing amber or emergency lights on the freeway to also apply on local streets and roads; 2) Extends the pilot program for alternative license plates and vehicle registrations issued by the DMV until January 1, 2023; 3) Continuously appropriates interest earnings derived from revenues deposited in the RMRA to Caltrans for maintenance of the state highway system or purposes of the SHOPP; 4)Extends by one year, until January 1, 2022, the requirement that CARB dedicates 20% of California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (Clean Truck Program) to support early commercial deployment of existing zero- and near-zero-emission heavy-duty trucks. Senate Transportation Committee

AB 2800 (Quirk D-Hayward) Climate change: infrastructure planning. Existing law requires the Natural Resources Agency to update its climate adaptation strategy, known as the Safeguarding California Plan by July 1, 2017, and every three years after that, by coordinating adaptation activities among lead state agencies in each sector. This bill eliminates the sunset on the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group. Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee. ASCE position: Support

AB 2932 (O’Donnell D-Long Beach) Allows the City of Long Beach to use the design-build contracting process to award contracts for curb ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Senate Consent Calendar.

AB 3005 (Rivas, Robert D-Hollister) Expedites permitting and contracting requirements in order to facilitate the replacement of the Leroy Anderson Dam and Reservoir (Anderson Dam). Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee

SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego) Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025; and makes housing projects that meet certain requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. Assembly Natural Resources


CEQA Statutory Exemptions

Three bills were “gutted and amended” to create new CEQA statutory exemptions.

SB 55 (Jackson D-Santa Barbara) until January 1, 2025, would exempt from the requirements of CEQA emergency shelters or supportive housing projects meeting certain requirements. The bill would require an agency that determines that an emergency shelter or supportive housing project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to these provisions to file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research.

SB 288 (Wiener D-San Francisco) would provide a CEQA exemption to sustainable transportation projects — public transportation, bike safety, and pedestrian projects.

SB 974 (Hurtado D-Sanger) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells.


New Reports of Interest

CALPIRG Education Fund released an updated “interactive map” of results reported by schools from tests of lead found in their drinking fountains, finds “more than 2,100 school drinking fountains tested positive for lead at 1,300 schools in the state over the past three years,” also finds “nearly 18 percent of all California schools required to test have still not reported results.”

The California Transit Assn. has released “Transit is Essential: Recommendations for the Future of Transit,” finds transit agencies “are facing and existential threat that jeopardizes the economic, social and physical well-being of the communities in which they operate,” recommendations include: “direct riders to wear face coverings; support installation of protective barriers for operators where feasible… provide emergency funding to transit agencies.”

Legislative Analyst’s Office has released its “Supplemental Report of the 2020-21 Budget Act,” which outlines “statements of legislative intent that were adopted during deliberations on the 2020-21 budget package,” including California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s “Prison Infrastructure Improvement Strategy,” in which by January 10, 2022, the department “shall submit to the budget committees of each house and the Legislative Analyst’s Office a report containing an assessment of all special repair/deferred maintenance projects estimated to cost over $5 million and all major capital outlay projects that are likely to be needed over the next ten years or more.”


Appointments of Interest

By Governor:

To North Coast Regional Water Quality Control BoardShaunna McCovey, McKinleyville, director of natural resources and governmental affairs for Resighini Rancheria since 2020.



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