2021 Annual Meeting Policy Committee Recaps
December 16, 2021
The 2021 CSAC Annual Meeting was held in Monterey County from November 29 through December 3. More than 600 registrants attended the conference, engaging with County Supervisors, policy stakeholders, and CSAC staff. All of CSAC’s policy committees met in person to hear from key policy makers and influencers and update priorities for the 2022 legislative session. Please find a brief recap of each policy committee meeting below.
If you have any questions, please contact CSAC staff directly.
Administration of Justice
The CSAC Administration of Justice (AOJ) Policy Committee met on Thursday, December 2. The agenda topics for the meeting included: a presentation on the AB 372 (2018) Batterer’s Intervention Program pilot, a discussion on the Department of State Hospitals Felony Incompetent to Stand Trial Workgroup, and a presentation, vote, and approval of the CSAC AOJ 2022 legislative priorities.
The Committee heard from Program Director with the CSAC Support Hub for Criminal Justice Programing Ryan Souza on the AB 372 Domestic Violence pilot implementation, changes, initial findings, and future activities being championed by CSAC and the Support Hub for Criminal Justice Programming.
In addition, the Committee heard from the new AOJ Legislative Representative Ryan Morimune about the recently formed Department of State Hospitals Felony Incompetent to Stand Trial Workgroup, CSAC’s participation and the workgroup’s final report, which included recommendations. There was a robust conversation with regards to the final recommendations and the role that CSAC and Counties will play in future conversations with all stakeholders.
Lastly, CSAC staff provided Committee members and attendees with a brief overview of the upcoming 2022 legislative session priorities, which begins in January, and outreach efforts of 2021 advocacy. The following priorities were discussed and approved by the committee:
- Felony Incompetent to Stand Trial
- Criminal Justice Fines and Fees
- Juvenile Justice Realignment
Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources
The CSAC Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources (AENR) Policy Committee met on Tuesday, November 30. Agenda topics included: A panel on wildfire in the modern era; a special presentation on regenerative, organic farming; and a review of 2021 legislative work along with the adoption of priorities for 2022.
Shifting the Paradigm: Wildfire in the Modern Era. The AENR Committee kicked off the CSAC conference on Tuesday morning with an exceptional panel featuring Assembly Member Jim Wood, former CalFIRE Director Ken Pimlott, and UC Extension forestry lead Yana Yalachovic. Speakers unveiled a proposal drafted at the Brown Ranch in Colusa County that proposes to change how we talk about, and prepare for, wildfire in the modern era.
The Changing Face of Agriculture in California: Is Regenerative, Organic Farming a “Solution.” The Committee meeting continued with a special presentation from Del Norte County farmer Blake Alexandre, owner of Alexandre Family Farms, the first-certified regenerative organic dairy in California. The presentation focused on how agriculture has changed in the state and what can be done to ensure the continuation of this vital industry.
Year in Review and Priorities Adoption. After a presentation on the Year in Review from CSAC staff, the Committee adopted the following AENR priorities for 2022:
- Addressing wildfire in the modern age
- Drought preparedness
- Organic waste recycling implementation
- Comprehensive recycling and source reduction
- Statewide flooding and flood infrastructure
- Illegal cannabis
Government Finance and Administration
The CSAC Government Finance & Administration (GFA) Policy Committee met on Thursday, December 2. In addition to adopting the 2022 GFA priorities, listed below, the Committee approved new principles to direct CSAC’s advocacy on broadband and open meetings. The bulk of the meeting involved a robust conversation on best practices and learned experiences for conducting safe and open meetings, where supervisors discussed both frustrations with how those meetings are going in their communities and outdated legal requirements, as well as gratitude for most of the increase in public comment made possible by technology.
2022 GFA Priorities. The Committee approved the following GFA priorities for 2022:
- Protect infrastructure funding for broadband, expand affordability, and improve digital literacy.
- Lead legislative efforts to modernize the Brown Act and foster public meetings that are safe, welcoming, and productive.
- Resist further expansion of workers’ compensation presumptions that lack data-driven evidence.
- Educate and engage on county authority for contracting-out services
Principles for Broadband and Open Meeting Advocacy. The Committee approved six principles to direct CSAC’s advocacy on legislation related to broadband. These principles include ensuring affordability, investing in digital literacy, preserving funding for the statewide open-access middle mile network, and promoting inclusion of county input into last-mile locations.
The Committee also approved five principles to guide the Association’s advocacy on state policies related to open meetings. These principles focus on updating open meeting laws to meet the needs and challenges of the modern day while preserving the public’s right to access public meetings and scrutinize the actions of elected officials. In addition to ensuring public meetings are safe, accessible, and welcoming environments for the public, state law should allow counties to design local rules for the safe and efficient use of remote meeting options by local officials and the public in order to promote greater participation, reduce travel barriers, and increase equity and inclusion.
Health and Human Services
The CSAC Health and Human Services (HHS) Policy Committee met on Tuesday, November 30. HHS Committee Chair and Inyo County Supervisor Jeff Griffiths led the meeting, which included two panel presentations, a federal update, and an action item on 2022 HHS priorities.
The meeting started with a panel discussion on the role that state agencies have in supporting counties working towards more positive outcomes for foster youth, particularly those youth with higher needs. Speakers from the California Health and Human Services Agency, California Department of Social Services, County Welfare Directors Association of California, and County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California described the key federal and state initiatives in this area and discussed challenges and strategies both the state and county departments are using to ensure children and youth thrive.
The second panel featured the Executive Directors of the County Health Executives Association of California and the Health Officers Association of California, who informed the Committee on the continued advocacy to adequately fund public health departments. They also detailed the challenges of retaining the current public health workforce, as well as recruiting new public health workers into local government.
CSAC’s federal lobbyist then provided the Committee with an update about the health and human services provisions in the Build Back Better Act that is under consideration by Congress. A few of those investments include: increased funding for Adult Protective Services, Medicaid coverage for incarcerated individuals 30 days prior to their release, and an extension of the increased federal match for Medicaid and foster care through September 2022.
Finally, the Committee approved the following HHS priorities for 2022:
- County Pandemic Response and Recovery: Securing the resources, flexibility, workforce, and federal and state assistance to maintain local ongoing coronavirus response efforts.
- Behavioral Health Funding:Focusing on investments to address underlying behavioral health shortfalls while assessing the expanding roles and responsibilities placed on county behavioral health departments. Also address significant workforce issues.
- Conservatorship Issues:Advancing county needs while assessing the resources needed for the current and potential role conservators have in a number of high ranking county priorities, including homelessness and behavioral health, and the Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST) backlog.
- Aging Issues: Engaging in a number of opportunities advanced by the Master Plan for Aging including the initiative related to the local structure of aging programs and services.
- In-Home Supportive Services:Prioritizing and protecting the fiscal sustainability of the IHSS program including engaging on IHSS collective bargaining issues and partnering on implementation of recent budget provisions.
- Child Welfare/Foster Care: Advocating for continued state resources and the successful implementation of federal and state initiatives needed to promote positive outcomes for children, youth and families.
Housing, Land Use and Transportation
The Housing, Land Use and Transportation (HLT) Policy Committee met on Wednesday, December 1. The meeting included an overview of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and upcoming opportunities for county transportation projects. CSAC’s federal representative Joe Krahn provided an overview of the key transportation components of the bill.
Placer County’s Engineering Manager and Road Superintendent Matt Randall shared information on the results of a study conducted jointly by CSAC and the League of California Cities on local transportation funding needs across the state, including new tools to analyze and communicate local bridge funding needs. Additionally, HLT’s Legislative Representative Chris Lee discussed next steps for advocacy efforts to ensure that counties receive a fair share of IIJA transportation funding.
The meeting also included a small panel discussion on the future of the gas tax and California transportation revenue trends. Professor Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute Center on Transportation Finance at San Jose State University, and Lauren Prehoda, the Road Charge Program Manager of the California Department of Transportation, participated in this discussion. Presentation slides and meeting materials are available online.
Finally, the Committee voted to approve the following HLT priorities for 2022:
- Implementing federal transportation reauthorization
- Planning reform efforts and affordable housing funding
- Preparing for the future of transportation
- Protecting and advancing county flexibility in delivering public works projects
- Advocating for county priorities in renegotiated gaming compacts