AENR 2023 Bill Highlights & A Request for Feedback
March 16, 2023
The first of a two-year legislative session is underway with the highest number of bills introduced in over a decade. As expected of the first year, many bills are currently ‘Spot Bills’, a term used for placeholder bills that contain non-substantive language and will later be amended with language fully crafted. We will keep you updated as the spot bills, and others, are amended in ways that impact counties.
The following are bills that the Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Policy Committee is actively taking a position on:
CSAC is co-sponsoring SB 642 (Cortese) which authorizes county counsels to bring enforcement actions against entities violating certain state laws around transportation/generation/disposal of hazardous materials. Currently, County Counsels have some authority in this area, but due to some loopholes only city attorneys, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General may address the full set of laws. This bill is intended to give counties another tool to address hazardous materials.
CSAC will be supporting AB 345 (Wilson) which will provide the Department of Water Resources (DWR) with discretionary authority to utilize an advanced payment option when funding local projects that restore vital habitat and/or improve flood protection. AB 345 limits any single advanced payment to no more than 25% of the total project cost. Further, funds will not be advanced by DWR until they are needed by the local agency partner and, the authority does not require DWR to fund any particular project.
CSAC is currently soliciting feedback from counties on the bills listed below affecting animal services. Please send your feedback to Amber Rossow at email@example.com.
Under AB 781 a county would be required to update its emergency plan by July 1, 2024, to designate emergency shelters that are able to accommodate pets during a disaster. The bill would also require that whenever a city or county establishes an emergency shelter, warming, or cooling center it also establishes one that accommodates pets. In addition, local governments would be required to provide information on pet emergency preparedness and co-shelter facilities on their website. CSAC is working with the sponsors of this bill work out amendments to reduce the burden on counties.
AB 240 would establish the California Spay-Neuter Fund to finance low-cost spay-neuter operations throughout the state of California. The Fund would be financed through a $200 annual charge to pet food manufacturers for each dog and/or cat food label they have on file with the State Department of Public Health.
The fund will be managed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which will distribute the money through competitive grants and/or set allocations. “Eligible partners” will include public animal shelters, private animal shelters with public contracts, and nonprofits for whom spay-neuter is a primary activity. Grant recipients must primarily use any money they receive for spay-neuter services. They will also be required to report annually on how they used the funds and the outcomes that use produced.