Ag, Environment and Natural Resources
May 25, 2017
Assembly and Senate Appropriations will take up their respective “suspense files” this week. Bills with a notable fiscal impact on the state go through the suspense file process. The following AENR bills are on the agenda:
AB 509 (Frazier) would create the Tire Recycling Incentive Program to increase tire recycling, support local government infrastructure development, and reduce the illegal dumping of waste tires. CSAC supports AB 509.
AB 920 (Aguiar-Curry) makes changes to the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program and would require evaluation of energy resources to ensure balanced energy portfolios. CSAC supports AB 920.
AB 1120 (Cooper) limits the sale of butane, a flammable solvent that is sometimes used to process cannabis products. The bill would also require sellers to record information about butane sales, with a database to allow tracking of the potentially dangerous substance. CSAC supports AB 1120.
AB 1587 (Levine) would help control the spread of invasive quagga and zebra (dreissenid) mussels. The bill would allow existing grant funding to be awarded to operators of water bodies infested with these musselfs for the purpose of implementing a containment plan, including the use of decontamination stations for boats leaving the infested water body. The bill also sets new requirements for Department of Fish and Wildlife related to accessing waterbodies if invasive mussels are detected. CSAC supports AB 1587.
AB 1608 (Kalra) authorizes the Vibrant Lands Program to be developed by the Department of Conservation. This program would assist local governments with the development and implementation of county and regional plans that integrate the conservation and management of natural and working lands, with goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving other environmental benefits. CSAC supports AB 1608.
SB 58 (McGuire) reverses a change in the “payments in-lieu of taxes” (PILT) statute that made the program permissive rather than required. SB 58 will return the language to read that PILT payments “shall” be made rather than the current “may” be paid. CSAC supports SB 58.
SB 148 (Wiener) will improve cash handling issues associated with cannabis. The bill will allow agreements between the Board of Equalization (BOE) and local governments to collect on behalf of the other under certain agreements, and would allow cannabis-related businesses to make payments by means other than electronic funds transfer (including cash). SB 148 requires the BOE to accept cash payments from cannabis-related businesses, and sets standards for a certain percentage of offices that would accept cash. CSAC supports SB 148.
SB 252 (Dodd) makes changes to the process of well permitting in critically overdrafted basins. Applicants would have to provide some information about the new well and perform actions. Cities and counties would be required to make certain information available to the groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) for the basin where the well is located, and would have to allow for notice and comments including a public hearing. CSAC, along with a coalition of other local government associations, has concerns with this bill.