CSAC Bulletin Article

Ag, Environment and Natural Resources Bills of Interest

CSAC would like your input on the following bills. Please send any feedback or comments to NCronenwett@counties.org.

AB 2754 (Levine):– As Amended 4/4/18, AB 2754 would clarify that ongoing and routine agricultural activities taking place in the California coastal zone are not considered ‘development’ in accordance with the California Coastal Act. This bill is sponsored by the Farm Bureau.

SB 452 (Glazer): As Amended 4/9/18, this bill would allow for convenience zones to be exempted from having a certified recycling center provided there is another certified recycling center within a mile. It would also apply duties and responsibilities only to dealers making $2,000,000 or more in gross sales in convenience zones that don’t have a recycling center. The bill also makes changes to the handling of fee payments to certified recyclers in unserved convenience zones. The bill would authorize the department, until July 1, 2021, to annually expend money from the fund for specified supplemental handling fee payments to low-volume recycling centers, and would reinstate the authority to appropriate up to $10,000,000 annually for market development payments for empty plastic beverage containers until January 1, 2024 The bill would or purposes of calculating processing payments, require the department, until January 1, 2021, to use the actual cost of recycling that was in effect on December 30, 2015, adjusted as specified. In addition, The bill would require the department to withhold payments for curbside programs and neighborhood drop-off programs and for beverage container recycling and litter cleanup activities in any city, county, or city and county that has restricted or prohibited the siting of a certified recycling center or a supermarket site, respectively, as provided.

Positions on Legislation:

CSAC has taken positions on the following bills.

SB 1260 (Jackson): This bill would seek to improve fire protection in California by enhancing the ability to utilize prescribed burning operations to abate a fire hazard. In addition, the bill includes provisions that enhance training, education and outreach regarding prescribed burns. SB 1260 would also extend the timeframe from 90 to 180 days for Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to review a local government’s draft, or amendment to the safety element of their general plan. It would also require local governments to make a finding upon approval of a subdivision map, stating that it is consistent with regulations adopted by the Board relating to buildings or structures in hazardous fire areas, and would require the local agency to transmit a copy of the findings and maps to the board. CSAC has a support-if-amended position on this bill. The bill has recently been amended and CSCA will be revaluating this positions. Our proposed amendments would retain the timeline for the review of a draft or amendment to the safety element by the Department at 90 days, instead of doubling that timeline to 180 days.

AB 3178 (Rubio): This bill would allow for the consideration of market conditions in a jurisdiction’s compliance with the Integration Waste Management Act. Specifically, this bill would require the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to factor in the lack of available global and domestic markets for recyclable materials in assessing an agency’s “good faith effort” decision making process to comply with our recycling laws. For these reasons, CSAC has a support position on this bill.

AB 2050 (Caballero): This bill sets up a process for failing public water systems that serve less than 10,000 people or less than 3,000 service connections to come into compliance, or be absorbed into a new Small System Water Authority created by the State Water Board and the applicable Local Agency Formation Commission. The new Authority would work to competently operate currently non-compliant public water systems with either contiguous or non-contiguous boundaries. CSAC supports this bill because of recent amendments to allow CSAs and dependent districts to “opt-in” and proactively choose if they would like to be a part of a new authority.

SB 1088 (Dodd): This bill would require the Office of Emergency Services, along with other agencies, to establish standards for utilities to protect against damage from storms, floods, mudslides, wildfires, earthquakes. In addition, the bill would require Investor Owned Utilities (IOU) to file, and the California Public Utilities Commission to publish review, adopt and enforce, safety, reliability and resiliency plans to prevent and mitigate risk from wildfires and other major events that affect the safety and reliability of the electric and gas systems. CSAC has a support position on this bill because resilient infrastructure is a crucial piece in protecting against future disasters.

SB 821 (Jackson): This bill would authorize counties to develop a mechanism to access the contact information of resident accountholders through the records of public utilities, water service, waste, recycling services, or other property-related service providers for the sole purpose of enrolling county residents in a county-operated public emergency warning system. CSAC has a support position on this bill because it would help create accurate contact networks in the event of emergency and the increasing use of personal cell phones means legacy land line emergency notification systems do not provide the protection they once did.

AB 2447 (Reyes): This bill would require additional California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) notices, meetings, and special findings when state and local agencies consider projects involving “subject land uses” in “disadvantaged communities.” CSAC has a joint oppose position with RCRC and UCC on this bill. CSAC has taken this position with other local government partners because the additional noticing and meetings required by this bill add “process,” but do not add value. Counties support transparency and public input for all projects, and recognize that these are especially important for historically vulnerable communities. However, existing law already provides for robust public process, typically vigorously used for projects of the nature addressed in this bill.

SB 998 (Dodd): This bill would require public water systems to have a written and internet website accessible policy on the specified discontinuation of residential service for nonpayment available in English, Spanish, or any other language spoken by at least 10 percent of the people residing in its service area. SB 998 would also prohibit the public water system from shutting off residential service until a payment by a customer has been delinquent for at least 60 days. CSAC and RCRC recently took a support position after the author made amendments to the bill to take out provisions that would have required local health departments to determine that discontinuing residential water service would not pose a grave threat to the health and safety of the residents prior to shutoff under certain circumstances.

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