CSAC Bulletin Article

Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources End of Session Watch Bills

July 30, 2020

The CSAC AENR team will be monitoring the following bills during the last month of session and has a support position on the following two bills which have been set for hearing.

AB 3074 (Friedman): CSAC has a support position on this bill which would improve resistance against ember ignitions for structures in locally designated Very High Fire Severity Zones. Specially, this bill would require the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to promulgate regulations and guidance, in consultation with Cal Fire, for the zero to five foot range around structures in high fire threat areas and would require local agencies to provide notification to residents that could be impacted by these improved defensible space requirements. The bill is currently set for hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on August 8.

AB 3164 (Friedman): CSAC has a support position on this bill which would require Cal Fire to create a public wildfire risk model using information from the State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and Local Responsibility Areas (LRA). The bill also creates an advisory committee, which would include representatives from local government, to help develop this public model. The bill is also set for hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on August 8.

CSAC AENR is also closely monitoring the following three bills which have not yet been set for hearing.

AB 2167 (Daly) and SB 292 (Rubio): This package of bills would create an Insurance Market Action Plan (IMAP) program that would allow the Insurance Commissioner to approve reasonable rates in high fire threat counties based on insurer solvency, mitigation efforts, and other factors. Under the language of this proposed legislation, insurers may propose rates which “shall not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, and shall be actuarially sound so that premiums are adequate to cover expected losses, expenses, and taxes, and shall reflect investment income of the insurer.” Upon the Commissioner’s approval of proposed IMAP rates, insurers would be required to offer new and renewal residential property insurance policies in a set of IMAP counties until the insurer achieves a market penetration rate in those IMAP counties that is no lower than 85 percent of its statewide market penetration rate. Currently, language in AB 2167 (Daly) and SB 292 (Rubio) requires that both pieces of legislation must adopted and signed to become law. AB 2167 is expected to be heard in Senate Insurance Committee on August 4, while SB 292 is expected to be heard in Assembly Governmental Organization on August 3.  CSAC distributed a more detailed analysis and request for feedback on these bills in the July 23 bulletin.

AB 2178 (Levine): CSAC has a support position on this bill which would allow state and local governments to declare Public Safety Power Shutoff de-energizations (PSPS) as a state of emergency. This change to current law would help counties prepare for and mitigate the impacts of PSPS events and would provide an opportunity for cost recovery from federal and state disaster funds. This bill has not been set for hearing yet and there is little time ahead of the August 31 deadline. CSAC staff urges counties to ask their contract lobbyists to submit support letters to the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to encourage the setting of this bill. Please CC Catherine Freeman and Nick Cronenwett if your county submits a support letter.

SB 474 (Stern): CSAC has an oppose position on this bill which would prevent development of residential, commercial, retail, and industrial projects in the Very High Fire Severity Zones (VHFSZ) and the State Fire Responsibility Area (SRA). If adopted, this measure would immediately end community growth and economic development in over 31 million acres across 56 counties in California. Despite opposition to this specific proposal, CSAC remains a committed partner in the statewide effort to improve land use policies, fire safety measures, disaster response, and housing availability in all areas of the state. The bill is currently located in Assembly Local Government.

AB 1107 (Chiu): This bill would require each county to translate all emergency-related proclamations, communications, materials, and announcements made by the county related to a duly proclaimed state of emergency or a local emergency duly proclaimed by the county into all languages spoken by 1,000 or more of the county’s residents. Proclamation, communications, materials, and announcement are defined in the bill to include information posted or broadcasted on or through an internet website of the county, newspaper, social media platform, television, or radio. The bill was recently referred to the Senate Governmental Organization Committee and hasn’t been set for hearing yet.

If you have any questions on these measures or other measures in the AENR Policy area, please feel free to email cfreeman@counties.org and ncronenwett@counties.org.

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