Bills of Interest
March 25, 2016
AB 2162 (Chu) – Request for Comments
As Introduced February 17, 2016
AB 2162, by Assembly Member Chu, would create the Oak Woodlands Protection Act, which would prohibit a person from removing from an oak woodland, specified oak trees, unless an oak removal plan and oak removal permit application for the tree removal has been submitted to and approved by the Director of Fish and Wildlife. This bill would require the Fish and Game Commission to adopt regulations to implement the act and also establish an oak removal permit application fee, which would go towards paying the total costs incurred by the department in administering and enforcing the act. This bill has been referred to the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
Public Utilities Commission
SB 512 (Leno) – Request for Comments
As Amended January 4, 201
SB 512, by Senator Leno, would propose a suite of reforms of the operations and governance of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), including requiring the CPUC to hold no less than six sessions per year in Sacramento, expand the information required of the CPUC in its annual report and workplan to the Legislature and Governor, require specific information on its website, apply the Code of Ethics from the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to administrative law judges (ALJs), and others. According to supporters of the bill, SB 512 would improve the agency’s efforts on public engagement by requiring specified information on the website and requiring the agency to seek out those who are likely affected by potential proceedings and actions. This bill also requires all public versions of documents related to proceedings are included in the docket card, which lists all documents for a given proceeding. This bill is currently being held at the Assembly Desk awaiting committee assignment.
Payment in Lieu of Taxes
SB 1188 (McGuire)
Support As Introduced February 18, 2016
SB 1188, by Senator McGuire, would reverse a change in the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) statue that was made by the Department of Finance last year making the program permissive rather than required. As you may know, The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) operates wildlife management areas throughout the state. Existing law (Fish and Game Code §1504) requires DFW to compensate counties for loss property taxes and assessments as a result of the establishment of a wildlife management area. These “payments in-lieu of taxes” are equal to the county taxes levied upon the property at the time the state acquired the property plus any assessments levied upon the property by any irrigation, drainage, or reclamation district. Last year was the first year counties have received PILT payments in twelve years. The state still owes approximately $9million in back PILT payments to counties.
SB 1262 (Pavley) – Request Comments
As Introduced February 18, 2016
SB 1262, by Senator Fran Pavley, would require a cities or counties to identify and provide specified information regarding water supply for projects that are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SB 1262 would also amend the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act to provide that hauled water or groundwater from a probationary basin are not sources of water for the purposes of a water supply assessment. This bill would require additional information to be provided in the water supply assessment if a proposed project’s water supply includes groundwater. Lastly, this measure would amend the Subdivision Map Act’s definition of sufficient water supply to include additional factors relating to a proposed subdivision that relies in whole or in part on groundwater. SB 1262 is scheduled to be heard before the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on Tuesday, March 29.
Water/Waste Water Funding
AB 1588 (Mathis/Alejo) – Request Comments
As Amended March 16, 2016
AB 1588, by Assembly Member Devon Mathis and Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would require the State Water Resources Control Board to establish a program to provide funding to counties to award low-interest loans and grants to eligible applicants for purposes relating to drinking water and wastewater treatment. Under the provisions of this bill, counties would be responsible for administering the loans and grants however the bill would allow the county to enter into a contract with a private financial institution to provide loans consistent with the purposes of the bill’s provisions. This measure is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday, March 29.
Twenty-One Counties Awarded Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grants
This week, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced it is awarding 21 counties a total of $6.7 million in Proposition 1 grants to help with sustainable groundwater planning. The awards were made to counties with high and medium priority groundwater basins, some of which are in critical over-draft. DWR gave priority to proposals that will benefit disadvantaged communities, address critically over-drafted basins, address basins exhibiting stressed conditions, and proposals to enact ordinances to address groundwater sustainability.
The DWR announcement cites examples of how a few of the counties are planning to use the grant funding. For example, Colusa County plans to use the funding to advance groundwater sustainability through policy and technical refinement; Mendocino County intends to use the funds for the initial groundwater sustainability plan development; and the Kings County plans to develop a groundwater model for its critically over-drafted groundwater basin.
For more detailed information from the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program and a map identifying the allocated awards please visit www.water.ca.gov/irwm/grants/sgwp/solicitation.cfm.