CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Policy Committees Meet at the 2023 Legislative Conference

April 14, 2023

Supervisors and county staff throughout the state convened in Sacramento County for the 2023 CSAC Legislative Conference to engage, empower and elevate our collective county voice.

CSAC’s five policy committees – AOJ, AENR, GFA, HHS and HLT – held important discussions to help steer the Association’s policy and direction. Below is a recap from each policy committees’ meeting.

All meeting materials, including agenda packets and presentations, are available on the 2023 Legislative Conference page.

Administration of Justice

The CSAC Administration of Justice (AOJ) Policy Committee met Wednesday morning as part of CSAC’s Annual Legislative Conference. The AOJ meeting included a presentation on Sacramento County’s Jail Diversion Treatment and Resource Center (JDTRC), as well as a presentation from the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC). 

For the first presentation, the Probation Chief Deputy of Adult Community Corrections; Assistant Public Defender; Division Manager, Behavioral Health Services-Mental Health Services; and IT Business Systems Analyst all from Sacramento County joined us where they discussed the funding and development of the center, successes, challenges, future expansion efforts for the JDTRC, the larger benefits it has on public safety, and takeaways for other counties to embark on similar efforts.  Most importantly, the work in Sacramento highlights the importance of cross-county department collaboration.      

Second, the committee heard from the Deputy Director of Corrections Planning and Grant Programs at the BSCC. There are currently hundreds of millions of dollars in grants available to counites through the BSCC and the AOJ committee received an overview of the existing and upcoming grants, details on the process for applying, and opportunities for individuals to become a member of the various executive steering committees, which review and score grant applications.

Lastly, the meeting concluded with CSAC staff providing a summary of the current legislative session, including discussion of notable bills and current budget advocacy efforts.

Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources

The Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources (AENR) Policy Committee met Wednesday morning as part of CSAC’s Annual Legislative Conference. The AENR meeting included a presentation from Acting State Fire Marshal Daniel Berlant discussing the current effort to update State and Local Fire and next steps for counties as we move into the legislatively mandated local fire map process maps.

Second, the committee heard a presentation from Dr. Caitlin Peterson from the Public Policy Institute of California on their perspective on water, economics, and agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley and answered questions on groundwater recharge and the connection between forest management and water supply.

Lastly, the meeting concluded with CSAC staff providing a summary of high priority legislative issues, including water, bonds, cannabis, and recycling issues, and a Supervisor roundtable.

Government Finance & Administration

During the 2023 CSAC Legislative Conference, the Government Finance and Administration Policy Committee had a robust panel discussion covering the Roles and Responsibilities of County Elections Offices. The panelists included Assemblymember Gail Pellerin (District 28), Supervisor Angelo Curro (San Benito County), and Steven Bennett, (Regional Manager, Dominion Voting Systems), moderated by GFA Chair Amy Shuklian (Tulare County).

The panel discussed some very topical issues against the backdrop of the 2024 election. These included:

  • A discussion on what California has done to remove barriers in voting and make voting more accessible;
  • How do we improve voter confidence with the voting system;
  • A discussion related to the confusion of party registration in the context of the upcoming Presidential Primary Election; and
  • A discussion of elections bills to look out for in the 2023 Legislative Session.

In addition, Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund and Charles Gardiner from the Catalyst Group discussed efforts to enroll California county households in the Affordable Connectivity Program (PowerPoint linked: here). This federally funded program helps families connect to the Internet from home by providing a monthly benefit to help pay for an Internet Service Plan and is key to helping bridge the digital divide.

Finally, the policy committee concluded with a brief update from Kalyn Dean and Brian Cote on a few important measures that are currently working their way through the legislative process, specifically two Brown Act bills that CSAC is cosponsoring – AB 557 by Assemblymember Hart, AB 817 by Assemblymember Pacheco, and AB 452 by Assemblymember Addis – that CSAC is opposed to.

Health & Human Services

Earlier this week, the CSAC Health and Human Services Policy Committee convened in Sacramento during the 2023 CSAC Legislative Conference. Chaired by Supervisor Zach Friend (Santa Cruz County), with Co-Chair Supervisors Belia Ramos (Napa County) and Doug Chaffee (Orange County), the agenda included a range of topics including the Legislature’s budget priorities, CARE Act implementation, planning for an aging population, and 211 California.

The Committee first heard from State Senator Caroline Menjivar, who is the Chair of Senate Budget Subcommittee 3 on Health and Human Services. Senator Menjivar highlighted some of her budget priorities this year, which include preserving critical investments in childcare, health and social services workforce investments, and other critical social safety net programs.

The bulk of the meeting included a panel of state agency and department staff, who provided an update on implementation of the CARE Act. The California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS), Judicial Council, and Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) shared an overview of where the state is on coordination efforts, training and technical assistance, and funding as Cohort 1 counties ramp up for October implementation. 

The Committee also heard from the Department of Aging Director Susan DeMarois and Mariposa County Supervisor Rosemarie Smallcombe on the CA 2030 Steering Committee and upcoming opportunities for counties to engage in statewide planning for a future ready California for all ages. Lastly, the Committee heard from the new Executive Director and CEO of 211 California, Alana Hitchcock, who shared about the current efforts to expand and fund the state’s 211 network.

The meeting packet and presentations are available on the 2023 CSAC Legislative Conference website. The meeting materials include an update on some of the key legislative and budget items the CSAC HHS staff are engaged on this year.

Housing, Land Use & Transportation

The CSAC Housing, Land Use and Transportation (HLT) Policy Committee met Wednesday, April 12 during the CSAC Legislative Conference. The agenda topics for the meeting included: a presentation from the California Housing and Community Development (HCD) on their efforts to support affordable housing construction, a panel discussion on housing infrastructure needs, a presentation on Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) and an update from CSAC staff on legislation of interest to counties.

The committee heard from Dori Ganetsos, a Senior Specialist working on Special Projects at HCD, on how the department is enabling the construction of affordable housing.

Next, the committee heard from James Corless, Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Todd Smith, the Sacramento County Planning Director and Shawna Purvines, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Placer County, who spoke about the creation of the region’s “Green Means Go” program and addressing California’s housing infrastructure needs.

For the next presentation, the committee heard from Peter Ragsdale, the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin (HACSJ) and his experience with the Housing Choice Voucher (HVC) Program.

Lastly, CSAC staff provided the committee members and attendees with a legislative update, which included the following legislation:

  • AB 7 (Friedman) Transportation: project selection processes. The bill would require, on and after January 1, 2025, the project selection process for each transportation project that would be funded, at least partially, from specified funding sources, including: The State Highway Account (SHA), The Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (RMRA), a local transportation fund established by a county,  The Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Fund of 2006 (Proposition 1B), The Highway Users Tax Account (HUTA); and The Trade Corridor Enhancement Account (TCEA), to incorporate principles from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), including incorporating safety, addressing environmental impacts, complying with ADA, prioritizing infrastructure that is more resilient to a changing climate, reconnecting communities and reflecting the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in the planning, project selection and design, among following other principles in the project selection process. CSAC does not have a position on this bill.
  • AB 309 (Lee) The Social Housing Act. The bill would establish the intent to create the California Housing Authority, an independent state agency to ensure social housing developments are produced. It would have the ability to construct housing and lease it to a mix of household income ranges through both an ownership and rental model. The Authority would ensure rent and mortgage payments are affordable to residents at no more than 30% of their monthly income. CSAC does not have a position on this bill.
  • AB 400 (Rubio) Local agency design-build projects: authorization. This is CSAC’s sponsored bill that would extend the sunset date in existing law which allows counties to continue using the design-build procurement process. The Design-Build method is a much more efficient and flexible procurement method rather than the traditional Design-Bid-Build method. In short, the Design-Build method is an approach to delivering public works projects in which both the design and construction of a project are procured from a single entity, this allows for a quicker and more cost-effective way to build certain public works projects. Current law contains a sunset date of January 1st, 2025. This bill would allow counties to continue using this procurement method.
  • AB 68 (Ward) Land use: streamlined housing approvals: density, subdivision, and utility approvals. The bill proposes to strip local governments of their land-use authority by permanently prohibiting all new housing construction in counties that the bill claims are not climate smart parcels. CSAC is opposed to this bill.  
  • AB 1504 (McCarty) Planning and zoning: adoption of regulations: electric vehicle charging stations. The bill would require counties to apply the same requirements when approving EV charging stations in the public right of way as they are currently approved through building permits. CSAC does not have a position on this bill.
  • SB 406 (Cortese) California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: financial assistance: housing. The bill promotes affordable housing development without circumventing environmental review by extending to local governments an existing law that makes State financial assistance for affordable housing projects—but not the projects themselves—exempt from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review. CSAC is in support of this bill.
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