Federal Issues Update
PILT, SCAAP, FAA and Water
Several members of the House – led by Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), Dan Benishek (R-MI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) – have been circulating a Dear Colleague letter on the Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program. A similar letter – led by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) – is also making the rounds in the Senate. Specifically, the letters urge House and Senate leaders to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to secure full funding for the program in fiscal year 2017 and beyond.
CSAC strongly supports the House and Senate PILT letters and has been urging members of the California congressional delegation to sign on.
State Criminal Alien Assistance Program
This week, Representatives Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) began circulating a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter to House appropriators on funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP). The letter requests adequate SCAAP resources in fiscal year 2017 at a level appropriate to effectively execute the program’s purpose.
CSAC is urging members of the California congressional delegation to sign onto the correspondence. The association also is requesting that members seek $950 million for SCAAP in fiscal year 2017, which represents the program’s previously authorized funding level.
FAA Reauthorization Bill Stalls; Stopgap Measure Expected
In other news, a bill – the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act – that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for six years will reportedly be put on hold in favor of a short-term extension. The measure (HR 4441), which was approved by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on February 11, stalled due to the inclusion of a controversial proposal to establish an independent, non-profit corporation that would be in charge of modernizing and providing U.S. air traffic control services. With the current extension of FAA authority slated to expire at the end of March, Congress will need more time to consider the AIRR Act. However, at this time, the duration of the temporary extension and the time frame for floor action remains uncertain.
House Subcommittee Holds Oversight Hearing on California Water Supply Outlook
On February 24, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Power, and Oceans Subcommittee held an oversight hearing entitled The 2016 California Water Supply Outlook During the El Niño and Three Years of Restricted Water Deliveries. The committee heard testimony from the following witnesses: (1) Brett Barbre, Director of the Municipal Water District of Orange County; (2) Thad Bettner, General Manager of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District; (3) Richard Pool, President and Owner of Pro-Troll Fishing Products; (4) David Murillo, Mid-Pacific Regional Director of the Bureau of Reclamation; and, (5) Tom Birmingham, General Manager/General Counsel of the Westlands Water District. The witness statements and an archived video of the hearing can be accessed here.