CSAC Bulletin Article

Hot Bills: Two Resources and Resilience Bonds Introduced in the Legislative Session

March 18, 2021

Two resources and resilience-focused general obligation bonds have been re-introduced following the tabling of similar measures in 2020. A comparison of the two measures is available hereSB 45 (Portantino), the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, is a $5.51 billion bond mirroring SB 45 (Allen) from 2020. Senator Allen is a co-author of the current SB 45, which focuses on disaster preparedness with the largest funding pots going towards wildfire and disaster preparedness ($1.5 billion) and water and flood control ($1.47 billion). The bond also provides nearly $1 billion for coastal resilience and sea level rise, and adds $635 million for regional climate resilience, urban heat islands, and community resilience.

AB 1500 (E. Garcia and Mullin), the Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparation, Flood Protection, Extreme Heat Mitigation, and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2022 is a $6.7 billion bond. Funding pots include $1.1 billion focused on wildfire and disaster resilience, $1.65 billion for water and flood control, and $1.15 billion for coastal resilience and sea level rise. AB 1500 goes further to provide $670 million for parks, park districts and open space. Included in the $1.3 billion regional resilience pot is a dedicated $60 million for evacuation improvements at fairgrounds, a CSAC 2021 priority. AB 1500 also differs from SB 45 by providing $850 million within its urban and community resilience pot for regional projects and planning, including through local climate networks. This funding program has not yet been fully defined and will likely be developed in other companion legislation.

The two measures are moving through the legislative process quickly with SB 45 passing out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee by a vote of 7-2. SB 45 now heads to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee before queuing up in Senate Appropriations Committee later this spring. AB 1500 will be heard by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee followed by the Assembly Natural Resources Committees before it moves to Appropriations. The author anticipates some amendments during this time and has met with CSAC and other local government representatives to get feedback on the bill and its impacts to our county governments.

CSAC continues to focus on funding and response for disasters and rebuilding local communities. Given the increasing frequency of these climate-related disasters, CSAC has made disaster preparedness and resiliency issues a top priority and will be following these two bonds closely. For more information, contact Catherine Freeman, CSAC Legislative Representative at cfreeman@counties.org.

 

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