New Laws for 2020: Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources
November 5, 2020
Governor Newsom met the September 30 deadline to take action on measures approved by the Legislature and delivered to his desk. To keep counties informed of new laws that impact them, CSAC will be publishing a series of articles to spotlight those laws in each policy area. This week, the Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources (AENR) policy area provides information on new laws affecting emergency planning, wildfire prevention, recycling & pollution, cannabis, and firefighting.
Emergency Planning and Response
AB 2386 (Bigelow) Office of Emergency Services: disaster council plans. Under current law, counties can create disaster councils, by ordinance, to help develop emergency response plans. These response plans are required to be shared with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). This bill would require Cal OES to annually review ten of these plans at minimum, to determine if the plans conform to or exceed the Federal Management Agency’s (FEMA) Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101. In addition, the bill would require Cal OES to prioritize review of these plans from a county that is considered high risk for wildfire disaster.
AB 2730 (Cervantes) Access and functional needs: local government: agreement for emergency management and transportation. This bill would allow counties to enter into an agreement with an adjacent county to allow the adjacent county to borrow, through compensation, county emergency management and transportation services, for the purposes of evacuating or relocating members of the access and functional needs community during an emergency. The bill also requires a county that has entered into this agreement to incorporate the agreement into it its emergency plan within 90 days.
AB 2968 (Rodriguez) County emergency plans: best practices. This bill would require Cal OES to create a best practices guideline for developing and updating county emergency plans by January 1, 2022. In addition, the bill would require Cal OES to create a process for counties to voluntarily request a review of its emergency plan for technical assistance and feedback regarding plan sufficiency.
SB 909 (Dodd) Emergency vehicles. This bill would allow local emergency vehicles to be equipped with a “Hi-Lo” siren for the purposes of warning the public about the immediate need to evacuate. CSAC had a support position on this measure because it gives first responders an additional tool in the tool box to help safely evacuate communities during disasters. For an example of a “Hi-Lo” siren from Napa County click here.
AB 3074 (Friedman) Fire prevention: wildfire risk: defensible space: ember-resistant zones. This bill requires the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to promulgate regulations and guidance, in consultation with CalFIRE, for the zero to five foot range around structures in high fire threat areas by January 1, 2023. The bill also requires local agencies to provide notification to residents that could be impacted by these improved defensible space requirements. AB 3074 is intended to improve resistance against ember ignitions for structures in locally designated Very High Fire Severity Zones. CSAC supported the collaborative and science based approach to preventing structural ignitions in the wildland urban interface.
Recycling & Pollution
AB 793 (Ting) Recycling: Plastic beverage containers: minimum recycled content. This bill establishes minimum postconsumer recycled content standards for plastic beverage containers subject to the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act (Bottle Bill). Specifically, the bill requires beverage manufacturers to use a specified and prescribed amount of postconsumer recycled plastic in their beverage containers of no less than 50 percent by January 2030. In addition, the bill prohibits local government jurisdictions, including counties, from adopting ordinances regulating minimum recycled plastics content requirements for plastic beverage containers.
AB 1525 (Jones-Sawyer) Cannabis: financial institutions. This bill would allow commercial cannabis licensees to request, in writing, that a state or local licensing authority, state or local agency, or joint powers authority to share the person’s application, license, and other regulatory and financial information with a financial institution of the licensee’s designation. The bill also requires the request to include a waiver authorizing the transfer of that information and waiving any confidentiality or privilege that applies to that information. Finally, the bill allows state or local licensing entities to share regulatory and financial information with the designated financial institution for the facilitation of financial services for the requesting licensee.
Water Resources & Fire Fighting Equipment
SB 1386 (Moorlach) Local government: assessments, fees, and charges: water: hydrants. This bill codifies a recent court case (Glendale Coalition for Better Gov’t v. City of Glendale 2018) which stated that fire hydrants, which are used to protect properties from fire, and costs associated with those fire hydrants, are property-related services and allowable under Proposition 218. This legislation stems in part from a February 2020 class action lawsuit against 81 water agencies around the state. The suit alleged that the practice of charging ratepayers for the costs associated with supplying water for fire protection violated Proposition 218. SB 1386 adds clarifying language to the Proposition 218 Omnibus Implementation Act to clarify the nature of the relationship between fire protection, water supply, and property-related services.
SB 1044 (Allen) Firefighting equipment and foam. PFAS chemicals. This bill would requires manufactures or sellers of firefighting equipment to provide a written notice to the purchaser, at the time of sale, if the firefighter personal protective equipment contains intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). It also requires the seller and purchaser to retain a copy of this written notice for three years with the ability to provide the notice to the Attorney General, city attorney, county counsel, or district attorney within 60 days upon request. In addition, the bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale or distribution of class B firefighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS chemicals. The bill also creates a process for applying for exemptions from this law through the State Fire Marshal’s office.
If you have any questions related to this legislation please feel free to email either CSAC Legislative Representative for AENR, Catherine Freeman (email@example.com) or CSAC Legislative Analyst for AENR, Nick Cronenwett (firstname.lastname@example.org).