Legislature Returns to Capitol on Monday
July 28, 2016
Did that month-long legislative summer recess seem short to anyone else? The Legislature returns to work on Monday and it will be a sprint to the finish, as the final bell rings on the 2015-16 session on August 31.
CSAC has worked diligently to provide ongoing updates to counties on several unresolved issues and bills that loom large on the August agenda, including the state’s ongoing transportation funding crisis and the linked issues of new funding for affordable housing and the Governor’s proposal for “by-right” approval for certain housing projects.
Both Sacramento thermometers and negotiations on several outstanding policy issues will turn up the heat as lawmakers work to push hundreds of bills to the Governor by the various constitutional deadlines:
- August 1 – Legislature returns from recess and policy and fiscal committees hit the ground running to hear legislation still moving through the process.
- August 12 – Fiscal (Appropriations) committees must meet by this date to either hold bills or report them to the Floors for further action.
- August 19 – Last day to amend any bill on the Floor.
In addition to the hot policy topics mentioned above, which may or may not be resolved by adjournment sine die, there remains a number of priority bills on which CSAC staff will actively engage during the final month of the 2015-2016 session.
Mental Health Care for Foster Children
CSAC has recently adopted a position of support following recent amendments to AB 1299, by Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, which would require the Department of Health Care Services to develop policies and procedures establishing the presumptive transfer of responsibility for providing and paying for specialty mental health services for foster youth, from the county of original jurisdiction to the county of residence. AB 1299 has been a problematic bill since its inception; while CSAC strongly supports ensuring timely mental health services for children in foster care who are placed out of their county of residence, the 2015 versions of the bill raised significant implementation concerns. In recent months, stakeholders, including CSAC and its affiliates, have worked out compromise language that should be amended into the bill next week. With this new language, CSAC is pleased to support the measure and will work to move the bill off of the Senate Appropriates Committee Suspense File.
PACE Disclosure Requirements
While CSAC has removed its opposition to AB 2693 by Assembly Member Matt Dababneh, we are continuing to work with the author’s office and other stakeholders to negotiate workable disclosure and public education requirements to be included in the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). CSAC strongly supports the PACE programs as it provides an affordable financial tool to implement renewable and energy efficiency programs. This bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Methane Emission Reductions
CSAC continues to negotiate amendments on SB 1383 by Senator Ricardo that would set statewide targets for short lived climate pollutants reductions. CSAC has concerns that any requirement to reduce methane emissions by diverting additional organic materials out of landfills would not come with adequate funding or workable timelines for local governments. This bill will be heard next week in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Debt Information Mandatory Reporting
CSAC is seeking amendments to SB 1029, by Assembly Member Robert Hertzberg, which sets forth new reporting requirements for any state or local agency issuing bonds to the State Treasurer’s California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission. The bill currently awaits a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and, while we understand the intent of these new reporting requirements, CSAC is concerned with the potential new costs the reports could impose on counties and is seeking language that will reduce duplication with other reports to the State Treasurer and ensure stakeholders, including counties, have a seat at the table when the new reporting requirements are created.
Mandatory Union Orientation
CSAC, along with a large coalition of school and local agency employers, is strongly opposing AB 2835 by Assembly Member Jim Cooper would require state and local agencies to provide mandatory orientations to newly hired public employees within two months of hiring. The orientation would include a 30-minute employee organization-provided session with many requirements and stipulations. Although employers would be required to negotiate the scheduling, establishment, and administration of the orientations with bargaining units, they would have no oversight or authority over content provided by the unions. Public agencies have many concerns with this bill. It expands the scope of collective bargaining, is overly proscriptive, and creates confusion about employee organization discretion. Additionally, it increases administrative work and creates privacy concerns for employers, along with creating new or increased costs for public agencies. AB 2835 awaits a hearing on August 1 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Mobilehome Property Tax Amnesty Program
CSAC is opposing AB 587 by Assembly Member Ed Chau, which would provide a three-year property tax amnesty program for mobilehome owners to address outstanding tax liabilities. CSAC is opposed on the grounds that such an amnesty window is excessively long and the bill fails to address the systematic problem with mobilehome. County losses statewide could be over $6.5 million, with some single county losses as high as $1 million for the entities receiving property tax revenues. AB 587 will be heard next week in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Stormwater Prevention Plans
SB 1170, by Senator Bob Wieckowski, would prohibit a public entity from delegating to a contractor the development of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) on a public works contract. CSAC and a large coalition strongly oppose this bill, as it would create confusion and conflict within the public works process by further disconnecting the entity responsible for its development from the entity that performs the actual work related to the SWPPP. SB 1170 will be heard next week in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Stay tuned to The CSAC Bulletin for further updates on these hot issues of importance to counties.