The Barbed Wire - August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020
RCRC Member Counties Need to Comply with Electric Vehicle Streamlining Law
Bill of the Week: AB 2167 (Daly) – Homeowner’s Insurance in Fire Prone Areas
RCRC Talks Trucking on Hometown California Podcast Episode 2
President Trump Signs the Great American Outdoors Act
Assembly Holds Informational Hearing on Proposed Juvenile Justice Realignment
Congressional and Administration Leaders Continue Coronavirus Relief Negotiations
Wildfire Legislation
Key State Senate Committee Confirms RCRC-Supported Appointees to the State Board of Forestry
RCRC Weighs in as Fish and Game Commission Set to Hear Joshua Tree Petition
Reform of the U.S. Postal Service
Marijuana in Relief Package
Cannabis Advisory Committee to Commence Regulatory Consolidation Discussions

RCRC Member Counties Need to Comply with Electric Vehicle Streamlining Law

In early July, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development’s (GO-Biz’s) Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Unit completed their efforts to map compliance to a 2015 law (Assembly Bill 1236) mandating all municipalities, including small rural jurisdictions, to streamline electric vehicle (EV) charging station permits in order to expedite the availability of EV charging stations. Thus far only 18% of all municipalities have taken action to comply. Napa, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma Counties comply with the AB 1236 law, while Butte, Calaveras, Humboldt, Monterey, Sutter, Tuolumne and Yolo Counties have taken proactive steps and are currently in the process of complying, leaving 27 RCRC-member counties with action needed.

While many counties meet the spirit of the law and continue to issue building permits for EV charging, it is incumbent upon local governments to comply with all aspects of the EV charging streamlining law to prevent undesirable enforcement efforts or other law changes that could negatively infringe on local building and planning departments. Earlier this year, RCRC along with its local governments partners led a successful effort to oppose AB 2168 (McCarty), a deemed approved permitting scheme for EV charging stations regardless if a municipality has a streamlined process pursuant to current law.

RCRC has put together a follow-up informational memo for the upcoming August 12th Board of Directors meeting, see here. GO-Biz continues to offer assistance to local government agencies (and businesses alike) on ZEV readiness and AB 1236 compliance, including best practices and streamlining templates. For more information, or to let them know your county has initiated streamlining and compliance, please utilize the GO-Biz contact form (click here) or reach out to the ZEV unit at

Bill of the Week: AB 2167 (Daly) – Homeowner’s Insurance in Fire Prone Areas

RCRC has expressed support for Assembly Bill 2167, authored by Assembly Member Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), as amended on July 30, 2020. AB 2167 would create the Insurance Market Action Plan (IMAP) program to help alleviate homeowners insurance nonrenewals/cancellations/high premium increases in high fire risk areas of the state.

RCRC member counties have a disproportionate percentage of residents whose residential property insurance has been nonrenewed due to wildfire risk in the past five years. A large majority of our communities have experienced dramatic premium increases and drastic spikes in nonrenewals, due to being located in high hazard severity zones. As a result, many homeowners in our communities have had to resort to the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan for fire insurance coverage, which effectively prices them out of California’s whole-home coverage market. At the same time, the insurance industry in California is suffering unprecedented levels of losses due to the state’s “new wildfire normal”.

By establishing the IMAP program, AB 2167 would provide a viable solution that addresses both concerns. By incentivizing insurers to continue providing coverage in higher risk areas, while allowing them to obtain cost-based rates, affordable insurance would remain accessible in rural communities and would allow those residents to obtain whole-home insurance policies. RCRC’s letter of support is available here.

RCRC Talks Trucking on Hometown California Podcast Episode 2

On Hometown California - Episode 2, Paul A. Smith of RCRC, speaks with Eric Sauer, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the California Trucking Association about how the trucking industry has been meeting the challenges of the pandemic to ensure essential goods and services are available to remote, rural areas of the state. Listen in to gain insight into the role of trucking, the intersection of the industry with rural jurisdictions, and a variety of issues facing the trucking industry.

And stay tuned for Episode 3, coming next week, when Paul A. Smith talks with Union Pacific Railroad executive, Francisco Castillo, about the California rail industry, federal preemption, and the future of the railroad. Listen to Episode 2 now and share Hometown California with your colleagues, friends, and family.

President Trump Signs the Great American Outdoors Act

On Tuesday, President Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act, a measure with broad bipartisan support that provides mandatory annual funding of $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and offers billions toward fixing the nation’s crumbling parks and public lands. Permanent LWCF funding has been debated in Congress for years but failed to gain legislative traction until President Trump withdrew his opposition as a means of sending support to two GOP senators from western states facing tough re-elections, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana). President Trump heralded the new law as a groundbreaking environmental achievement that he and the Republican deserved credit for, “at some point, they’ll have to start thinking about the Republican Party and all of the incredible things we’ve done on conservation and many other fronts.”

Assembly Holds Informational Hearing on Proposed Juvenile Justice Realignment

On Thursday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Public Safety held an informational hearing to discuss a budget proposal that would result in the closure of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

In his May Revision of the 2020-21 State Budget, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed closing state juvenile detention facilities, prospectively transferring the responsibility for managing all youthful offenders to local jurisdictions, and directing a portion of the state savings to counties. Under the Governor’s initial proposal in May, state juvenile facilities would stop intake of new juvenile offenders effective January 1, 2021 and begin the closure of all three state facilities and the fire camp through the attrition of the current population.  In recognition that some youth offenders in DJJ may have complex rehabilitation needs, the May Revise included funding to be awarded as competitive grants by the Board of State and Community Corrections to county probation departments that would serve as hubs to meet the specific treatment needs of youth throughout the juvenile justice system.

At today’s hearing, the budget subcommittee discussed aspects of a legislative alternative to the Governor’s May Revision proposal, which would, among other things, delay the date of DJJ closure for several years, offer increased accountability and oversight, and disburse funding to support the new local activities using a three-pronged approach.

RCRC is advocating on behalf of our member counties in partnership with our urban and statewide counterparts as discussions in the Legislature and Newsom Administration continue.  The Governor and Legislature are expected to reach agreement on juvenile justice realignment before the Legislative Session adjourns at the end of August.

Congressional and Administration Leaders Continue Coronavirus Relief Negotiations

After a week of closed-door negotiations between Democratic leaders and the Trump Administration, officials have yet to show a clear path to break the deadlock over a new coronavirus relief package. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) are holding firm, even after the $600-a-week federal enhancement to state unemployment benefits expired last week. As a result, President Trump is considering issuing three executive orders. The three actions under consideration would delay the collection of federal payroll taxes, reinstitute an expired eviction moratorium, and extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits using unspent money already appropriated by Congress. Meanwhile, several GOP senators said on Tuesday that they are holding behind-the-scenes talks with rank-and-file Democrats on the coronavirus relief package. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told reporters that he was “working behind the scenes, including now with some Democrats, on trying to get something done on UI [unemployment insurance], whether it's a return to work bonus or something else.”

Wildfire Legislation

On Wednesday, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Steve Daines (R-Montana) introduced the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act. This legislation would help protect communities from catastrophic wildfires by implementing wildfire mitigation projects, sustaining healthier forests that are more resilient to climate change and providing important energy and retrofitting assistance to businesses and residences to mitigate future risks from wildfire. The House companion bill is being led by Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-Monterey).

RCRC has sent a letter endorsing the legislation, stating that it will help alleviate and offset some of the costs associated with forest management and aid California in reducing its carbon emissions by encouraging utilization and sequestration of woody byproducts that currently are being piled and burned or otherwise left to contribute to the state’s greenhouse gas inventory. The legislation will also ultimately serve to help California with its long-term fuels treatment goals, which is desperately needed to reduce the frequency and severity of catastrophic wildfires that have become a normal occurrence throughout the state.

Key State Senate Committee Confirms RCRC-Supported Appointees to the State Board of Forestry

On Wednesday, the Senate Rules Committee confirmed the appointments of Katherine Delbar and J. Keith Gilless to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. Both appointments are supported by RCRC and that support was voiced during the confirmation hearing. With the Senate Rules Committee supporting these nominees, consideration by the full State Senate is expected soon.

Katherine Delbar 52, of Potter Valley in Mendocino County, has served on the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection since 2016. Delbar brings her experience as both a timberland owner and a rancher living in an RCRC member county to the Board’s decision-making process, which is vital to the Board’s understanding of timber management in rural communities. Delbar has also had a hand in such large-scale undertakings as adoption of the Programmatic Vegetation Treatment Program and the related Environmental Impact Assessment, which will be vital to the State achieving its vegetation management and wildfire prevention goals. RCRC’s letter of support is available here.

J. Keith Gilless, 64, of San Francisco, has served on the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection since 2011. RCRC staff has an established, strong working relationship with Gilless through his work with the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force and the California Climate Action Team, and his willingness to work with local governments on planning and timber harvest issues. As Chair of the Board, Gilless has shown strong leadership and has shepherded the Board through such large-scale undertakings as adoption of the Programmatic Vegetation Treatment Program and the related Environmental Impact Assessment, which will be vital to the State achieving its vegetation management and wildfire prevention goals. RCRC’s letter of support is available here.

RCRC member counties contain the vast majority of California’s forested lands and have suffered many of the State’s most damaging wildfires in the past decade, and RCRC works with the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to ensure the public health and safety of our counties’ residents through various measures. The collective experience of Delbar and Gilless is of great value to the continuation of those efforts.

RCRC Weighs in as Fish and Game Commission Set to Hear Joshua Tree Petition

The California Fish and Game Commission is preparing to hear a petition on August 19, 2020 to list the Western Joshua Tree as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The petition was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in October 2019 under the guise that the Western Joshua Tree, while not presently threatened, could become an endangered species in the foreseeable future without special protections afforded under CESA. However, the petition fails to provide sufficient evidence regarding population trends or abundance of the species, which is native to the Mojave Desert.

RCRC has filed comments twice asking the Commission to reject the petition due to its potential impacts on effected counties’ abilities to meet state housing development requirements and local government maintenance operations, most recently joining with a broad coalition of stakeholders including the California Building Industry Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and the California Forestry Association. If the petition is accepted by the Commission, the species will receive special protections under CESA that will restrict the ability to disturb a single Western Joshua Tree without permission from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The joint coalition letter urging the Commission to reject the position can be viewed here.

Reform of the U.S. Postal Service

On Thursday, Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan), the ranking member on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee which has oversight of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), announced the launching of an investigation into reported delays at the USPS that are preventing Americans from receiving critical mail on-time, including prescription drugs, business mail, and mail-in ballots.The USPS has recently begun an “operation pivot” under the leadership of Louis DeJoy, a former logistics executive who took office in July. The new policies bar postal employees from working overtime, a crucial method of resolving staffing shortages during the coronavirus pandemic and instructs workers to leave mail behind at post offices and processing plants if they run late.

As states look to dramatically expand the use of mail-in ballots this fall, postal workers across the country have expressed their concerns that the changes could lead to chaos in November. Already, tens of thousands of ballots across the country have been disqualified in this year’s primaries, many because they did not arrive on time. Election officials and voters are increasingly reporting long waits for the delivery of absentee ballots as states hold primaries. Postal workers have also been inundated with package volumes that exceed Christmastime levels in many areas of the country due to robust online shopping spurred by the pandemic. Election experts have called for the USPS to roll back the recent changes, saying they could erode voter trust in mail voting, or lead to ballots going uncounted because of backlogs.

Marijuana in Relief Package

During a session with reporters last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the decision to include marijuana banking protections in Democrats’ latest coronavirus relief bill. She stated, “I don’t agree with you that cannabis is not related to this…this is a therapy that has proven successful.” In response, on Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) criticized House Speaker Pelosi’s comments on the Senate Floor. He affirmed, “She said that, with respect to this virus, marijuana is ‘a therapy that has proven successful.’ You can’t make this up…I hope she shares her breakthrough with Dr. Fauci.” Majority Leader McConnell has previously expressed his opposition to allocating funds for marijuana studies in the next coronavirus bill, however he has not specifically commented on cannabis banking provisions.

Cannabis Advisory Committee to Commence Regulatory Consolidation Discussions

On August 20-21, the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Cannabis Advisory Committee will kick off discussions to consolidate the state’s three cannabis licensing entities into one single cannabis agency, the Department of Cannabis Control, pursuant to the Governor’s January Proposed 2020-21 Budget, which sought to restructure state regulatory functions for commercial cannabis activities.

Currently, there are three main cannabis licensing agencies: Department of Consumer Affairs (Bureau of Cannabis Control), the Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis), and the Department of Public Health (Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch). Regulatory consolidation is expected to create a single point of contact for licensees and counties/cities, which are required to sanction cannabis activities in their respective municipality. The Newsom Administration was not able to move forward with details of this proposal in the May Revise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Cannabis Advisory Committee meeting will commence stakeholder discussions and accept public comments on this concept. More information on the Cannabis Advisory Committee can be found here.


Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.

CPUC Holding Public Meetings to Discuss Utility Readiness for PSPS Events

The California Public Utilities Commission, along with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection, are holding a series of public meetings next week to discuss investor-owned utility readiness for 2020 Public Safety Power Shut-offs (PSPS). Utilities will brief these agencies and the public about aspects of their PSPS preparation, including customer service capabilities, local government coordination, mapping, mobilization and decision-making for widespread emergency events, service restoration and mutual assistance, as well as the steps they are taking to minimize the scope and duration of these events, which must be a tool of last-resort to prevent wildfire from electrical equipment.

These public briefings are available to watch here; public comments will be accepted by calling 1-800-857-1917, passcode 9899501.

  • Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Southern California Edison (SCE)
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020, 10:00 am – 11:30 am: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)


Bureau of Reclamation Seeks Public Input on Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement About Proposal to Raise Shasta Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public input on the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to the proposal to raise the 600-foot-tall Shasta Dam by 3% (or an additional 18.5 feet). This proposed project would increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet or more than 200 billion gallons—enough water to support two million people a year. The resulting dedicated environmental storage is anticipated to improve water quality in the Sacramento River below the dam by lowering water temperatures for anadromous fish survival, such as Chinook salmon and other fish that migrate from the ocean to rivers to spawn.

The supplemental EIS provides information relevant to Reclamation’s application of Clean Water Act Section 404(r), updates modeling to be reflective of the 2019 Biological Opinions, and provides an updated analysis on effects to the McCloud River. View the Draft Supplemental EIS here. Submit comments to David Brick, Bureau of Reclamation, CGB-152, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825, via telephone at 916-202-7158 (TTY 1-800-877-8339) or via email at Comments are due by close of business on September 21, 2020.


GO-Biz Hosting Webinars for Businesses Interested in Applying for $80 Million in Tax Credits

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) application period is now open, with $80 million in available tax credits. Businesses interested in applying can register to view a live webinar explaining the application process.

The deadline to submit applications is Monday, August 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) and the online application website will automatically close once this deadline has passed. The online application can be accessed now, at

Upcoming Webinars

August 11, 2020
Details and Registration

Members of the CCTC team are available to provide technical application assistance ( / 916-322-4051). An application guide, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), program regulations, and a downloadable version of the webinar presentation are available here.


Department of Conservation SGMA Watershed Coordinator Grant Program Workshops Announced

The Department of Conservation is hosting one more workshop to answer potential applicants’ questions about the SGMA Watershed Coordinator Program application. The remaining workshop is open to all interested applicants and will cover the same content. Please RSVP to to register.

  • Application Workshop – August 11, 2020
    When: 1:00 – 2:00pm
    Where: Microsoft Teams (please RSVP for link)

Information about the program can be found hereApplications are due by 11:59 p.m. on September 15, 2020. A solicitation and application has been posted here.

Please contact Department of Conservation watershed program staff with questions or comments via email at or phone at (916) 324-0850.


State Water Board Now Accepting SAFER Advisory Group Applications

The State Water Board is now accepting applications for the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Advisory Group, which provides the State Water Board with advice on the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Expenditure Plan and other SAFER-related policies. Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2020.

There are 10 seats open for the 2020 application period. Applicants will be selected and notified by Winter 2020. County resource staff and other interested parties are encouraged to apply. The electronic application form is available on the SAFER Advisory Group website here.

The SAFER Advisory Group website will be updated with tools and resources regularly, so keep checking the website for more information.


Upcoming Webinar: Improving Roadside Re-vegetation and Stormwater Quality with Compost-Based BMPs

The Caltrans Landscape Architecture Program, in partnership with CalRecycle, University of California Riverside, University of Washington, Filtrexx Sustainable Technologies, Salix Applied Earthcare, United States Composting Council, California Compost Coalition, and R. Alexander Associates, Inc., is presenting two half-day workshops that focus on the use of compost-based best management practices (BMPs) to improve roadside re-vegetation, control erosion, filter stormwater, reduce runoff, and improve stormwater quality. The webinar is taking place on August 26-27, 2020.

In addition to rolling out innovative methods of improving water quality, these workshops will provide attendees with the opportunity to ask questions of a diverse team of experts. The workshop team consists of University professionals, researchers, soil scientists, California compost industry professionals, Caltrans landscape architects, and other subject matter experts.

While this webinar is targeted towards Caltrans engineers and landscape staff, it will provide some insight towards this potentially growing market. Additional information about the webinar is available here. Register here.


HCD Announces the Release of the Homekey Notice of Funding Availability

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has announced the release of the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $600 million in Homekey funds. The grant funding is available to cities, counties , or other local public entities within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, as well as hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing. Prior to submitting an application, all applicants are required to engage in a pre-application consultation. Priority Applications are due by August 13, 2020 and all applications are due by September 29, 2020. Visit the Homekey webpage to learn more.


Career Opportunities

  • Tehama County Seeks Director of Public Works

Tehama County is inviting applications for the position of Director of Public Works. The application deadline has been extended to August 17, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. To apply or for more information, details are available as a PDF or online here

  • Colusa County Seeks Assistant Director of Public Works/Road Commissioner

The county of Colusa is accepting applications for the position of Assistant Director of Public Work/Road Commissioner. The position is open until filled. Details are available here.

  • SRTA Seeks Chief Fiscal Officer

Shasta Regional Transportation Agency (SRTA) is seeking a Chief Fiscal Officer. Position details are available here. The position is open until filled. See the SRTA website for updates and submission information.


Amendment to the Federal 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has released an amendment to the federal 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The NOFA applies to state CDBG non-entitlement cities and counties applying for funding under Community Development activities, Special Allocations for Economic Development, Colonia, and Native American Communities.

This amendment only affects the Economic Development (ED) set-aside and:

  • Removes the competitive process, allowing all applications, both program and project, to be reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Extends the ED program application deadline to September 15, 2020.
  • Makes other changes to program activity limits and requirements for proof of capacity, while providing more local flexibility in ED program design and implementation.

You can access the 2019-2020 CDBG NOFA amendment and links to the online application here.


RCRC Annual Meeting in Napa County Cancelled

The RCRC Annual Meeting 2020 has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, the RCRC September Board of Directors Meeting will take place on September 16, 2020 via Zoom.

The Annaul Meeting was scheduled to occur in Napa County this September. Planning is underway to hold a future Annual Meeting in Napa – most likely in 2022 – in order to enjoy the beauty of the County as well as contribute to its economic recovery. More information on the return to Napa will be forthcoming after consideration and action by the RCRC Board of Directors.


Resource pages, deadline extensions, and available programs to assist communities impacted by COVID-19.

DWR Provides Tips for Holding Online Meetings to Address Groundwater Sustainability Plans


As Groundwater Sustainability Plans are being developed to meet the January 2022 deadline, several counties (and water agencies) have asked for advice for engaging stakeholders and interested parties through online resources. In response to community interest, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Sustainable Groundwater Management Office has put together examples, tips, and tactics to consider. The DWR tips are available here.


Coronavirus Relief Available from the Small Business Administration

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering several coronavirus relief options to help alleviate the financial hardships resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19). The programs have received an overwhelming number of applications from businesses, so be sure to check the SBA website for the latest updates on the status of these programs.

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program. After initial funding was quickly depleted, the program received an infusion of an additional $310 billion, allowing the SBA to resume the program on April 27, 2020. Be sure to check the SBA website for the most recent information on the application process and availability of funds.
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance provides up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans can be used to bridge the gap for businesses while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan; small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  • SBA Debt Relief provides a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are interested in programs for other disasters, the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance portal is available here.


Economic Development Resources for Communities and Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

The California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) has assembled resources for communities and business impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The page will be continually evolving as new resources become available. To go directly to the CALED resources, click here.


Use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds for Infectious Disease Response

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds may be used for a range of eligible activities that prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Check out the Quick Guide to CDBG Eligible Activities to Support Infectious Disease Response for guidance and additional information.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) County Resource Page Available

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC), RCRC’s local government partner, continues to provide excellent up-to-date state and federal information to counties on this ever-changing pandemic event. We encourage visiting CSAC’s COVID-19 resource page, which contains vital links to all CSAC COVID-19 advocacy letters and resources. CSAC’s staff continues to work around the clock to update activities so that all of California’s counties can remain properly informed.


Information related to the current status of legislation and regulations impacting California’s rural counties.