The Barbed Wire - February 1, 2019

February 1, 2019
Rural Communities Invited to Join Census 2020 Webinar
Bills to Amend Budget Act of 2018 Move Forward
RCRC Sponsors Camp Fire “Roadmap to Recovery” Workshops
Bill of the Week: Senate Bill 62 (Dodd) – Endangered Species: Accidental Take
RCRC Releases Comprehensive Economic & Demographic Profiles for Member Counties
House Democrats Prepare for Infrastructure Debate
More Committee Announcements

Rural Communities Invited to Join Census 2020 Webinar

In an effort to boost Census 2020’s outreach, California Complete Count - Census 2020 is requesting interested partners and stakeholders to participate in a webinar about State, Federal, and local efforts to achieve a complete count in California, particularly in rural communities. 

Key components of the webinar:

  • Unique challenges facing rural communities due to the first ever “digital census,” and other factors impacting hard-to-count communities in rural regions;
  • Best practices and lessons learned for outreach and engagement;
  • Collaboration among other rural counties, community partners, and the State to make sure rural communities are counted in Census 2020; and,
  • Hear from State and Federal representatives about the importance and benefits of engaging in the 2020 Census and important timelines to educate, motivate, and engage.

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

The official webinar invitation and registration portal can be accessed here.  For questions, please contact Paul A. Smith, RCRC Vice President Governmental Affairs at (916) 447-4806 or, or Dorothy Johnson, Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs at California Complete Count Census Office at (916) 852-2020 or

Bills to Amend Budget Act of 2018 Move Forward

This week, the Assembly approved Assembly Bill 72 and Assembly 73, which address urgent statewide funding needs with respect to wildfire response, emergency preparedness, and drinking water.  Assembly Bill 72 and Assembly Bill 73 now await action in the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee.  Of particular importance to RCRC member counties is AB 72, which would make immediate appropriations relating to wildfire, drinking water, and other urgent statewide needs. 

AB 72 key components:

  • Three years of property tax backfill for local agencies in Butte and Lake Counties due to the severity of recent wildfire damage and the additional time those communities will need to rebuild and recover;
  • Funding allocation for the emergency preparedness public awareness campaign to prepare for future emergency events; and,
  • Funding allocation of $10 million to provide funding to address urgent drinking water needs. 

While RCRC is in support of AB 72, RCRC prepared a letter requesting the following: adding Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Counties as areas to receive additional years of property tax backfill; amending the language to specifically define “disadvantaged communities” as those with a median household income less than 80 percent of the statewide average; and, amending the language to ensure that non-profits are assisting disadvantaged communities.

AB 72 and AB 73 passed the Assembly Budget Committee with 28 “ayes,” 0 “noes,” and 4 not voting.  It should be noted that Assembly Members Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), James Gallagher (R-Yuba City),, and Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) voted “aye” on these bills. 

RCRC Sponsors Camp Fire “Roadmap to Recovery” Workshops

Over the past several weeks, RCRC has partnered with United Policyholders (UP) to sponsor three Camp Fire “Roadmap to Recovery™” workshops in Butte County.  The workshops provided support, guidance, and resources to help victims of the Camp Fire navigate the insurance claim process. 

“Thanks to generous support from RCRC, UP has hosted three Roadmap to Recovery workshops to date, and 4,535 individuals have used its free online Camp Fire Claim Help Library,” said Amy Bach, UP Executive Director.

Supervisor Doug Teeter (Butte) welcomed full rooms at three recent Roadmap to Recovery workshops, sharing important information with the audiences on Coordinated Debris Removal and upcoming deadlines.  UP staff then led attendees through an Insurance Recovery Orientation, and primers on documenting and settling Total Loss and “Standing Home”/Partial Loss insurance claims fairly and on time.  UP brought a high-ranking CA Department of Insurance expert to all three sessions to assist during the question and answer portion of the workshop.

Together RCRC and UP are making an important impact in the early stages of the recovery.  Additional information and resources for wildfire victims can be accessed here.

Bill of the Week: Senate Bill 62 (Dodd) – Endangered Species: Accidental Take

RCRC has lent its support to Senate Bill 62, authored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa).  SB 62 would make permanent an “accidental take” of candidate, threatened, or endangered species resulting from acts that occur on a farm or a ranch in the course of otherwise lawful routine. 

During most routine agricultural activities, it is difficult to fully mitigate for the thousands of candidate, threatened, and protected species listed under the California Endangered Species Act, even with the most diligent prevention measures and reasonably expected expenditures for the agriculture industry.  In light of this, a permanent exemption for the accidental take of these species resulting from routine agricultural activities is completely reasonable, particularly when the State has already allowed a temporary exemption. 

RCRC’s support letter can be accessed here.  Staci Heaton, RCRC Regulatory Affairs Advocate, can be reached at (916) 447-4806 or

RCRC Releases Comprehensive Economic & Demographic Profiles for Member Counties

RCRC is pleased to announce that Economic and Demographic Profiles for each of our thirty-six member counties are now available on the RCRC website.  The individual county profiles, created by the Chico State University Center for Economic Development, include demographic, environmental, economic, social and industry data and information.  These profiles can serve as an information resource when applying for grants, preparing budgets, or when responding to inquiries.  

You will find a plethora of information on a variety of topics – all with sources listed.  Since information is updated and available at different times of the year, printed documents become obsolete very quickly.  While this will be the case for the Economic and Demographic Profiles, please note that every chart in the profile is sourced.  You can use the source information to gather updated information online, as it becomes available.

The Economic and Demographic Profiles can be accessed in the “Related Documents and Downloads” column of the RCRC Economic Development webpage.

House Democrats Prepare for Infrastructure Debate

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, announced the first hearing of the Committee for the 116th Congress this week.  Scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2019, the hearing will be titled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait.”  Committee Democrats will use the hearing to launch their case for massive infrastructure investment and reform.  In the hearing, Chairman DeFazio is expected to emphasize the cost of leaving the U.S.’s failing infrastructure to crumble, in order to spur lawmakers into action.  

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures will also hold a hearing on infrastructure next week to examine potential tax measures to pay for massive federal investment.  Pay-fors and revenue measures will be a contentious topic of debate throughout the drafting process for any legislation that includes the trillion dollar investment in infrastructure hoped for by President Trump.

President Trump held a call this week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) in preparation of the State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.  The two reportedly discussed infrastructure, one of the few issues they agree on.  President Trump could renew his call for a trillion dollar infrastructure package in his address on Tuesday, and further catalyze the political momentum for legislation.

More Committee Announcements

Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-Butte) announced this week that he was appointed Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.  Although Congressman LaMalfa now sits in the minority, his position as Ranking Member grants rural California a loud voice on a Subcommittee with jurisdiction that could be used to reform forest management and other forestry policies.  In a press release, Congressman LaMalfa said he will work across the aisle with Subcommittee Chairwoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) “to achieve meaningful forestry reforms that can help prevent future catastrophes, such as hazardous fuel reduction and streamlining forest management practices.” 

At the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Chairman Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) announced that four of the Committee’s six subcommittee vice chairs will be held by members of the California Delegation. The vice chairs are:

  • Subcommittee on Communications and Technology – Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento)
  • Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce – Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Sylmar)
  • Subcommittee on Energy – Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton)
  • Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change – Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Riverside)
  • Subcommittee on Health – Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina)
  • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations – Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts)

Each Vice Chair will oversee a subcommittee on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.  Specifically, Congresswoman Matsui will oversee the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology where she can influence telecommunications policies including rural broadband deployment.


The Rural Rundown discusses the legislative and regulatory issues impacting California’s rural counties, featuring commentary and interviews from individuals committed to improving the quality of life in rural California. 

The Rural Rundown can be accessed here


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

State and Regional Water Boards Announce New Statewide Paid Internship Program

Click here


RCRC members are encouraged to share letters addressed to state and federal representatives and regulatory bodies with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.

Assembly Bill 41 (Gallagher): Disaster Relief: Camp Fire. Assembly Bill 41 provides that the State share for disaster relief is born by the State as it relates to the Camp Fire that started in November 2018 in Butte County. Status: AB 41 awaits consideration in the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. RCRC Status: Support

Assembly Bill 72 (Assembly Budget Committee): Budget Act of 2018. Assembly Bill 72 amends the Budget Act of 2018 by amending and adding items of appropriation and making other changes. Status: AB 72 awaits consideration in the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. RCRC Status: Support

Senate Bill 19 (Dodd): Water Resources: Stream Gages. Senate Bill 19 requires the California Department of Water Resources to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages that includes a determination of new needs as well as opportunities for reactivating existing gages. Status:  SB 19 awaits consideration in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 62 (Dodd): Endangered Species: Accidental Take. Senate Bill 62 would make permanent an “accidental take” of candidate, threatened, or endangered species resulting from acts that occur on a farm or a ranch in the course of otherwise lawful routine. Status: SB 62 awaits consideration in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. RCRC Status: Support