The Barbed Wire - January 03, 2020

January 3, 2020
Register for RCRC’s 2020 Installation of Officers and Rural Leadership Awards Reception
RCRC Requests Fair Share of Budget Surplus Be Used to Address Rural Priorities
RCRC Expresses Opposition to Redding Rancheria’s Proposed Fee-to-Trust/Casino Project
California Legislature to Reconvene Next Week
Congressional 2020 Timeline
Survey Finds Students in Rural Areas Experiencing Housing Insecurity

Register for RCRC’s 2020 Installation of Officers and Rural Leadership Awards Reception

The RCRC Annual Installation of Officers and Rural Leadership Awards Reception will be held Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento.  Read More…

RCRC Requests Fair Share of Budget Surplus Be Used to Address Rural Priorities

Earlier this week, RCRC sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom outlining the top 10 2020-21 State Budget priorities for California’s rural counties.  “The projected $7 billion surplus for the 2020-21 State Budget could provide the resources needed to address many issues of importance to RCRC member counties,” stated Paul A. Smith, RCRC Vice President Governmental Affairs.  

While RCRC advocates across a multitude of issue areas, the following is an outline of specific priorities, in no particular order, as the relate to needs in California’s rural counties:

  1. Forest Health and Wildfire Mitigation Funding: RCRC strongly recommends the continued dedication of SB 901 monies to forest health, restoration, and fuels treatment programs as outlined in the original legislation.
  2. Williamson Act: RCRC continues to advocate for funding of payments to counties, and urges the Legislature and the Administration to recommit to the program.  RCRC requests $45 million to eligible counties.
  3. Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS): RCRC requests $150 million to rural counties to increase resiliency of local critical facilities and infrastructure, and to mitigate the strain on local governments and California residents.
  4. Fairs: RCRC requests $100 million to make capital improvements, including broadband deployment, to State District Agricultural Association fairgrounds.
  5. Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA): RCRC requests $100 million to assist counties in implementing their SGMA obligations.
  6. Solid Waste:  RCRC requests $100 million annually to assist counties in implementing new organic waste regulations.  RCRC also requests another $100 million annually for solid waste and recycling programs to address the decline in offshore markets, improve the quality of recycled materials, and increase in-state infrastructure necessary to achieve and maintain these recycling goals.
  7. Community Wildfire Resiliency: RCRC requests $100 million annually for local governments, fire safe councils, and resource conservation districts to establish local home hardening and defensible space assistance programs to help low-income residents in high and very-high fire hazard severity zones safeguard their homes against wildfire.  RCRC is also requesting $16.2 million to local governments over the next five years to assist small communities in very-high fire hazard severity zones to incorporate fire safe development planning.
  8. Watershed Resilience Portfolio: RCRC requests $75 million to assist counties in improving regional water resiliency within the watersheds.
  9. Rural Water Infrastructure: RCRC requests $150 million to fund regional integrated water resource initiatives to improve rural water infrastructure, rehabilitate needed recharge facilities, and improve self-sufficiency.
  10. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension: RCRC requests $95 million to support research in agriculture and to improve the productivity and competitiveness of California’s agricultural endeavors.

RCRC’s letter can be accessed here.


RCRC Expresses Opposition to Redding Rancheria’s Proposed Fee-to-Trust/Casino Project

RCRC has joined Shasta County and the City of Redding in opposition to the Redding Rancheria’s fee-to-trust application and casino project located in Shasta County.  The Redding Rancheria is seeking approval on a fee-to-trust transfer and gaming project that would move its Win-River Resort and Casino to a 232-acre parcel known as Strawberry Fields.  

The proposal includes a casino, an approximately 250-room hotel, an event/convention center, and associated parking and infrastructure.  Strawberry Fields is approximately two miles from the current Win-River land.  Fee-to-trust applications involve the acquisition in trust of whole or undivided interests in land held in fee.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has published a draft environmental impact statement for the project, which Shasta County has submitted comments requesting for further evaluation.  Shasta County has reached the conclusion that the project will have a detrimental impact on the area surrounding southern portions of the City of Redding, including the unincorporated areas where the Strawberry Fields site is located.  After conducting internal deliberations and receiving community input, Shasta County has concluded that the proposed Strawberry Fields site cannot be adequately mitigated. 

RCRC has long-believed that any and all fee-to-trust applications must be supported by comprehensive mitigation agreements with affected local governments.  RCRC also believes the Secretary of the Interior should ensure – via a federal law or the U.S. Department of the Interior policy – that all significant off-reservation impacts associated with a proposed development be mitigated to the satisfaction of the affected local governments.  As such, RCRC recently conveyed its opposition in light of the position of Shasta county. 

RCRC’s letter can be accessed here

California Legislature to Reconvene Next Week

The California Legislature will reconvene for the 2020 Legislative Session on January 6th.  Given this is the second year of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, policy committees will jump directly back into the thick of policymaking and begin considering “two-year” bills left over from 2019.  

Two-year bills are bills that are introduced in the first half of the two-year session, but do not meet deadlines to clear both houses before the Autumn recess.  These bills must be passed out their first house of origin by January 31st.  

Also, newly-introduced bills will begin to occur shortly after January 6th.  All of these measures will be reviewed by RCRC staff for their impact on RCRC member counties.  RCRC staff expects an additional two thousand bills will be introduced before the February 21st deadline. 

Congressional 2020 Timeline

Congress will return from their holiday recess on Tuesday, January 7th.  With the passage and signing of the FY2020 spending package, preparations will soon begin for FY2021 allocations.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) expressed his goal for Congress to pass all 12 of the fiscal 2021 funding bills before October 1st, 2020.  Some Republicans, while saying they agreed with the spirit of Hoyer’s goal, have expressed skepticism over the timeline. 

The significant issue that overshadows Washington D.C. is the impeachment of President Trump and the impending trial in the U.S. Senate.  Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s current hold on sending the House of Representatives-passed articles of impeachment to the Senate, most Senators expect them to be sent and a trial to commence sometime in January.  Once impeachment does eventually reach the Senate Floor, all other legislative business will likely be put on hold.  

Survey Finds Students in Rural Areas Experiencing Housing Insecurity

After a ten-year hiatus, the California Student Aid Commission (the Commission)—the state’s administrator of student financial aid programs and services—reinstated its Student Expenses and Resources Survey (SEARS)  which found that the greatest obstacles to success in college are the costs of attending and achieving a school-work balance.  The brief found that many students in rural areas of the state are experiencing housing insecurity – emphasizing the need to address shortfalls in our state’s financial aid system that leaves too many students – especially those in rural areas—struggling to stay afloat.  

The SEARS data examines responses from students by segments, race and ethnicity and various regions of the state finding:

  • Student housing insecurity is the greatest in the Central Valley and Greater Sacramento regions, while food insecurity soars in the Northern Inland counties;
  • A combined 64 percent of students believe their success is obstructed by college costs and the struggle of balancing school and work;
  • 33 percent of students said their biggest obstacle to success in college is the cost of college;
  • 31 percent of students said their biggest obstacle is balancing school and work responsibilities.

California’s institutions of higher education—from the University of Merced to the College of the Redwoods—prepare rural Californians with the skills and knowledge to contribute to and benefit from the economy.

It is for this reason, the Commission is on a mission to better understand the needs of the students of today.  CSAC recently released the first of several in-depth analyses spotlighting housing, which was one of the biggest obstacles students identified to their success in college. Specifically, housing insecurity was reported the highest in the Central Valley and Greater Sacramento regions.

The Commission is committed to continuing to look closely at the SEARS data and the steps we must take as a state to ensure ALL Californian students are set up for success.

To learn more about the SEARS findings and the California Student Aid Commission, please contact Patrick Perry with any questions at


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


RCRC’s Annual Installation of Officers and Rural Leadership Awards Reception

The RCRC Annual Installation of Officers and Rural Leadership Awards Reception will be held Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento.  Full details and registration can be accessed here.


Western Interstate Region Conference Coming to California

Join RCRC, Mariposa County, and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) for the 2020 National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite!  Mariposa County Supervisor Kevin Cann serves as WIR President, and is looking forward to hosting his colleagues from the 15 western states in Mariposa County.  Read More…


California Association for Local Economic Development Rural Exchange

The Rural Economic Development Exchange will be held in Sacramento on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento.

Click here


Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Seeks Nominations for Will S. Green Award

Click here


Alpine County Seeks Director of Finance

Click here


Tehama County Seeks Assistant Director of Public Works

Click here