The Barbed Wire - January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021
2021 RCRC Officers to be Sworn-in on January 13th – Virtual Reception Later in the Evening
Bill of the Week: AB 1 (C. Garcia) – Department of Toxic Substances Fiscal and Governance Reform
Hometown California Starts the New Year with RCRC Chair of 2021, Mono County Supervisor Stacy Corless
RCRC Member County Projects Receive Funding for Affordable Housing
New CPUC Energy Storage Program May Assist Local Governments
U.S. Senate Flips to Democrat Control – Procedural Implications
Permits Required for Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021

2021 RCRC Officers to be Sworn-in on January 13th – Virtual Reception Later in the Evening

The 2021 Officers of RCRC will be sworn in during the RCRC Board of Directors meeting on January 13, 2020.  The 2021 Officers were elected by the RCRC Board of Directors during their December meeting. Taking the helm in 2021 is Supervisor Stacy Corless of Mono County who will serve as Chair. In addition, Supervisor Dan Miller of Nevada County will serve as 1st Vice and Supervisor Doug Teeter of Butte County as 2nd Vice Chair. Immediate Past Chair, Daron McDaniel of Merced County will remain part of the four-supervisor leadership team. Congressman John Garamendi (D-Yolo) will administer the oath of office to the four officers at the beginning of the morning meeting.

Later in the evening, RCRC will host a virtual reception to celebrate the Installation of Officers as well as honor the recipients of the 2020 Rural Leadership Awards. The highlight of the reception will be a panel discussion with agency leaders on Comprehensive Wildfire Prevention and Response. For more information, see here. To join us for the event, register now.

Bill of the Week: AB 1 (C. Garcia) – Department of Toxic Substances Fiscal and Governance Reform

On the first day of the 2021 Legislative Session, Assembly Member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) introduced Assembly Bill 1, which makes numerous changes to improve the governance of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and increase the revenues that support its programs.

DTSC is charged with regulating the management of hazardous waste and overseeing clean-up of contaminated sites.  Importantly, DTSC also cleans-up legacy and orphan contaminated sites.  DTSC has a significant structural budget deficit and faced significant management challenges over the last several years, prompting numerous calls for structural and financial change.  Additionally, it lacks the resources necessary to address the significant backlog of sites in need of remediation.

With respect to governance, AB 1 establishes a new five-member board to oversee DTSC, consider permit appeals, and facilitate greater public engagement.  AB 1 also incorporates a significant number of policy reforms suggested by the DTSC Independent Review Panel that will improve and expedite internal decision-making while restoring trust in those communities disproportionately impacted by hazardous waste management and disposal.

AB 1 would also raise about $20 million annually for DTSC by significantly increasing fees for hazardous waste facilities and generation and repealing several current fee exemptions for local government programs and used oil.  Admittedly, AB 1 repeals several other minor fees.

AB 1 continues a discussion begun last year that culminated in the veto of a similar bill, AB 995 (C. Garcia).  In vetoing AB 995 last year, Governor Newsom indicated that even more funding is needed to right the DTSC ship and ensure a stable source of funding for cleaning up contamination. 

RCRC engaged extensively with DTSC and the Legislature on AB 995 and the Governor’s DTSC state budget proposals last year and has renewed those discussions.  For more information, contact John Kennedy, RCRC Legislative Advocate at (916) 447-4806 or

Hometown California Starts the New Year with RCRC Chair of 2021, Mono County Supervisor Stacy Corless

In the newest episode of Hometown California, RCRC Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Paul A. Smith sits down for a conversation with the 2021 RCRC Chair, Mono County Supervisor Stacy Corless. (Download now)

After facing a year of devastating wildfires, a global pandemic, and the resulting changes to everyday life, we enter 2021 with new resolve and hope.  Although uncertain what the immediate future holds, Supervisor Corless is focused on the comprehensive wildfire response and long-term recovery necessary for rural California and its communities to survive and thrive.  Tune in next week to get a glimpse of the inspiration that drives Supervisor Corless as a leader in one of California’s smallest counties. Hear about her experience as a county leader through what was arguably one of the toughest years in recent history, and about her vision for RCRC in the year ahead.

Previous episodes of Hometown California are available here.

RCRC Member County Projects Receive Funding for Affordable Housing

This week the California Department of Housing and Community Development announced more than $40 million in awards to RCRC counties for the permanent financing of affordable multifamily rental and transitional new construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, and conversion housing developments for lower-income households. This funding is part of the latest round of Multifamily Housing Program awards, totaling over $205 million in Round 3. A complete list of awardees can be found here.

The Multifamily Housing Program is funded by the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, which was adopted by voters on November 6, 2018, (Proposition 1) and authorized the issuance of bonds in the amount of $4 billion under the State General Obligation Bond Law. 

New CPUC Energy Storage Program May Assist Local Governments

A new energy storage incentive program mandated by the California Public Utilities Commission is set to open early in 2021. Funds are limited and will be available to fund energy storage solutions for public and private buildings which are equipped with chillers to handle cooling load. Local governments with buildings fitting this profile (administrative centers, courthouses, jails, etc.) should look into the Self Generation Incentive Program Large Thermal Energy Storage (SGIP L-TES) program and plan on participating in an informational webinar hosted by RCRC on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 9 a.m.

It is anticipated that the SGIP L-TES program will open for application submittal at the end of January or early February.  Eligible applicants include customers of California’s Investor Owned Utility (IOU) companies - Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, and San Diego Gas & Electric. The program will cover most, if not all, of the costs associated with the acquisition and installation of specialized energy storage equipment to work with chilled water systems. IOU customers who take advantage of this program to install new energy storage systems will be able to significantly lower their cooling bills, increase resilience, and better position their facility budgets against future rate changes.

To help local governments understand the program benefits and application requirements, RCRC will be hosting an informational webinar on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 9 a.m. 

During this webinar, participants will:

  • learn about eligibility and documentation requirements, 
  • gain an understanding of how this technology can help reduce energy costs and improve resilience, and 
  • hear about different paths available to access the program.

Join Zoom Meeting 

Phone one-tap: US:

+16699009128,,99282173894# or


Meeting URL:

Meeting ID: 992 8217 3894

U.S. Senate Flips to Democrat Control – Procedural Implications

After a hotly contested runoff race in Georgia for two Senate seats on Tuesday, both Democrat candidates emerged with narrow victories. The Reverend Raphael Warnock defeated Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia), becoming the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from the South. And, Jon Ossoff, the 33-year-old head of a video production company who has never held public office, defeated Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia), who recently completed his first full term as senator. The victories by Democrats mean that the Senate will now hold a 50-50 split between parties, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holding the tying vote in favor of Democrats.

Democratic majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives will enable the party to use budget reconciliation to enact their priorities. That process enables lawmakers to write filibuster-proof legislation, as long as it has a budgetary impact and does not increase the deficit beyond the period covered by the annual budget blueprint, among other restrictions. The reconciliation process is the Congressional mechanism through which multiple landmark pieces of legislation have been passed in prior Congresses such as the Affordable Care Act and the Trump tax cuts.  It could be expected that this process to be used at least once, if not twice, in the recently-convened 117th Congress. Additionally, as the tying vote holder in the Senate, Vice President Harris is expected to garner an enormous amount of influence over what comes to and passes the Senate Floor, making the policy objectives of the Biden Administration ever more imperative. Coronavirus relief, climate-change/energy, infrastructure, tax, social justice, and other prominent reform measures will all be strong candidates for the Biden Administration’s policy agenda and are likely to utilize said legislative budget reconciliation process in 2021.

Permits Required for Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021

RCRC’s partner, the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), will be issuing permits for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2021.  The Pacific Crest Trail Association had discussions with State Parks and the USDA Forest Service before deciding to issue permits.  As such, the PCTA announcement was released several days ago.

The PCTA decision to issue permits is in concert with a multi-faceted public education campaign about the risks and dangers of COVID-19. Of particular note to counties, those planning a trip on the Pacific Crest Trail must follow all local, state, and federal regulations related to COVID-19. Individuals may apply for a permit online, starting on January 19, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Learn how to apply for a permit here.

The PCTA has the highest expectation that the PCT community will carefully consider the many risks and will make smart decisions that minimize risks to themselves, other hikers, and communities along the trail. The PCTA is recommending that trail users seriously consider postponing long-distance travel on the PCT until 2022. 

For questions or additional information, please contact:

U.S. Forest Service PCT Administrator Beth Boyst

Pacific Crest Trail Association’s Director of Trail Operations Jennifer Tripp


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


Rural Regions Connect Virtual Conference - Sponsored by RCRC

RCRC is a proud sponsor of the Rural Regions Connect Virtual Conference taking place on Thursday, January 28th from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. This inaugural, daylong event is designed to help businesses in the 37 rural counties of California access leading experts in top industries to help them capitalize on disruptions and transformations begun in 2020 and accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a free, virtual event designed to work around your schedule and interests - you can select the sessions that most interest you and design a conference agenda that meets your needs. For more information, see the event flyer or go directly to the conference website.

The goal of the conference is to provide key information to assist with the business decision-making process, deliver sound advice on how to leverage new opportunities, and provide direct access to state, federal and international business services.  Speakers include key representatives from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, U.S. Department of Commerce, California Restaurant Association, U.S. Small Business Administration, and McKinsey & Company, among many others.  You can also sign up for individual no-cost consulting sessions with experts from the California Small Business Development Center Network, Sacramento Business Connect and SF Business Connect to discuss your particular business situation and opportunity. 

Register now!


CARB Announces One-Stop Regulatory Compliance Webinar For Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

On January 25, 2021 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is hosting a free virtual event, with one-on-one assistance available, on regulatory compliance, financial assistance, and new technologies. Presentation topics include: 

  • On-Road and Off-Road Regulations
  • Vehicle and Engine Certification and Compliance Program
  • Reporting into TRUCRS
  • Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program
  • Department of Motor Vehicles' Commercial Registration
  • CARB Enforcement Inspection Demonstration
  • California Highway Patrol's Basic Inspection of Terminals
  • New Vehicle Technology
  • Funding Opportunities

To register for this one day event, please see here


21st Annual North State 2021 Economic Forecast Conference, Sponsored in part by RCRC

RCRC is a proud sponsor of the 21st Annual North State 2021 Economic Forecast Conference, presented by the North State Planning and Development Collective at the California State University, Chico. The conference features panels on best practices in innovative education programs; strategies that combine digital and brick-and-mortar solutions for a changing consumer; and community planning for a changing retail/commercial climate. Hear from Rachel Michelin, CEO of the California Retailers Association; Dr. Robert Eyler, President of Economic Forensics and Analytics; and Bob Lanter, Executive Director of the California Workforce Association. 

Date: January 14, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More information is available hereClick here to register now.


California Water Commission Water Conveyance Public Workshops

The California Water Commission is conducting a series of public workshops as part of its efforts to assess a potential state role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate. The Commission encourages broad participation, with the goal of learning from diverse voices across the state. Workshops have already occurred for Southeastern California and Southern California have already.  For more information, visit the Programs and Topics page.

Workshop Schedule

All workshops are from 2:45-5 p.m. (entry to meeting site opens at 2:30 p.m.) 

Northern California – Tuesday, January 12, 2021 (register now)

Central California – Tuesday, January 26, 2021 (register now)


Job Opportunity- Calaveras County 

Calaveras County is seeking candidates for open positions, Community Health Assistant I/II/III. To learn more about what Calaveras County has to offer, watch this video. Apply by January 18, 2021. To apply, or for more information, see here.


Online Tool Connects Residents in High Risk Areas with a Pathway to Home Insurance

As a result of the work of the California Tree Mortality Task Force, in 2018, the California Insurance Commissioner issued a report containing recommendations to address homeowners’ insurance cancellations and non-renewals in tree mortality and other high fire risk areas. The report identified Yapacopia, a public benefit corporation, as the provider of a free online service connecting homeowners in high risk areas—even those who have been denied previously— with insurers, insurance agents, and brokers. The MatchUP Insurance Finder connects county residents with insurance providers quickly. A unique webpage has been created for each county, providing information, links, and useful tools. In addition, Yapacopia will provide a webinar for any county to discuss wildfire preparation and recovery, and insurance issues. More information about Yapacopia and the MatchUP Insurance Finder is available here.


GO-Biz Announces Cannabis Equity Grants Available for Local Jurisdictions

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced $15 million is available in Fiscal Year 2020-21 for cities and counties to promote equity and eliminate barriers to populations and communities that were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.  Local Jurisdictions may be awarded up to $75,000 for assistance on cannabis equity program development, or up to $5 million in assistance for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace.  Grant applications must be submitted by February 1, 2021. Grants will be awarded no later than May 14, 2021. For more information on this grant and how to apply, see here.


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.


ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry): Local Government Financing: Affordable Housing. ACA 1 would lower the vote threshold to 55 percent for approval of local bonded-indebtedness and specially dedicated taxes imposed for specified uses. Status: ACA 1 was recently introduced.  RCRC Status: Support

Assembly Bill 1 (C. Garcia): Hazardous Waste: Assembly Bill 1 Establishes several new governance, policy, and fiscal reforms to improve the Department of Toxic Substances Control, including significantly increasing several fees and repealing several important fee exemptions. Status: AB 1 has been recently introduced. RCRC Status: Pending

Senate Bill 4 (Gonzalez): Communications: California Advanced Services Fund. Senate Bill 4 would modernize and increase the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) by exploring ways to facilitate streamlining of local land use approvals and construction permit processes for projects related to broadband infrastructure deployment and connectivity. Status: SB 4 was recently introduced. RCRC Status: Support

Assembly Bill 33 (Ting): Natural Gas: Prohibits new public buildings from having natural gas connections and utilities from subsidizing natural gas line connections. Status: AB 33 has been recently introduced.  RCRC Status: Watch

Senate Bill 7 (Atkins): Jobs and Economic Improvement Environmental Leadership. Senate Bill 7 requires a lead agency to prepare a master environmental impact report (EIR) for a general plan, plan amendment, plan element, or specific plan for housing projects where the state has provided funding for the preparation of the master EIR. Allows for limited review of proposed subsequent housing projects that are described in the master EIR if the use of the master EIR is consistent with specified provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act. Status: SB 7 has been recently introduced. RCRC Status: Watch

Senate Bill 30 (Cortese): Building Decarbonization: Prohibits state agencies from designing or constructing a state facility that is connected to the natural gas grid and prohibits state agencies from funding projects for the construction of residential and nonresidential buildings that are connected to the natural gas grid. Status: Senate Bill 30 has been recently been introduced. RCRC Status: Pending

Senate Bill 38 (Wieckowski): Beverage Containers: Replaces the existing Beverage Container Recycling Program (Bottle Bill) with a new recycling program administered by beverage container manufacturers. Status: SB 38 has been recently introduced. RCRC Status: Pending

Senate Bill 42 (Wieckowski): Department of Toxic Substances Control:  Establishes a new Board of Environmental safety to oversee the Department of Toxic Substances Control, consider permit appeals, and propose regulatory changes and establishes an ombudsperson to make and receive public complaints and suggestions. Status: SB 42 has been recently introduced. SB 42 RCRC Status: Pending

Senate Bill 45 (Portantino): Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water Bond Act: Senate Bill 45 enacts the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in a specified amount pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance projects for a wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection program. Status: SB 45 has been recently introduced. RCRC Status: Pending

Senate Bill 52 (Dodd): State of Emergency: Power Outages. Senate Bill 52 clarifies that deenergization events (also known as PSPS events) qualify as events for which a state of emergency or local emergency can be declared under the California Emergency Services Act. Status: SB 52 was recently introduced. RCRC Status: Support

Senate Bill 55 (Stern): Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone: Development. Senate Bill 55 would prohibit all retail, commercial, industrial, or residential development in specified fire-prone areas of the state. RCRC Status: Oppose

Senate Bill 99 (Dodd): Community Energy Resilience Act of 2021: Senate Bill 99 requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to develop and implement a grant program for local governments to develop community energy resilience plans. Sets forth guiding principles for plan development, including equitable access to reliable energy and integration with other existing local planning documents. Status: SB 99 has been recently introduced. RCRC Status: Pending