Friday, May 21, 2021, marked the last day for fiscal committees to meet and either pass or hold fiscal bills which had been placed on the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees’ Suspense Files this legislative session. Several hundred bills were addressed on the Suspense Files, and the following are of particular interest to RCRC:
Bills Held in Appropriations Committees
Assembly Bill 377 (R. Rivas) would have established new state water quality standards more stringent and difficult to enforce than current state water quality rules.
Assembly Bill 1434 (Friedman) would have significantly accelerated the schedule for reducing indoor residential domestic water use standards by 2030.
Senate Bill 223 (Dodd) would have prohibited small community water system operators from discontinuing service in cases of nonpayment.
Bills Passed in Appropriations Committees
Assembly Bill 32 (Aguiar-Curry) would make permanent telehealth flexibilities enacted during the pandemic, including payment parity for Audio-only visits. RCRC is in support of this measure.
Assembly Bill 37 (Berman) would make California a statewide universal vote-by-mail state.
Assembly Bill 252 (R. Rivas) would establish the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Incentive Program at Dept. of Conservation for compensating landholders converting ag-producing lands into other specified uses in order to meet local groundwater sustainability plans.
Assembly Bill 428 (Mayes), which would require that term limits imposed on county boards of supervisors be for no fewer than two terms, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assembly Bill 431 (Patterson), which would extend timber harvest plan exemptions for tree removal activities done to comply with state defensible space requirements, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assembly Bill 754 (Mathis) would authorize Dept. of Water Resources to extend the statutory deadline for submitting high- and medium-priority basin plans by up to 180 days.
Assembly Bill 1139 (Gonzalez) seeks to replace the existing net energy metering tariff for rooftop solar with a new tariff under which utilities will pay the owners of rooftop solar far less for the energy produced by those systems. AB 1139 seeks to address substantial cost shifting between solar and non-solar utility customers, but in doing so will substantially increase electrical bills for solar customers. The bill also deems all rooftop solar projects to be “public works” projects for which prevailing wages must be paid.
Assembly Bill 1346 (Berman and Gonzalez) would require the California Air Resources Board to adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations by July 1, 2022 on new small off-road engines produced after January 1, 2024 to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions. Small off-road engines include lawn, garden and outdoor power equipment at or below 19 kilowatts.
Assembly Bill 1431 (Frazier), an RCRC sponsored bill that would codify various portions of the 2018 California Forest Carbon Plan, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Senate Bill 37 (Cortese) eliminates the ability to use a “common sense exemption” under the California Environmental Quality Act for any projects undertaken at over 40,000 sites throughout the state that appear on the Cortese List of currently or formerly contaminated properties. The bill will require discretionary projects with no environmental impact at those locations (including many local corp yards, fire stations, airports, etc.) to undergo an initial assessment and prepare a negative declaration. RCRC has major concerns with the bill and is working with the author to address those problems.
Senate Bill 38 (Wieckowski) replaces the existing Beverage Container Recycling Program (Bottle Bill) with a new recycling program administered by beverage container manufacturers, requires all retailers with over $4 million in annual sales to redeem consumer beverage containers, increases the CRV from $0.05 to $0.10 per container, and repeals the $10.5 million annually set aside for payments to cities and counties to address recycling and litter. While RCRC is strongly supportive of efforts to increase consumer redemption opportunities, RCRC objects to doubling the CRV and repealing city/county payments and so has an “Oppose unless Amended” position on the bill.
Senate Bill 99 (Dodd) establishes a new grant program at the Energy Commission to help local governments develop and implement community energy resilience plans and expedite the permitting of projects to improve local energy reliability. RCRC is strongly supportive of SB 99 and has been an active participant in refining the bill to better accomplish the author’s objectives.
Senate Bill 335 (Cortese) would substantially cuts the amount of time available to California employers to review whether claimed workplace injuries are, in fact, related to work. For most claims the investigation period is reduced from 90 to 45 days. For claims covered by legal presumptions the investigation period is reduced even further to 30 days. This measure is problematic for public agencies and RCRC working in with California employers coalition in opposition to the bill.
Senate Bill 552 (Hertzberg) would, among other provisions, would require counties to establish a County Drought Task Force, or enact an equivalent drought emergency response plan.
Senate Bill 533 (Stern) requires utilities to discuss in their Wildfire Mitigation Plans efforts to improve their electrical systems, focused on those areas and assets that have been deenergized the greatest number of times. RCRC is strongly supporting SB 533 as a way to ensure that PSPS events are phased out as utilities upgrade their electrical systems.
Please contact the RCRC Government Affairs staff at (916) 447-4806 with any questions.