The Barbed Wire - November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021
RCRC's Barbed Wire on Hiatus November 26th
State Releases Initial Broadband Middle-Mile Locations
RCRC Joins Others in Petitioning the CPUC to Modify the Existing BioMAT Program to Support Bioenergy Generation
DWR Releases New Round of Groundwater Sustainability Plans
House Science Committee Approves Wildfire Bill
CalRecycle Announces SB 1383 Organic Waste Local Assistance Grant Allocations
Infrastructure/Reconciliation Update
CalPERS Selects Investment Portfolio and Keeps Discount Rate at 6.8%
Republican Lawmakers File Bill to Tax and Regulate Cannabis

RCRC's Barbed Wire on Hiatus November 26th

Next Friday, November 26, 2021, RCRC's Barbed Wire will be on hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday. The newsletter will resume on December 2, 2021 to bring you the latest legislative and regulatory news impacting California's rural counties.

State Releases Initial Broadband Middle-Mile Locations

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the State release of initial project locations for state-owned middle-mile broadband deployment. The California Department of Technology's Middle-Mile Advisory Committee will approve a final map of all State middle-mile project areas by the end of 2021.  

The State identified the initial 18 project locations with the following objectives in mind: 

  • Meet the process requirements of SB 156, prioritizing unserved and under-served areas; 
  • Accelerate deployment of middle mile infrastructure given the time limits associated with American Rescue Plan Act funding sources; and, 
  • Leverage efficiencies with pending Caltrans construction projects.  

In July, the Governor signed into law SB 156, which authorized the development of a state-owned, open access middle-mile network. The law directs the California Department of Technology to plan and develop a statewide middle-mile infrastructure based on locations identified by the California Public Utilities Commission, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Once established, the network will serve as the backbone for connecting last-mile infrastructure to communities.   

RCRC continues to work with the State and agency partners on the implementation and roll out of Senate Bill 156. Additionally, RCRC has initiated the formation of Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) to leverage collective efforts on behalf of rural counties for last-mile network construction.   

Additional information regarding the initial middle-mile locations is available here and the Governor’s press release is available here

RCRC Joins Others in Petitioning the CPUC to Modify the Existing BioMAT Program to Support Bioenergy Generation

On Tuesday, the Rural County Representatives of California, the Bioenergy Association of California, and California Association of Sanitation Agencies submitted a joint petition to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requesting modifications to the existing BioMAT program, under which the state’s three large Investor Owned Utilities (IOUS) must procure a total of 250 MW of energy from small bioenergy projects. 

Under the program, if generators offer electricity under specified price points, the three IOUs must procure: 

  • 110 MW of power from biogas from wastewater treatment, municipal organic waste diversion, food process, and co-digestion
  • 90 MW from dairy and other agricultural bioenergy 
  • 50MW from bioenergy using biproducts of sustainable forest management 

 The Joint Petition seeks to: 

  • Extend the BioMAT program from 2025 to 2030
  • Allow smaller IOUs to participate in the BioMAT program, if they so choose
  • Modify the apportionment of the buckets among the IOUs  

The petition seeks to address several looming issues.  

First, the petition seeks to extend the program’s sunset date.  While the statutes creating the program did not include a sunset date, the CPUC created one, which it extended to 2025 in mid-2020.  With the phase-out of agricultural burning in the Central Valley and the opportunity for local governments to use small bioenergy facilities to comply with new CalRecycle organic waste procurement requirements, the 2025 sunset is impractical and should be extended to at least 2030. 

Second, under previous CPUC decisions, the state’s smaller IOUs cannot participate in the BioMAT program.  The petition seeks to allow those smaller IOUs, like Bear Valley Electric Service, Liberty Utilities, and PacifiCorp to participate if they so choose. 

Finally, the petition seeks to modify the allocation of the three buckets among IOUs so that PG&E can procure more ag-based bioenergy.  PG&E covers a large portion of the San Joaquin Valley, which must phase out the open burning of agricultural waste.  Small bioenergy facilities could play a role in managing those materials, but PG&E is quickly approaching its cap for dairy/agricultural bioenergy.  The petition seeks to give PG&E additional capacity for that bucket without increasing overall statewide obligations or costs. 

Please contact John Kennedy, RCRC Legislative Advocate, with any questions or if you are interested in supporting this petition. 

DWR Releases New Round of Groundwater Sustainability Plans

On Thursday, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released a new round of assessments of groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This week’s release included eight basins, while the first round of assessments, which were released in June, included four basins. 

The new release includes the approval of GSPs for the North and South Yuba Subbasins in Yuba County and the Oxnard Subbasin and Pleasant Valley Basin in Ventura County. In addition, DWR also notified groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) in the Eastern San Joaquin Subbasin, Merced Subbasin, Chowchilla Subbasin, and Westside Subbasin that their GSPs lack specific details and are not yet approved. DWR is notifying these agencies of the deficiencies in their plans, and final determinations will be made in January 2022. The assessments and notification letters can be viewed here on the DWR SGMA Portal. 

To provide additional information and context on these GSP assessments and notification letters, DWR has prepared a press release providing an overview of these assessments and has a GSP Evaluation fact sheet summarizing SGMA’s determination pathways for GSPs. SGMA lays out a process for continuous improvement, gathering information to fill data gaps, updating plans, and promoting science-based adaption to ensure GSAs are on track to meet their basins sustainability goals in 20 years. 

DWR encourages all SGMA interested parties to review the assessments and notification letters, and related materials. For any SGMA-related questions, please email DWR at: For additional information, contact Sidd Nag, RCRC Legislative Advocate. 

House Science Committee Approves Wildfire Bill

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a markup for, and subsequently passed by voice vote, the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act (H.R. 5781). The bill, sponsored by RCRC delegation representatives Jared Huffman (D- San Rafael), Jim Costa (D- Fresno), and Jimmy Panetta (D- Carmel Valley), “would establish a National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program intended to reduce losses of life and property from wildfires by boosting related research activities across various federal agencies.” During the markup, the committee considered a slew of amendments from members in both parties and adopted most of them by voice vote, including proposals to support active land and forest management, promote more resilient buildings and landscapes, and study the interaction between wildfires and climate change. Republicans on the committee expressed support for “the underlying goal of the legislation to improve the federal government’s access to scientific information about wildfires,” but expressed frustration that they were shut out of the bill’s drafting.

CalRecycle Announces SB 1383 Organic Waste Local Assistance Grant Allocations

On Monday, CalRecycle announced draft criteria for award of $60 million in SB 1383 organic waste recycling local assistance funding.  Under the program, local governments (cities, counties, regional or joint powers authorities, and special districts that provide solid waste collection services) can apply for funding on a non-competitive basis.  The Draft Criteria propose a base award of $20,000 for eligible entities, with remaining funds being distributed on a per capita basis. 

The Draft Criteria makes a wide variety of activities eligible for funding, including costs associated with collection (personnel, consultants, containers, training, vehicles), education and outreach, edible food recovery, capacity planning, procurement administration, and record keeping. 

Unlike other CalRecycle grant programs, the Draft Criteria does not propose requiring local governments to have an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing and Practices (EPPP) Policy in place to receive funds. 

CalRecycle proposes to release applications in January 2022 with a due date in February, and funds would be awarded in April. 

To qualify for the first round of funding, applicants must certify that they will adopt an enforceable ordinance pursuant to 14 CCR 18981.2 requiring generators, haulers, and other entities comply with the SB 1383 regulations.  

Please contact John Kennedy, RCRC Legislative Advocate, with any questions.

Infrastructure/Reconciliation Update

On Monday, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684). As the White House shifts its attention from passage to implementation of the infrastructure bill, it was announced that former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will be tasked with overseeing the process. It is expected that Landrieu will work closely with National Economic Council Director Brian Deese in appointing a group of aides to oversee this massive implementation task. The panel — which Biden established via an executive order — will be directed to disperse the $550 billion in new spending in alignment with administration priorities. These include prioritizing projects that use U.S. suppliers, offer union jobs, and are designed to withstand the impacts of climate change. 

In addition to implementation of the infrastructure package, President Biden must also now turn his attention to the second part of his economic agenda, the $1.75 trillion reconciliation package—the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376). At the request of moderate Democrats, a vote in the House on the reconciliation package had been awaiting the release of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate. By Thursday, the CBO released cost estimates for all thirteen titles of the bill, which found $1.636 trillion of spending, while raising $1.269 trillion in revenue over 10 years and adding $367 billion to U.S. budget deficits over the decade. The White House disagreed with this estimate, circulating its own rival score for the bill showing a $112.5 billion deficit decrease. The difference in the estimate stems from a disagreement on how much increased tax collection can result from expanding the Internal Revenue Service’s budget. Republicans have used the CBO estimate to argue that the bill will increase inflation, stifle job creation, foster dependency on the government, and add to the national debt.  

On Thursday evening, House Democrats brought the Build Back Better Act to the floor for a vote but were faced with a record-breaking floor speech from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who ended his speech at 5:11 a.m. The House returned on Friday morning and successfully passed the bill, sending it to the Senate. Changes to the bill are expected in the Senate where Democrats have yet to line up the 50 votes they need to pass it using the filibuster-proof budget process known as reconciliation.   

CalPERS Selects Investment Portfolio and Keeps Discount Rate at 6.8%

Over a year-long process known as the Asset Liability Management (ALM) process, CalPERS reviewed investment portfolio options, including the discount rate - the target rate of return for investment portfolios - and the factors that go into this significant decision. RCRC and CSAC hosted a webinar on September 23, 2021, presenting counties with an update and the opportunity to discuss the discount rate with the CalPERS Deputy Chief Actuary before the Board’s final decision was slated to be made in November.  

The CalPERS Board narrowed down the potential discount rates to 6.5, 6.8, and 7.0% and evaluated various options for investment portfolios that can produce those expected returns. The final selection was voted on at the November 15 meeting. The CalPERS Board of Administration selected portfolio B2, which sets the discount rate at 6.8% with a 5% leverage. RCRC has been engaged throughout the year-long process and provided testimony at the November 15 meeting, emphasizing the importance of predictability and stabilized contributions for counties.  A lower level of volatility helps our counties better plan for the future. The new asset allocation takes effect on July 1, 2022. For more information regarding this decision, visit CalPERS News (CalPERS Board Selects New Asset Allocation for Investment Portfolio, Keeps Discount Rate at 6.8% - CalPERS). 

Republican Lawmakers File Bill to Tax and Regulate Cannabis

On Monday, several Republican members of Congress introduced a bill to federally legalize and tax marijuana. The bill was presented as an alternative to pending Democratic-led reform proposals. Unlike previous GOP cannabis proposals, the States Reform Act — introduced by Representative Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) and co-sponsored by RCRC Delegation Representative Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) — includes a variety of Democrat-supported equity provisions such as expungements for people with non-violent cannabis convictions and imposing an excise tax on cannabis sales. The proposed bill was well-received amongst longtime Democrat legalization advocates as well as some conservative cannabis groups such the Koch brothers-backed Cannabis Freedom Alliance. 


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


California Redistricting Commission Draft Map Input Meetings

The California Redistricting Commission (CRC) released draft maps on November 10, 2021. Participate in an upcoming CRC Draft Map Public Input Meetings through November 23, 2021 to provide your feedback to the Commission.

Here's what you can expect during the public input meetings. 

  • Appointments for these meetings are full.
  • Appointments are not required to participate in these meetings.
  • The Commission will allow for non-appointment public comment at the end of each meeting day.
  • Participating in the Draft Map Public Input Meetings is not the only way to provide input to the Commission. Use the Commission's Draft Map Feedback Form or visit to see other ways to provide input to the Commission.

Upcoming Draft Map Public Input Meetings

Date: Friday, November 19
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Senate District Feedback
see all call information and details here

Date: Saturday, November 20, 2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Board of Equalization & Any District Feedback
view all call information and details here

Date: Monday, November 22, 2021
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Any District Feedback
view all call information and details here

Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Any District Feedback
view all call information and details here


Career Opportunities

  • Reclamation District 1500 (RD1500) and Sutter Mutual Water Company (SMWC) Seek General Manager

The Board of Trustees of Reclamation District 1500 (RD1500) and the Board of Directors of Sutter Mutual Water Company (SMWC), separate organizations, are seeking a common General Manager who reports to the respective Boards and is responsible for implementing the policies of the respective organizations as well as managing Basin Irrigation and Drainage Authority (BIDA), a joint powers authority created to comprehensively manage the activities of RD1500 and SMWC. The position closes December 19, 2021. See the job description here. For more information, please email Bob Thomas of TERM Strategies.

  • California Farm Bureau Federation Seeks Political Affairs Program Coordinator 

The California Farm Bureau Federation is seeking a Program Coordinator for the Political Affairs Division to provide support to the Director of Political Affairs and Political Affairs department by assisting with campaign reporting, fundraising, grassroots activities, and special events to further the California Farm Bureau’s political objectives and grow its political presence at the state and federal level. For additional information and instructions to apply, see the job description here.

  • Yolo County Seeks Sustainability Coordinator

Yolo County invites applications for the position of Sustainability Coordinator. The incumbent is responsible for the day-to-day effective operations and coordination of the County’s Sustainability Plan, Climate Action Plan, General Plan-related sustainability initiatives, and others as necessary.  The position closes December 6, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. For details and application instructions, see the job posting here.

  • Tehama County Seeks Chief Administrator

Tehama County is seeking a Chief Administrator who will proactively and energetically serve as a leader in carrying out Board policies, and who will be creative in bringing forth options to solve problems. The position closes November 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. View the recruitment flyer, and for more information click here.

  • Yolo Land Trust Seeks Development and Outreach Coordinator

The Yolo Land Trust is recruiting for a Development & Outreach Coordinator to join its small, but mighty team. The position is responsible for the planning, coordination, and operation of the Yolo Land Trust’s development and communication programs; serves as the lead staff for the Land Trust’s community and fundraising events and for the digital communications about the organization; and provides administrative support as needed. For additional information or to apply, view the job announcement here. This position is open until filled.


CDFA Healthy Soils Program Incentives Funding Available

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has opened up their applications for the Healthy Soils Program (HSP) Incentives Funding! The funding is distributed on a first come-first serve basis so get your application in as soon as possible to participate. The HSP is currently accepting grant applications until February 25, 2022 or until funds are expended.

The HSP Incentives Program provides financial incentives to California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve soil health.

Do you need help with the HSP application? 

Click here for more information about Healthy Soils Program.


California Air Resources Board Offers Webinars on Regulatory Compliance Training

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is offering a variety of training webinars for regulatory compliance on issues affecting public fleets such as Off-Road Regulations, Truck and Bus Rules, and Diesel Truck Rules. 

The In-Use Off-Road Diesel-Fueled Fleets Regulation (Off-Road Regulation) requires fleet owners to report to CARB, label their off-road vehicles, and reduce emissions from older equipment.  This course provides detailed information to help fleet owners understand and comply with the Off-Road Regulation: 

Date:        December 9, 2021
Time:        1:00 p.m.
Webinar:   Register

The Compliance Overview: Truck & Bus Rule, Off-Road Regulation, and Portable Equipment course include the following topics:

Truck and Bus Regulation:

  • Regulation Applicability
  • Engine Model Year Schedule
  • Exemptions & Extensions
  • How to Report for Regulation Flexibilities
  • Broker and Dispatcher Requirements
  • DMV Registration

Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP):

  • Regulation Applicability
  • Program Updates

Advanced Clean Truck (ACT)

  • Manufacturers ZEV Sales Requirements
  • One-Time Reporting
  • Future ZEV Rules

In-Use Off-Road Diesel Vehicle Regulation:

  • Regulation Applicability
  • Requirements Currently in Effect
  • Future Compliance Deadlines

Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) & Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM):

  • PERP Eligibility
  • Program Requirements
  • ATCM Program & Updates
  • Enforcement & Inspections

Date:        December 16, 2021
Time:        1:00 p.m.
Webinar:   Register


GO-Biz Cannabis Equity Grants Available for Eligible Local Jurisdictions

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced $35 million is available in FY 2021-22 for eligible cities and counties to promote equity and eliminate barriers to populations and communities that were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. Local jurisdictions can be awarded up to $75,000 for assistance on cannabis equity program development, or up to $7 million for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace. Grant applications must be received by December 13, 2021 and will be awarded no later than March 15, 2022. For more information on this grant and how to apply, see here


FEMA Announces Application Period for 2021 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began accepting applications on September 30, 2021 for $1.16 billion in FY 2021 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants, providing localities the opportunity to receive Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grants. These grants recognize the growing hazards of extreme weather events and the need for risk mitigation activities to promote climate adaptation and resilience. The financial assistance through the BRIC program may fund state and local government pre-disaster capability and capacity building activities, mitigation projects, and cover management costs.

FEMA informational webinars can be accessed here, and more information can be viewed here or at The FEMA application period closes on January 28, 2022


Access the State Grants Portal for a Multitude of Funding Opportunities

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to public agencies and other entities, including tribes and businesses. Grant seekers can access a centralized portal of grant and loan opportunities here, or sign up to receive new grant opportunities delivered straight to your inbox. 


Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.


Laura Brewer, of Nevada City, has been appointed to the Court Reporters Board of California. Brewer has been a Communication Access Realtime Translation Captioner and Court Reporter as a Sole Practitioner since 1992. She was a Communication Access Realtime Translation Captioner and Court Reporter at Brewer & Darrenougue from 1990 to 2017. Brewer was a Court Reporter as a Sole Practitioner from 1981 to 1992. Brewer is a member of the Deposition Reporters Association of California, the National Court Reporters Association and Intersteno. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Brewer is a Democrat.


Jessica Lynne Holmes, of Roseville, has been appointed Chief Deputy Executive Director at the State Board of Education. Holmes has been Assistant Program Budget Manager at the California Department of Finance since 2018 and served as a Principal Program Budget Analyst and Finance Budget Analyst there from 2013 to 2018. She was a Math Teacher at Futures High School from 2007 to 2013. Holmes was Staff Services Analyst at the California Health and Human Services Agency from 2006 to 2007. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $194,004. Holmes is registered without party preference.

Renee C. Nash, of Granite Bay, has been appointed to the Commission on State Mandates. Nash was a Partner at Hunt Jeppson & Griffin from 2015 to 2018. She was General Counsel at Professional Education Services from 2000 to 2015. Nash was Owner at the Law Office of Renee C. Nash from 1997 to 2000 and General Counsel at News and Review Publishing from 1996 to 1997. Nash was Corporate Counsel at McClatchy Publishing Inc. from 1995 to 1996 and an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law from 1993 to 2007. Nash held several positions at the California Newspaper Publishers Association from 1990 to 1995, including Legal Counsel and Legislative Advocate. Nash is a member of the California School Boards Association Board of Directors and the Roseville Theater Arts Academy. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Nash is a Republican.


Gavin Payne, of San Luis Obispo, has been appointed to the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Governing Board. Payne has been Principal at GPC Advisors LLC. since 2016. He was Director of United States Policy, Advocacy and Communications at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2013 to 2016. Payne was Chief Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Department of Education from 2003 to 2010. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Payne is a Democrat.


Leonardo Rodriguez, of Kelseyville, has been appointed to the California Student Aid Commission. Rodriguez has been Student Trustee at Mendocino College since 2021 and a student at the college since 2019. He has been Student Trustee at the California Community Colleges League since 2021. Rodriguez has been a Registered Behavioral Technician at Autism Intervention Professionals since 2019. He was a Cashier at La Monarca from 2018 to 2021 and a Construction Worker Assistant at Bridges Construction Inc. in 2019. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Rodriguez is a Democrat.