The Barbed Wire - September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019
Register for RCRC’s 2019 Annual Meeting in El Dorado County!!!
RCRC Leadership in Washington D.C. to Advocate for Federal Payments In-Lieu of Taxes
2019 Legislative Session Wraps Up
Governor Newsom Signs RCRC-Supported Legislation Related to Post-Fire Residential Rebuilding
State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction
Waters of the United States

Register for RCRC’s 2019 Annual Meeting in El Dorado County!!!

Have you registered for RCRC’s 2019 Annual Meeting?  This year’s conference will be held September 25-27 at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel in El Dorado County.  This year’s program will feature experts discussing a wide range of topics on critical issues shaping California’s future.  Read More…

RCRC Leadership in Washington D.C. to Advocate for Federal Payments In-Lieu of Taxes

This week, RCRC Chair Matt Kingsley (Inyo County), RCRC First Vice Chair Daron McDaniel (Merced), and RCRC Board Member and National Association of Counties (NACo) Western Interstate Region (WIR) President Kevin Cann (Mariposa County) joined RCRC staff for NACo’s annual Payments In-Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Fly-In in Washington, D.C.  

This joint effort by Supervisors and Commissioners from around the United States allows county officials to spend time on Capitol Hill informing members of Congress and key staff of the importance of Federal PILT payments to counties.  Supervisor Cann’s Capitol Hill briefing can be accessed here.

Federal PILT provides payments to counties to help offset losses in property tax revenues due to nontaxable federal lands within their jurisdictions.  Federal PILT funding is vital for many of the nation's counties to continue providing critical programs and services to rural communities.

2019 Legislative Session Wraps Up

Upon adjournment, Friday September 13th marks the end of the 2019 Legislative Session.  Since reconvening for the final five weeks, the Legislature heard and took final action on hundreds of bills, including renter protection and immunization.  The Governor has until October 13, 2019 to address and consider bills that have reached his desk.  Bills enacted take effect January 1, 2020.  

RCRC staff will continue to monitor outstanding bills during the final hours of session.  The RCRC Board of Directors will receive a full update on the status of key bills of interest at the September RCRC Board of Directors meeting in El Dorado County.  The Legislature will reconvene on January 6, 2020 to kick-off the 2020 Legislative Session. 

For more information regarding state legislative activities, please contact the RCRC Governmental Affairs staff at (916) 447-4806.

Governor Newsom Signs RCRC-Supported Legislation Related to Post-Fire Residential Rebuilding

Late last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 178, authored by Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber).  AB 178 exempts post-fire residential rebuilding from recently-adopted California Energy Commission (CEC) solar energy installation mandates.  

RCRC member counties contain much of California’s forested lands and have suffered the vast majority of the State’s most catastrophic wildfire events in the last decade. Many of these fires also occurred in some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of the State, where economic resources to mitigate the impacts of such disasters and aid residents with recovery are extremely limited.

The CEC recently required all new residential buildings built after January 1, 2020 to be equipped with solar photovoltaic systems. Since post-fire rebuilding is considered “new construction” and must adhere to the current building standards at the time of rebuilding, this new mandate could add significant cost to the price of rebuilding for homeowners who already lack the resources to rebuild their homes.

AB 178 exempts post-fire residential rebuilding that meets certain requirements from this mandate.  RCRC’s support letter can be accessed here.

State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction

On Thursday, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee reached an agreement on legislation which would restore a state income tax deduction that was reduced in the 2017 Republican tax law.  “An agreement on the outline of a plan” was reached, according to House Ways and Means Select Revenues Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-Napa), on legislation to reverse Republicans’ repeal of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction.  

The bill, HR 2624, would raise the SALT cap for individuals to $12,000 and to $24,000 for married couples.  Introduced by Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-New Jersey), the “SALT Relief and Marriage Penalty Elimination Act” has three cosponsors including Representative Gil Cisneros (D-Orange County).

HR 2624 would offset the lost revenue from the SALT deduction by raising the individual and corporate rates from their post-tax cuts level.  The bill has two Republican cosponsors from the State of New York (Representatives Elise Stefanik and Peter King) but the majority of Republicans are expected to oppose legislation that would repeal their landmark tax reform. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has indicated in the past he is opposed to restoring the SALT deduction.

The compromise among committee Democrats is a sign of progress for supporters of the SALT deduction, but a complete repeal of Republican reforms will be difficult to enact unless Democrats claim a majority in both the House and Senate in 2020.

Waters of the United States

The Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will repeal the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  President Trump originally ordered the repeal in a 2017 executive order and was a critic of the Obama-era environmental regulation throughout his 2016 presidential campaign.  EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the repeal this week and is expected to propose leaner regulations for wetlands before the end of 2019.  

Regulations for the implementation of the CWA will return to their pre-2015 rules, prior to the introduction of WOTUS.  Environmental groups and state attorneys general immediately opposed the repeal.  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra threatened to challenge the ruling.  WOTUS has been held up in courts for years and its repeal will not impact the day to day enforcement of the CWA but EPA Administrator Wheeler claims the proposed rule will provide “regulatory certainty” for businesses and local communities.

The EPA is expected to release the replacement regulations for WOTUS before the end of the year. In his 2017 executive order, President Trump directed the EPA to model the new regulations after an opinion from the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  The deceased justice followed a more narrow interpretation of the authority granted under CWA which would call for a lighter regulatory approach.


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


CalPERS Hosts 20th Annual Education Forum

The 2019 CalPERS Educational Forum will take place October 28-30 at the Oakland Marriott City Center.  During this forum you will can:

  • Attend customized educational sessions
  • Connect one-on-one with CalPERS experts
  • Discuss important issues facing your organization
  • Earn Continuing Education Credit
  • Meet CalPERS leaders
  • Network with colleagues from around the state

Details can be accessed here.


Range Management Advisory Committee (RMAC) Hosts Sustainable Vegetation Management, Grazing for Fuel Reduction Workshop

On September 16th, 2019, the Range Management Advisory Committee (RMAC) will be hosting a workshop to address sustainable vegetation management and the use of grazing as a fuels reduction tool to help prevent catastrophic wildfires.  The workshop will be hosted in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium in Sacramento, and will also be available via live webinar for remote attendees.  Details on the workshop can be accessed here, and the agenda can be accessed here.


Funding Opportunity: Northern California Forests and Watersheds Program

Click here


Placer County Seeks Environmental Resources Specialist

Click here

California Association of County Executives Seeks Executive Director



Imperial County Seeks County Counsel

Click here

Center for Economic Development Hosts Fall Regional Economic Summit – North State Connected, Broadband for Rural Communities

Click here

Shasta County Seeks County Executive Officer

Click here


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


Jose “Moke” Simon III, 47, of Middletown, has been appointed to the State Board of Fire Services. Simon has been district 1 county supervisor for Lake County since 2017. He has served as tribal chairman at the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California since 1997. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Simon is a Democrat.  


RCRC members are encouraged to share letters addressed to state and federal representatives and regulatory bodies with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.  Click “Read More” to access information related to the current status of legislation and regulations impacting California’s rural counties. 


Assembly Bill 256 (Aguiar-Curry): California Winer Rice Habitat Incentive. Assembly Bill 256 revises the provisions of the California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program (CWRHIP). Status: AB 256 passed in the Senate, and now awaits concurrence in the Assembly. RCRC Status: Support

Assembly Bill 352 (Garcia): Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water.  Assembly Bill 352 enacts the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $3,920,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance a wildlife prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection program. Status: AB 352 awaits consideration in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. RCRC Status: Watch

Assembly Bill 658 (Arambula): Groundwater Management. Assembly Bill 658 authorizes a groundwater sustainability or local agency to apply fora conditional temporary permit for diversion of surface water to underground storage for beneficial use that advances the sustainability goal of a groundwater basin. Status: AB 658 passed in the Senate, and now awaits concurrence in the Assembly. RCRC Status: Pending

Assembly Bill 1516 (Friedman): Fire Prevention: Defensible Space Fuel Reduction. Assembly Bill 1516 would make various changes to improve California’s fire prevention policies including its defensible space requirements. Status: AB 1516 awaits consideration of the Governor.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1588 (Gloria): Drinking Water and Wastewater Operator Certification. Assembly Bill 1588 requires the State Water Resources Control Board to evaluate opportunities to issue a water treatment operator certificate or water distribution operator certificate by reciprocity, or a wastewater certificate by examination waiver, to persons who performed duties comparable to those duties while serving in the United States military. Status: AB 1588 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1816 (Daly): Insurance. Assembly Bill 1816 requires insurers to notify homeowners 75 days in advance of a nonrenewal after July 1, 2020. Status: AB 1816 passed in the Senate and awaits concurrence in the Assembly. 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 of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 45 (Allen): Wildfire, Drought, and Flood Protection Bond Act 2020. Senate Bill 45 enacts the Wildfire, Drought, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020, which, if approved by voters, authorizes the issuance of bonds to finance projects to restore fire damaged areas, reduce wildfire risk, create healthy forests and watersheds, reduce climate impacts on urban areas and vulnerable populations, protect water supply and water quality, protect rivers, lakes and streams, reduce flood risk, protect fish and wildlife from climate impacts, and protect coastal lands and resources. Status: SB 45 awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. RCRC Status: Support

Senate Bill 190 (Dodd): Fire Safety: Building Standards. Senate Bill 190 creates a model defensible space program for local governments and requires the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) to provide training resources for local building officials, builders, and fire service personnel to improve building fire safety standards. Status: SB 190 awaits consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 209 (Dodd): California Wildfire Forecast and Threat Center: Intelligence Integration. Senate Bill 209 establishes the CWFTIIC to conduct fire weather forecasting and threat assessment to aid in wildfire prevention and response. Status: SB 209 awaits consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 559 (Hurtado): California Water Commission: Grant: Friant-kern Canal. Senate Bill 559 requires the grant to be part of a comprehensive solution to groundwater sustainability and subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley and would require the joint powers authority to demonstrate a funding match of at least 35 percent from user fees, local sources, federal funding, or a combination of these sources. Status: SB 559 failed passaged in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. RCRC Position: Support