The Barbed Wire - September 7, 2018

September 7, 2018
Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!
Farm Bill Update
Federal Budget Update

Register for RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Napa!!!

RCRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held September 19-21 at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa in Napa County.  This year’s program will feature experts discussing a wide range of topics of interest to rural counties, including school safety, the changing face of media, the current political landscape, and more.  Read More…


This week, RCRC First Vice Chair Randy Hanvelt (Tuolumne County) and RCRC Board Member and National Association of Counties (NACo) Western Interstate Region (WIR) First Vice President Kevin Cann (Mariposa County) joined Paul A. Smith, RCRC Vice President Governmental Affairs, and supervisors and commissioners from around the United States to advocate for continuing the Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. 

This joint effort, known as the NACo PILT Fly-In, allows county officials to spend time on Capitol Hill informing members of Congress and key staff of the importance of these payments to counties. 

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.

In March, Congress approved a $530 million appropriation for Federal PILT payments, a $65 million increase over 2017 funding levels.  Much of the reason for the significant increase is due to a lack of the Secure Rural Schools & Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) payments prior to 2017.  The complex Federal PILT calculation formula accounts for an absence in SRS payments. 

While California’s counties received their Federal PILT authorization in June, future Federal PILT payments – including 2019 – will need to be secured through the federal budget process.  Supervisor Cann and Supervisor Hanvelt joined their NACo colleagues to urge Congress to fully fund Federal PILT for 2019, and support permanent funding for the future. 

Farm Bill Update

The Farm Bill Conference Committee held its first meeting on Wednesday.  All 56 members of the Committe were in attendance, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees provided opening remarks.  The conferees took the meeting as an opportunity to articulate their support for specific Farm Bill programs that benefit for their district.  

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) led the remarks along with the remainder of the conference committee leadership.  With only ten legislative days remaining before funding expires, the conference leaders emphasized rural America’s sense of urgency, and called on their colleagues to negotiate bipartisan solutions to the remaining conflicts between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill.  Bipartisan cooperation was a central theme throughout the meeting, but some members continued to drive their party line on key issues that are dividing Congress.

One such issue is the forestry title of the Farm Bill where House Republicans continue to push for forestry management reforms over opposition from Democrats and environmental groups. Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who is both the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee, urged the conference to include the forestry title of the House bill in the final legislation. The House version includes portions of Representative Bruce Westerman’s (R-Arkansas) forest management reform bill, HR 2936 the Resilient Federal Forests Act, which grants forest management projects categorical exemptions from environmental regulations.  Representative Bishop’s remarks were echoed by Representative Westerman, who also sits on the Conference Committee.  Representative Westerman asked his colleagues to adopt his language to grant foresters more tools to improve forest health and reduce wildfires.

Thirteen Republican senators wrote to the leaders of the Farm Bill Conference Committee that same day asking that forest management reforms are included in the 2018 Farm Bill.  The letter was signed by a coalition of senators who have supported forest management reform in recent legislation such as Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Thune (R-South Dakota), and nine other senators from western states that are impacted by wildfires.  The signees urge the Conference Committee to include the following policies:

  • Facilitate the use of Good Neighbor Authority by expanding it to counties and tribes and codifying existing practices concerning the flow of contributions and receipts associated with these projects.
  • Accelerate post-fire restoration and reforestation projects through either a new categorical exclusion or by applying Sections 104 and 106 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) to post-fire projects carried out under the Forest Service’s existing Emergency Situation Determination authority.
  • Establish a new categorical exclusion for projects that restore watersheds and protect water quality. 

Rural broadband was also a topic of discussion during the Farm Bill Conference Committee meeting.  Members from rural areas such as Representative John Shimkus (R-Illinois) called on the Conference Committee to include language in the 2018 Farm Bill that expands federal support for rural broadband deployment projects.

Federal Budget Update

House members returned to Washington this week after spending the month of August in recess.  Congress only has a few legislative days remaining before the end of the fiscal year. 

The House and Senate are working quickly to approve a new federal budget for Fiscal 2019, but Congress is not expected to pass new budget before current funding expires after Fiscal 2018 ends on September 30, 2018. Congress would therefore pass a stopgap spending measure, known as a Continuing Resolution, to keep the government funded temporarily and avoid a government shutdown.

The Senate approved nine of 12 spending bills while the House adjourned for the month of August.  The House and Senate spending bills contain significant differences and the two chambers are anticipating a lengthy negotiation process to reach agreement on the final versions of the appropriations bills.


RCRC Staff Join Local Government Commission Fellowship Training

On Thursday, RCRC Economic Development staff attended the Local Government Commission’s Fellowship training in Sacramento.  Ninety fellows have been located throughout the state of California for the 2018/19 year, working in 24 of California’s 58 Counties. 

Of the 24 Counties, 12 of them fall under RCRC’s membership.  The following 12 counties have fellows located in their areas:

  • San Luis Obispo
  • Humboldt
  • Imperial
  • Butte
  • Siskiyou
  • Lake
  • Madera
  • Merced
  • Yolo
  • Nevada
  • Placer
  • Mono

RCRC staff met with the fellows located in Rural California to discuss RCRC’s mission, and to offer support and guidance.  RCRC Staff provided draft copies of the County Economic and Demographic Profiles to the fellows for their use. 


The Rural Rundown discusses the legislative and regulatory issues impacting California’s rural counties, featuring commentary and interviews from individuals committed to improving the quality of life in rural California. 

The Rural Rundown can be accessed here


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

USDA to Implement Regulatory Reforms to Increase Access to Capital in Rural Areas

Earlier this week, USDA Rural Development announced an effort to streamline the application process of four loan guarantee programs, as well as incorporate modern lending practices, accelerate loan approval process, and increase the amount of capital available in rural communities. The Rural Development Innovation Center will be hosting regional listening sessions to solicit comments on the reforms.  The western region session will be held Monday, September 10, 2018 from 9:00 am – 11:30 am (Pacific Daylight Time).  

To join the meeting virtually, click here.  For a complete list of dates and times of other listening sessions, click here.

Sierra County Seeks Chief Technology Officer

Click here


RCRC members are encouraged to share letters addressed to state and federal representatives and regulatory bodies with RCRC’s Government Affairs staff.  

Assembly Bill 893 (Garcia): California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program. Assembly Bill 893 would require each retail seller of electricity and each local publicly owned electric utility to procure a proportionate share, as determined by the Public Utilities Commission, in consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, of electricity products from a statewide total of 3,500 megawatts of geothermal generation capacity. Status: AB 893 failed passage on the Senate Floor. RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 1875 (Wood): Residential Property Insurance.  Assembly Bill 1875 would require an insurer to offer extended replacement cost coverage when issuing or renewing a policy of residential property insurance and requires the insurer to disclose the premium costs for extended replacement cost coverage. Status: AB 1875 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support.

Assembly Bill 1919 (Wood): Price Gouging: State of Emergency. Assembly Bill 1919 would make it a misdemeanor, upon proclamation or declaration of an emergency to increase the monthly rental price advertised, offered or charged for residential housing to an existing or prospective tenant by more than a specified percentage or greater than the rental price advertised, offered, or charged within 30 days immediately prior to the date of the proclamation or disaster. Status: AB 1919 awaits the consideration of the Governor.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 1954 (Patterson): Timber Harvest Plans: Exemption: Flammable Materials. Assembly Bill 1954 would delete the inoperative date of an exemption from some or all provisions of the Forest Practices Act of 1973 concerning a person engaged in specified forest management activities. Status: AB 1954 has been signed into law by the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2050 (Caballero): Small System Water Authority Act of 2018.  Assembly Bill 2050 would create the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018 and state legislative findings and declarations relating to authorizing the creation of small system water authorities that will have powers to absorb, improve, and competently operate noncompliant public water systems. Defines various terms and requires a change in organization to be carried out as set forth in the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000. Status: AB awaits the consideration of the Governor.  RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2348 (Aguiar-Curry): Winter-Flooded Rice: Incentives. Assembly Bill 2348 would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would provide an incentive to farmers to maintain winter-flooded rice. Status:  AB 2348 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2447 (Reyes): California Environmental Quality Act: Land Use. Assembly Bill 2447 would require the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to publish a list of subject land uses and a map that identifies disadvantaged communities and areas within 1/2 mile radius of the disadvantaged communities. Requires a lead agency to provide certain notices to owners and occupants of property located within one-half mile of any parcel or parcels, and to any schools located within one mile of any parcel or parcels, involving a subject land use. Status: AB 2447 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Concerns

Assembly Bill 2518 (Aguiar-Curry): Innovative Forest Products and Mass Timber. Assembly Bill 2518 would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in collaboration with the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, to explore markets, including export markets, for milling, development, and expansion of innovative forest products and mass timber, that require consistence with the state's climate objectives on forest lands. Status: AB 2518 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2594 (Friedman): Fire Insurance. Assembly Bill 2594 would revise the standard forms of policy and extend the period in which to bring suit to 24 months after the inception of the loss if the loss is related to a state of emergency, as specified. Status: AB 2594 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Assembly Bill 2805 (Bigelow): Wild Pig Validation. Assembly Bill 2805 would revise and recast the provisions applicable to wild pigs by, among other things, specifying that the wild pig is not a game mammal or non-game mammal. Expands the definition of wild pig to include feral pigs, European wild boars, and any pig that has 2 or more specified phenotypical characteristics and that does not have a permanent mark or visible tag, as specified. Replaces the wild pig tag requirement with a wild pig validation. Status: AB failed passage on the Senate Floor. RCRC Position:  Pending

Assembly Bill 2908 (Berman): Tire Recycling: California Tire Regulatory Fee. AB 2908 would amend the California Tire Recycling Act. Requires, upon a specified finding by the Department of Resources and Recycling and Recovery, a waste tire generator, that is a retail seller of new tires to end user purchasers, to pay a state tire regulatory fee and to remit that fee to the state on a quarterly schedule for a deposit in the California Tire Recycling Management Fund. Requires the Department to track revenue from the state tire regulatory fee separately. Requires a public hearing. Status: AB 2908 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position:  Support

Assembly Bill 2975 (Friedman): Wild Scenic Rivers. Assembly Bill 2975 would take action to remove or delist any river or segment of a river in California that is included in the national wild and scenic rivers system and not in the state wild and scenic rivers system, requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, after holding a public hearing on the issue, to take any necessary action to add the river or segment of a river to the state wild and scenic rivers system and to classify that river or segment of a river. Status: AB 2975 has been signed into law by the Governor. RCRC Position: Pending

Assembly Bill 3036 (Cooley): Solid Waste: Definition. Assembly Bill 3036 would exclude from the State Integrated Waste Management Act's definition of solid waste byproducts from processing food, if those byproducts meet certain conditions, including, among others, that the byproducts are intended for use as animal feed. Status: AB awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Watch

Assembly Bill 3178 (Rubio): Integrated Waste Management Plans: Source Reduction. Assembly Bill 3178 would require the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to consider whether the absence or loss of a market for recyclable materials necessitated the disposal of those materials as a temporary measure to avoid a public health threat when evaluating a jurisdiction’s compliance with AB 939 diversion goals. Status: AB 3178 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 168 (Wieckowski): Beverage Container Recycling Act of 2017.  Senate Bill 168 would require Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to establish minimum recycled content for beverage containers and to provide the Legislature a report on an extended producer responsibility program to replace the current beverage container recycling program. Status: SB failed passage on the Assembly Floor.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 212 (Jackson): Solid Waste: Pharmaceutical Sharps and Waste. Senate Bill 212 would establish a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program, under which each manufacturer of covered drugs or sharps, as defined, in the state would be required to establish and implement, either on its own or as part of a group of covered manufacturers through membership in a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship organization, a pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship program. Status: SB 212 gained passage in the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's consideration. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 452 (Glazer): The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act. Senate Bill 452 is considered the bottle bill “short term fix” and is intended to increase recycling opportunities. SB 452 proposes to return processing payments to 2015 levels and extends plastic recycling market development incentives. SB 452 would also limit take back responsibility for dealers in unserved zones to 24 containers per day, temporarily relieve dealers by suspending the take-back obligation in zones that became unserved due to a recycling center closure until December 2021 and provides additional handling fees in rural areas annually for three years, among other provisions. Status:  SB 452 gained passage in the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's consideration. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 824 (Lara): Insurance: Nonrenewal.  Senate Bill 824 would express the intent of the Legislature to clarify that the provisions described concerning cancellation of structural insurance policies is applicable to all insured properties located within a county for which a state of emergency has been declared. SB 824 prohibits nonrenewal of the policies under specified circumstances. Status: SB 824 awaits the consideration of the Governor.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 833 (McGuire): Emergency Alerts: Evacuation Orders: Operators. Senate Bill 833 would provide for a red alert system designed to issue and coordinate alerts following an evacuation order. Requires the red alert system to incorporate a variety of notification resources and developing technologies that may be tailored to the circumstances and geography of the underlying evacuation, as appropriate. Status: SB 833 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 844 (Monning): Water Quality: Agricultural Safe Drinking Water Fees. SB 844 would require a licensed manufacturer or distributor of fertilizing materials to pay a fertilizer safe drinking water fee per dollar of sale for all sales of fertilizing materials intended for noncommercial use and for all sales of packaged fertilizing materials, thereto. Reduces these fees, beginning a specified calendar year. Requires a transfer of a specified amount from the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. Status: SB failed passage on the Assembly floor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 845 (Monning): Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. SB 845 would establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to secure access to safe drinking water for all residents of the state, and to ensure the long-term sustainability of drinking water service and infrastructure. Requires a community water system with a certain number of connections to provide an opportunity for each customer to provide a voluntary remittance either as part of the customer's regular water bill or by using a specified notification procedure. Status: SB 845 failed passage on the Assembly Floor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 894 (Dodd): Property Insurance. Senate Bill 894 would require an insurer, in the case of a total loss to the primary insured structure under a policy of residential property insurance, to offer to renew the policy. Increases the minimum coverage for additional living expenses in the case of a loss related to a declared state of emergency. Requires an insurer who decides not to offer to renew a policy after the expiration of that period to report the decision to not offer to renew the policy to the Insurance Commissioner. Status: SB 894 gained passage in the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's consideration. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 917 (Jackson): Insurance Policies. Senate Bill 917 would provide that insurance policies that do not cover the peril of landslide shall not exclude coverage for any loss or damage attributable to a landslide if the landslide resulting in loss or damage was proximately caused by another covered peril, as provided.  Status: SB awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 919 (Dodd): Water Resources: Stream Gages. Senate Bill 919 would require the Department of Water Resources to develop a plan to deploy a network of stream gages that includes a determination of funding needs and opportunities for reactivating existing gages. Requires the Department to prioritize the deployment of stream gages based upon gaps in the existing system of gages and specified considerations. Status: SB 919 failed passage on the Assembly Floor.  RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 998 (Dodd): Water Shutoffs: Urban and Community Water Systems. Senate Bill 998 would require an urban and community water system as a public water system that supplies water to more than 200 service connections, to have a written policy on residential service shutoff available in specified languages of the people residing in its service area. Requires certain aspect to be available on its system web site and be provided annually to customers in writing. Status: Senate Bill 998 awaits the consideration of the Governor. RCRC Position: Support

Senate Bill 1215 (Hertzberg): Drinking Water Systems and Sewer Systems: Consolidation. Senate Bill 1215 would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to set timeline and performance measures to facilitate completion of extension of service of drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Authorizes ordered consolidation with a receiving sewer system for, or extension of sewer service to, a disadvantaged community under specified circumstances. Status: SB 1215 gained passage in the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's consideration. RCRC Position: Pending/Concerns

Senate Bill 1260 (Jackson): Fire Prevention and Protection: Prescribed Burns. Senate Bill 1260 would require a local agency to transmit a copy of their adopted ordinance to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection within a certain number of days of adoption. Requires a local agency to make a finding that ingress and egress for a subdivision meet regulations regarding road standards for fire equipment access, as provided. Gives the Department the option, if it elects not to purchase insurance, to determine proportionate share of liability, as provided. Status: SB 1260 gained passage in the Senate and Assembly and awaits the Governor's consideration. RCRC Position: Support