|Friday, January 22, 2016 The CSAC Bulletin|
|Governor’s State of the State: “One Way or Another, the Roads Must be Fixed."|
Governor Jerry Brown put one of CSAC’s highest legislative priorities front and center this week in his brief but wide-ranging state of the state address. “Ideology and politics stand in the way, but one way or another the roads must be fixed,” the Governor said, acknowledging $77 billion in deferred maintenance to California’s infrastructure, most of that in State-owned highways and bridges. And that doesn’t include the deferred maintenance on the local system that stands at $78 billion over the next decade.
“It’s gratifying to see the Governor place this issue high on his list of priorities,” said CSAC’s Executive Director Matt Cate. “We have been working with a coalition of local government, labor and business organizations and we all agree that fixing our crumbling infrastructure is imperative to Californians’ safety and mobility—not just for cars, but also for the bicycles, pedestrians and buses that primarily depend on the local system. Fixing our roads will make them safer, reduce maintenance costs for drivers and also create jobs and bolster the economy.”
The Governor also agreed with CSAC that the current method for funding highway, road and bridge maintenance, based mainly on gasoline taxes, has not kept up with the need. “We have no choice but to maintain our transportation infrastructure. Yet, doing so without an expanded and permanent revenue source is impossible. That means at some point, sooner rather than later, we have to bite the bullet and enact new fees and taxes for this purpose.” CSAC also supports reforms and efficiencies in how we deliver projects, but that alone will not create sufficient cost savings to address the deferred maintenance shortfall we have today.
The Governor included an additional $3 billion in spending for roads and bridges in his January Budget proposal. Further, there are legislative proposals that address the issue by providing a higher level of funding—closer to $6 billion, which is the amount necessary to actually show improvement on our freeways, county highways and city streets. “We are committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to find a workable solution to this issue,” said Cate. “As I’ve said before, "we can't kick the can down the road anymore because it will land in a pothole."
The Governor also touched on several other topics, including California’s unstable revenue situation and the need for continued fiscal prudence; healthcare, and the need to reform Managed Care Organization (MCO) revenue; water, climate change and income inequality. You can see a transcript of the Governor’s State of the State Address here.
|From Our Policy Sections|
|Don't miss these important items in our policy sections:|
Administration of Justice
CDCR Releases Report on the Future of Corrections
Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources:
Medical Marijuana Regulation – The State Starts Gearing Up
CalPERS' CEO to retire; vital records bills meet their fates in Assembly Appropriations
Housing Land Use and Transportation:
Road Charge Pilot Project Recommendations Issued, Volunteer Recruitment Underway
Health and Human Services:
Appropriations Committee Passes Mental Health Bills
|CSAC Recognized as Employer of the Year by Women’s Transportation Seminar|
|CSAC has long enjoyed a reputation as a great place to work. The culture and environment are very supportive of gender and ethnic balance. Now, CSAC is the proud recipient of the “Employer of the Year” award, presented by the Sacramento Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), a group that promotes women working in transportation and related fields. Other honorees at the group’s awards ceremony on Wednesday night included young women scholarship recipients who intend to pursue careers in transportation.|
In making the award, WTS noted that CSAC is committed to promoting women – and diversity in general – in the workplace. In fact, women make up 85 percent of the legislative team and every one of CSAC’s registered lobbyists is a woman. CSAC’s Director of Legislative Affairs, DeAnn Baker, has been with the organization for 28 years, beginning as a legislative analyst working on transportation funding and policy issues at a time when the vast majority of her colleagues in the field were men.
As she moved through the ranks to her current position overseeing CSAC’s 13 member legislative team, DeAnn has witnessed significant progress for gender equality in the transportation world, but pointed out in her keynote speech on Wednesday that young women need to continue to hold high expectations for their careers and seek leadership roles to shape the public policy debate. Women have great value to contribute. Groups like WTS are vital to mentoring young women to prepare them for careers and leadership roles in transportation.
“It is really an honor for CSAC to be recognized for our contribution to diversity in the transportation world,” said Legislative Director DeAnn Baker. “We have women working at every level of the organization and in particular on our legislative team. CSAC recognizes that hard work and a commitment to our membership is only successful if we balance that with other needs of our staff, such as family, education, and others. I believe that’s what has drawn successful women to our organization.”
|CSAC Institute Opens Fourth Campus|
|The CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government officially expanded to its fourth campus this week when it held its inaugural class in Contra Costa County. The Institute now hosts courses in Sacramento, San Diego, Merced and Contra Costa Counties.|
The expansion makes it easier for county officials and senior staff to access continuing education opportunities through the Institute, which is offering 37 courses during this Winter/Spring Semester. In February, the Institute will be holding six classes: three in Sacramento and one each in the three satellite campuses.
This week was a particularly busy week as Institute courses were held simultaneously in Sacramento and Contra Costa Counties. While participants in Sacramento learned about social media, Contra Costa County attendees focuses on leadership and change.
The CSAC Institute is also partnering with the California County Information Services Directors Association to offer a new California County Technology Executive Credential. The first specialized course for this audience will be held February 7 in Sacramento.
To review the entire Institute Winter/Spring Course Schedule, click here. For more information about the Institute, visit www.csacinstitute.org.
|From Our Blog: Psychological Effects of California’s Long-Term Drought|
|Imagine you are sitting on the cusp of an historic event – one that is unfolding slowly but with mighty force, and one that will last well past your lifetime. Imagine you have people in your communities who are desperately trying to tell you about these changes, and what they have to say is numbing, impossible to embrace. This is the story of climate change in 2016 – and with it, California’s long-term drought. |
The economics of the long-term drought have been substantiated: from a lack of ground water, the changes in farming, the jobs that are and will continue to disappear, to the cost of catastrophic floods and fires. The human effect — the “psychological responses” — is less understood.
Read More of this Blog Posting
|Current Job Openings|
For a full list of job openings posted with CSAC, visit our Public Sector Jobs Page on our website.
Find out how you can post recruitment notices with CSAC here.
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|Administration of Justice|
|For more information, contact Darby Kernan at 916-327-7500, ext. 537, Stanicia Boatner at 916-327-7500, ext. 503 or Amalia Mejia at 916-327-7500, ext. 514.|
CDCR Releases Report on the Future of Corrections
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released, “An Update to the Future of California Corrections,” a follow-up to the Blueprint that CDCR published in 2012. The report addresses the various commitments made in the initial Blueprint. In addition, it reports progress on CDCR meeting its commitments to address realignment efforts, inmate population, the challenges involved, and the Department’s plan for operating the prison system in the coming years.
Commission on Future of California’s Court System Holds Public Comment Session – February 8-9
The Commission on the Future of California’s Court System has posted concepts it will explore during its February 8-9 public comment session in San Francisco.
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye appointed commission members last February to propose recommendations for a more efficient and effective court system. The importance of the commission’s work was underscored in the Governor’s proposed January state budget.
Key topics on the agenda:
Comment Procedures: Members of the public can request to speak at the comment session or submit written comments either before or after the session. A link to the live audiocast of the public comment session—posted approximately 15 minutes before the session?will be available on the Futures Commission webpage. For more information, view the comment procedures.
The commission held a similar comment session on December 8, 2015 to solicit input on proposed concepts related to judgeships, trial court funding, court-ordered debt, and traffic infractions. The Futures Commission plans to hold a second public comment session later this year.
The following information reflects legislation that was introduced in the 2015/16 legislative session. Bills introduced in the 2015 session must pass out of the house of origin by January 30, 2016. The following are Administration of Justice bills CSAC is tracking.
Parole Suitability: Notice
AB 898 (Gonzalez) – Support
AB 898 would require the Board of Parole Hearings, in the case of an inmate who is convicted of the murder of a firefighter, to provide notice of the parole suitability hearing to the fire department that employed the firefighter at the time of the incident. AB 898 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is now on the Assembly Floor.
Criminal Procedure: Trial Schedule Conflicts
AB 1272 (Grove) – Watch
AB 1272 would require the court to make reasonable efforts to avoid scheduling a case involving a crime committed against a person with a developmental disability when the prosecutor has another trial set. AB 1272 passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee and is now on the Assembly Floor.
Child Witnesses: Human Trafficking
AB 1276 (Santiago) – Watch
AB 1276 adds human trafficking to the list of offenses which permits a child witness to testify at trial out of the presence of the defendant and jury by way of closed-circuit television and increases the permissible age of the child witness from 13 years old and under to 17 years old and under. AB 1276 passed off of the Assembly Floor and is awaiting committee assignment in the Senate.
AB 1395 (Salas) – Watch
AB 1395 would provide law enforcement with the ability to use criminal remedies when combatting nefarious cases of organized, illegal gambling. AB 1395 incorporates violations of gambling laws into organized crime and money laundering statutes. AB 1395 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is now on the Assembly Floor.
SB 617 (Block) - Watch
SB 617 would allow a crime punishable as a misdemeanor, to be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney. SB 617 was amended in the Senate Public Safety Committee to add exemptions so corporations cannot benefit from this new process, added a 3-year sunset and additional reporting requirements. SB 617 failed to pass out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The measure is dead.
|Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources|
|For more information, contact Karen Keene at 916.650.8181, or Cara Martinson at 916.650.8113.|
Medical Marijuana Regulation – The State Starts Gearing Up
On Tuesday, an informational hearing was held by the Assembly Business and Professions, Health, and Agriculture Committees regarding the State’s plans for rolling out new regulations on the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana in California. Representatives from the State included Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Chief Awet Kidane; Jim Houston, Undersecretary of Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA); and Karen Smith, Director of the Department of Public Health (DPH). While a lot of details couldn’t be shared so early in the process, all three officials said they were working on implementing the Medical Marijuana Regulatory and Safety Act (the Act) by January 1, 2018. An excellent background paper on medical marijuana regulation was provided at the informational hearing and can be found at: Assembly_Background_Paper
Given the impact of the Act’s implementation on counties, CSAC, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) and the Urban Counties of California, have initiated a dialogue with these three departments to ensure that counties remain an active partner throughout the Act’s regulatory administrative process. In the meantime, interested counties should monitor the websites of DCA, DFA, DPH and the Board of Equalization (BOE) to keep informed of their activities. The following includes a brief description of their respective roles under the Act and links to their websites where counties can sign-up for email alerts.
California Department of Consumer Affairs
The Act establishes within the DCA the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (Bureau). The DCA and the Bureau are vested with the authority to issue licenses and regulate dispensaries, distributors, and transporters, and to provide oversight for the state’s regulatory framework. The DCA website at this point in time merely includes the Bureau’s FAQ for both consumers and businesses/potential licensees.
Department of Public Health
The Act assigns DPH with the responsibility to license and regulate laboratories and manufacturers. The DPH website for now does not include any substantive information regarding their role under the new laws. However, this would be the page to monitor.
California Department of Food and Agriculture
The Act requires CDFA to license cultivators in the state, establish conditions under which indoor and outdoor cultivation may occur, establish an electronic database to track marijuana from seed to sale, and assist other state agencies in protecting outdoor cultivation may occur, establish an electronic database to track marijuana from seed to sale, and assist other state agencies in protecting the environment and public health and safety.
CDFA is in the early stages of developing the environmental review and regulatory process. However, they have announced that it will include soliciting public comment, hosting public workshops across the state, and developing regulations for implementing this Act. The site to monitor is here.
State Board of Equalization
The State Board of Equalization (BOE) is another state entity to monitor given the Act’s requirement for them to adopt a commercial cannabis and cannabis products distribution tracking system. This will assist the BOE with sales and use tax collection at the dispensary level.
|For more information, please contact Faith Conley at 916.650.8117, or Betsy Hammer at 916.650.8108.|
Paper Shortage Bill Advances to Assembly Floor; Vital Records Bill Stalls
(For detailed summaries of these bills, please click here).
The Assembly Appropriations Committee met yesterday to hear bills introduced last year that, to advance to the Assembly Floor, must meet a January 22 deadline to hear and report bills introduced in that house. Both AB 1546, which would ensure counties do not endure another severe shortage of the securitized paper used for printing vital records, and AB 1238, which would have allowed the process of requesting one's own vital records to be entirely electronic, were heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and referred to the Suspense File. Counties will recall that the Suspense File holds bills that pose costs to the State above a $150,000 threshold.
It is yet unclear why AB 1238 was referred to the Suspense File, as the bill poses no costs to the state since it is completely permissive for both the State and counties. It is expected that the author will reintroduce the bill in the coming weeks (prior to the February 19 statutory deadline to introduce legislation). CSAC voiced strong support in the Appropriations Committee and worked closely with the author and stakeholders to ensure its passage.
AB 1546 carries minor, absorbable costs to the State and the bill was passed to the Assembly Floor with no opposition from the Committee.
CSAC will keep counties apprised of future actions on these two bills.
CalPERS CEO to Retire
CalPERS CEO Anne Stausboll announced yesterday that she will retire at the end of the current fiscal year.
Stausboll was appointed to her current position in January 2009, and lead the organization through turbulent times, including the recession during which CalPERS lost nearly 30 percent of its assets and experienced significant ethics scandals. Under Strausboll’s leadership, CalPERS increased investment assets from $170 billion to $275 billion, spearheaded a series of reforms and laws related to investments and ethics, implemented the “my CalPERS” IT project, and made other changes to boost long-term sustainability, oversight, and environmental, social, and governance factors.
Strausboll had previously served CalPERS in other positions. The search for her replacement will begin immediately. Currently, 37 counties contract with CalPERS, making the leadership of that organization a matter of great importance to California counties.
|Health and Human Services|
|For more information, please contact Farrah McDaid Ting at 916.650.8110. |
Appropriations Committee Passes Mental Health Bills
The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed three bills of interest to counties this week, including two measures opposed by CSAC.
AB 59, by Assembly Member Marie Waldron, was amended on January 6 to extend the Laura’s Law deadline by five years, from 2017 to 2022. CSAC and the Urban Counties of California both support this version of the bill, which was passed by the Appropriations Committee and is now on the Assembly Floor.
AB 168, by Assembly Member Maienschein, was amended on January 4 with new language that counties oppose. AB 168 would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to apply for, and places restrictions on, a federal demonstration program that offers federal matching funds for Medi-Cal behavioral health services provided through clinics.
The restrictions on counties included in this bill cause concern. Specifically, the bill specifies that “counties shall not be selected to participate in the demonstration program, unless they redirect funds to increase housing opportunities for individuals with severe mental illnesses.”
To require a county to divert existing funding toward a specific population as a requirement for eligibility for unrelated federal grant funding is a stretch, and something that CSAC opposes. The County Behavioral Health Directors Association also opposes AB 168. It was passed by the Appropriations Committee and is now up on the Assembly Floor.
Lastly, we continue to work on AB 1300, by Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and sponsored by the California Hospital Association (CHA). The May 5, 2015 version was passed by the Appropriations Committee, but CHA plans to amend the bill once it gets to the Senate. CSAC continues to oppose the current version of AB 1300, and has met with CHA on their proposed new amendments. However, the potential amendments also cause concern and we anticipate actively opposing AB 1300 in the Senate.
|Housing, Land Use and Transportation|
|For more information, please contact Kiana Valentine at 916.650.8185, or Chris Lee at 916.650.8180.|
Road Charge Pilot Project Recommendations Issued,
This week, the California Road Charge Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which is studying road charging as a potential replacement for the gas tax, released its final recommendations for the design of a statewide pilot study of road charging. CSAC was well represented on the TAC by two county supervisors: Supervisor Lisa Bartlett from Orange County and Supervisor David Finigan from Del Norte County.
The recommendations reflect the input the TAC received from hundreds of stakeholders and individuals from across the state. The TAC and supporting staff from the California Transportation Commission underwent a rigorous, yearlong process to study all aspects of road charging. To gather input we held 12 public meetings in all major regions of the state, reached out to and briefed elected officials and media outlets in all of the state’s major markets.
Some of the TAC’s key recommendations for the pilot program include:
The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) will now execute the Road Charge Pilot according to these recommendations. The nine month pilot will begin this summer and CalSTA is beginning its work to recruit 5,000 volunteer drivers. Volunteer participation and feedback will be vital in fine-tuning the proposed program that could eventually tie highway funding with road usage rather than gas tax proceeds.
Volunteer drivers will be able to choose from one of several mileage reporting methods that California will be testing. Volunteering is free and no actual money will be exchanged. Participants will have the choice of submitting mock payments via mail or a secure website for testing purposes. Volunteers can enroll at www.CaliforniaRoadChargePilot.com.
This week the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) issued a revised proposal for amending the CEQA Guidelines as they relate to the analysis of transportation impacts pursuant to SB 743 (Steinberg, 2013). Among other goals, SB 743 sought to promote infill development, which has often been burdened with costly mitigation measures for transportation improvements under CEQA, even in settings where residents or workers at a development enjoy access to transit and proximity to other amenities that would tend to reduce their need to drive. The proposal would not change the ability of local jurisdictions to condition development proposals based on the circulation element of the General Plan, or other local policies related to congestion. Updates to such plans and ordinances, however, would have to be analyzed based on their impacts to vehicle miles travelled under the new proposed CEQA guidelines. The full proposal is available online here.
CSAC staff has only had time for a cursory review the proposal, but a few important points, including some that are consistent with earlier CSAC requests, already stand out: