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  • Archive for June 24th, 2016

    Jun 24

    ***BREAKING NEWS*** JUDGE TOSSES DELTA MANAGEMENT PLAN

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    The much-touted “Delta Plan,” which is supposed to shape management of the largest estuary on the west coast of the western hemisphere, has been tossed out by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny.  The plan has been ruled “invalid and must be set aside until proper revisions are completed.”  The plan does not meet the courts thresholds “with regard to reduced Delta reliance, the Court found the plan failed to include targets that would ensure reduced reliance, as required by the Delta Reform Act.”  This ruling puts discussions about the Delta, mitigations, and the Governor’s plan for conveyance tunnels into turmoil, and potentially delays any activities involving the watershed.  Click here for a full story.

    Jun 24

    HUGE WEEK AHEAD

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    Next week a major deadline looms in the California State Legislature, whereby all bills must be out of policy committee in their second house, or they are “dead.”  More than fifty four bills that we are actively tracking will be heard next week.

    Here are just a few bills that will be up with our positions noted:


    AB 1330 (Bloom – D) Current law requires the PUC to identify all potentially achievable cost-effective electricity and natural gas efficiency savings and to establish efficiency targets for electrical and gas corporations to achieve. This bill would require the PUC to ensure that there are sufficient moneys available for electrical and gas corporations to meet those efficiency targets, and, if the PUC finds that additional moneys are necessary to meet those targets, to increase available moneys up to 20% per year until the moneys available for energy efficiency savings and demand reduction doubles from the amount authorized on January 1, 2016. SUPPORT

     

    SB 32 (Pavley – D) Would require the State Air Resources Board to approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit that is equivalent to 40% below the 1990 level to be achieved by 2030. This bill contains other related provisions.  OPPOSE

     

    SB 1190 (Jackson – D) Would prohibit a California Coastal Commission member or an interested person from intentionally conducting any ex parte communication or any oral or written communication regarding a pending enforcement investigation that does not occur in a public hearing, workshop, or other official proceeding, or on the official record of the proceeding on the matter. OPPOSE.

     

    SB 1387 (de Leon) Would require a district board to submit to the State Air Resources Board for review and approval the district’s plan for attainment or a revision to that plan, as specified. The bill also would require a district board to submit to the state board for review and approval the district’s market-based incentive program and any revisions to that program, as specified. The bill would prescribe specified actions for the state board to take if the state board determines that a plan for attainment, a revision of a plan for attainment, a market-based incentive program, or a revision to a market-based incentive program do not comply with law. OPPOSE.

     

    AB 1928 (Campos – D) Would postpone the date by which the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission is to adopt the performance standards and labeling requirements for landscape irrigation controllers and moisture sensors to January 1, 2018, and would prohibit, on and after January 1, 2020, the sale of that equipment unless it meets the performance standards and labeling requirements. The bill would additionally require the commission, in adopting those standards and requirements, to consider developments in landscape irrigation efficiency occurring on or after January 1, 2010. SUPPORT.

     

    AB 2002 (Stone – D) Would require a California Coastal Commission member to fully disclose in writing 24 hours before a commission hearing any ex parte communication conducted within 7 days of the commission hearing relating to a matter that will be discussed at the hearing, and would prohibit a commission member or an interested person from conducting such an ex parte communication within 24 hours before the commission hearing. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. OPPOSE.

     

    AB 2492 (Alejo – D) Current law authorizes certain local agencies to form a community revitalization and investment authority (authority) within a community revitalization and investment area, as defined, to carry out provisions of the Community Redevelopment Law in that area for purposes related to, among other things, infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic revitalization. Current law requires not less than 80% of the land calculated by census tracts or census block groups, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, within the area to be characterized by several conditions, including a condition that the land has an annual median household income of less than 80% of the statewide annual median income. This bill would authorize the calculation to be made with a combination of census tracts and census block groups. SUPPORT.

     

    SB 820 (Hertzberg – D) Would extend the repeal date of the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 to January 1, 2027, and would provide that a person who qualifies for immunity under the act before January 1, 2027, shall continue to have that immunity on and after January 1, 2027, if the person continues to be in compliance with the e requirements of the former act. SUPPORT/SPONSOR.

     

    SB 1414 (Wolk – D) Would require the Energy Commission, by January 1, 2019, to approve a plan that will promote the installation of central air conditioning and heat pumps in compliance with specified regulations. The bill would authorize the Energy Commission to adopt regulations to increase compliance with permitting and inspection requirements for central air conditioning and heat pumps and associated sales and installations, consistent with that plan. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. SUPPORT.

     

    AB 1330 (Bloom – D) Current law requires the PUC to identify all potentially achievable cost-effective electricity and natural gas efficiency savings and to establish efficiency targets for electrical and gas corporations to achieve. This bill would require the PUC to ensure that there are sufficient moneys available for electrical and gas corporations to meet those efficiency targets, and, if the PUC finds that additional moneys are necessary to meet those targets, to increase available moneys up to 20% per year until the moneys available for energy efficiency savings and demand reduction doubles from the amount authorized on January 1, 2016. SUPPORT.

     

    AB 1978 (Gonzalez – D) Would establish specific standards and protections for property service workers, to be known as the Property Service Workers Protection Act, and define terms for its purposes. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.  OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED.

     

    AB 2002 (Stone – D) Would require a California Coastal Commission member to fully disclose in writing 24 hours before a commission hearing any ex parte communication conducted within 7 days of the commission hearing relating to a matter that will be discussed at the hearing, and would prohibit a commission member or an interested person from conducting such an ex parte communication within 24 hours before the commission hearing. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. OPPOSE.

     

    AB 2873 (Thurmond – D) Would require, commencing January 1, 2020, that all building inspectors employed or retained by a local agency who conduct permitting and plan check services to review for compliance with state construction-related accessibility standards by a place of public accommodation with respect to new construction or renovations, including, but not limited to, projects relating to tenant improvements that may impact access, be CASps. By adding to the duties of a local entity, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. SUPPORT.

     

    SB 1340 (Wolk – D) The Water Conservation in Landscaping Act requires the Department of Water Resources to update a specified model water efficient landscape ordinance by regulation and prescribes various requirements for the updated model ordinance. Current law requires each local agency to adopt either the updated model water efficient landscape ordinance or an ordinance that is at least as effective in conserving water as the updated model ordinance. If the local agency does not make a selection, the model ordinance shall apply within the jurisdiction of the local agency. This bill would allow the governing body of a local agency to adopt an ordinance prescribing fees for filing an application for the permit, subject to the restrictions that the fees not exceed the amount reasonably required to review applications and issue the permits and that the fees not be levied for general revenue purposes.  SUPPORT.

     

    SB 1414 (Wolk – D) Would require the Energy Commission, by January 1, 2019, to approve a plan that will promote the installation of central air conditioning and heat pumps in compliance with specified regulations. The bill would authorize the Energy Commission to adopt regulations to increase compliance with permitting and inspection requirements for central air conditioning and heat pumps and associated sales and installations, consistent with that plan. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws. SUPPORT.

    Jun 24

    FLEXIBLE WORKWEEK BILL FAILS

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    A bill we strongly supported that would have provided employers with the flexibility to accommodate employees’ needs was defeated this week on a party line vote of 4 to 1 in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee with all Democrats voting “no” and the lone Republican on the Committee voting “yes”.

    SB 985 (Berryhill; R-Twain Harte), was the 15th “job creator” bill identified this year, provides employers with the opportunity to accommodate employees’ needs as well as business demands by allowing employees to request a voluntary, flexible workweek agreement that can be repealed by the employee at any time with proper notice.

    We are supported SB 985 because it would have eliminated the burdensome alternative workweek election process and allow the employee the opportunity to request a four, 10-hour day workweek schedule that will address the needs of both the employer and employee.

    We thank Senator Berryhill for moving forward with this bill and hope we can try again next year.

    Jun 24

    COASTAL COMMISSION BILLS LIMITING ACCESS OPPOSE

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    Next two weeks two bills that seek to limit access by project proponents to the Coastal Commission are up for hearing and strongly opposed by CBPA.  Even if your company does not own property near the coast the precedent these bills will set will act as a chilling effect for public access to other regulatory agencies.

    The California Coastal Commission is responsible for land use and permitting decisions along the 1,100-mile California coastline. Among other things, the Commission has authority to issue coastal development permits in areas without local coastal programs (LCPs) and act on appeals from areas with LCPs on matters ranging from small issues such as constructing or remodeling single family residences, to major public works projects, as well as enforcement issues, cease and desist orders, and matters in litigation.  See below for more detail on these two bills.

    Jun 24

    BAN ON EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS

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    SB 1190 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) seeks to ban ex parte communications with Coastal Commission and staff.  Prior to the early 1990s, the law was silent on ex parte communications at the Coastal Commission. The Coastal Act was then amended to explicitly allow commissioners to engage in ex parte communications as long as they disclose them and give written materials provided to them to commission staff.

    Commissioners are currently free to speak with anyone on any side of an issue and they often do. Additionally, applicants are required to provide written disclosures to the Commission of anyone who receives compensation to communicate with the commissioners or staff. Commissioners are also required to complete annual economic interest statements in conformance with state law. This ex parte process has been working well for a number of years. There is no reason to eliminate this well-functioning system by banning important ex parte communications and communications between commissioners and their staff.

    This bill would prohibit ex parte communications between commissioners and interested parties on all Commission proceedings. However, the Commission is a public body and should encourage citizen participation and communication. In turn, the Legislature should encourage maximum communication with the Commission, and commissioners who desire more information should be allowed to hear it as long as they publicly disclose and describe those communications as required by law. Although this bill would allow interested parties to speak with staff, it is the commissioners and not the staff who are the ultimate policy makers and who should be free to discuss permitting decisions with all parties who may be affected by an action.

    There is no reason to change the current practice. To limit the free exchange of information serves no public purpose, can limit mutually acceptable outcomes, and would prohibit the Commission from effectively carrying out its duties to the public.  We are strongly opposed.

    Jun 24

    “LOBBYIST” REGISTRATION BILL

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    AB 2002 (STONE; D-Santa Cruz) essentially requires anyone representing more than one client per year who earns $2,000.00 in a calendar month to communicate with Coastal Commissioners to conform to lobbyist registration requirements of the Political Reform Act. This bill is unnecessary and duplicative of strict lobbying disclosure and communication requirements in the Coastal Act that already impose severe penalties for noncompliance. The bill would create a unique rule for the Coastal Commission and conflict with Political Reform Act requirements for all other state agencies.

    The bill would discourage applicants for coastal development permits from hiring representation, require even single family homeowners who hire Coastal consultants to register as “lobbyist employers,” and create burdensome paperwork for applicants and their technical consultants.

    We believe the public should be encouraged to communicate directly with public agency representatives, provided this communication is properly disclosed. There is no reason to change the current practice. To limit the free exchange of information by imposing burdensome and costly requirements of SB 802 would serve only to make this regulatory agency even more inaccessible to the average Californian and we strongly oppose the bill.

    Jun 24

    2030 GHG TARGET SCOPING PLAN CONCEPT PAPER

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    The 2030 Target Scoping Plan Concept Paper provides an additional opportunity for public and stakeholder engagement and input prior to release of the Draft AB 32/GHG Scoping Plan later this year.  The intent of the paper is to inform an ongoing stakeholder process for how to most effectively achieve a 40 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 as compared to 1990 statewide GHG emissions.

    The content of this paper has been informed by several public workshops and meetings held to date, beginning with the Governor’s Climate Change Strategy Pillar Workshops held in summer 2015.  Since then, ARB staff, in collaboration with other State agencies, has held numerous public workshops to develop the Draft Scoping Plan, including several Environmental Justice Advisory Committee meetings, a public meeting to discuss the greenhouse gas (GHG) modeling and economic analysis that will be included in the Draft Scoping Plan, and other sector-specific public workshops.

    These multi-agency meetings provided State agencies the opportunity to share their near- and long-term visions for climate policy and actively solicited the public’s comments, concerns and questions.  The 2030 Scoping Plan Concept Paper will be made available here.

    Jun 24

    SUSTAINABLE FREIGHT ACTION PLAN

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    On Monday, June 20, a joint meeting of the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Select Committee on Ports held a hearing to discuss on the draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan.  The plan is in response to Executive Order B-32-15 issue by Governor Brown in July 2015, which directs a myriad of state agencies to develop a plan to improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies, and increase competitiveness of California’s freight system.

    Although a wide swath of diverse industry groups have participated in stakeholder groups working on the plan, there is concern that not many of the suggestions provided have been incorporated into the plan.

    As the California freight industry faces new shipping alliances, the widening of the Panama Canal, megaships, and out-of-state gateway ports pursuing California importers, among various other factors, the discussion centered around policies and funding to support stronger economic vitality and system efficiencies.

    While the greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan is more developed, the dialogue focused on how the three pillars can be coequal.  Overall, the discussion was robust, and as anticipated based on meetings with the Chair, quite pointed toward agency representatives.

    CBPA, however, worries that a freight plan that increases goods-movement costs while doing little to improve efficiency or competitiveness will only hasten the diversion of cargo from California to neighboring states that is already underway.  The economic harm this creates is not just around our ports—warehouses and distribution centers that are major job centers across California will follow this cargo as it moves to competing states.  We are continuing to work with the state agencies tasked with devising the plan and legislators tasked with reviewing the plan, and hope we can come to agreement on a sustainable plan that also strengthens California’s economy.

    For more information about the Sustainable Freight Plan, click here.