Hoover Hears Forests, Next is Permitting Studies
On January 26, The Little Hoover Commission conducted a hearing on forest management, and coming up on February 23, the Commission will take on state permitting.
The Commission’s January 26 hearing on forest management focused primarily on the tree mortality crisis in the Sierra Nevada. Testifying before the Commission, was a series of panels of state and local experts providing information about the state’s current response and potential options to better address the situation. Common themes of the presentations included information about the state’s Tree Mortality Task Force, the use of managed fires, the impact of forest health on watersheds, and the need for increased state investments. A second, yet to be announced, hearing will focus on the perspectives of rural counties, tribes, and environmental organizations.
Next up before the Commission will be a hearing on state permitting practices affecting local infrastructure projects related to climate adaptation. Many state permitting challenges were highlighted during the Commission’s October 27, 2016 hearing on climate adaptation efforts by water, wastewater, and flood control districts, with officials detailing chronic long and costly delays for critical infrastructure. Special districts and other interested stakeholders are welcome to attend and speak under public comment. The hearing begins at 9:30am in State Capitol Room 437 on February 23.
Go to www.lhc.ca.gov to watch the video from past hearings and read the written testimonies. If your district has experienced challenges with State permitting related to climate change adaptation projects, we want to hear from you. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story and learn how you can participate in CSDA’s efforts.
Indemnity Legislation Expected to Return in 2017
Last year, CSDA led a coalition of public agencies in opposition to SB 885 (Wolk), which would have prohibited special districts and other public agencies from requiring design professionals to defend legal claims against public agencies that arise out of, pertain to, and relate to the work of the design professional. While the author of SB 885, Senator Lois Wolk, has retired from the State Legislature, CSDA was informed that the sponsors of the bill, the American Council of Engineering Companies, are seeking a new author to reintroduce their proposal.
CSDA’s Legislative Committee established SB 885 as a Priority 1 Oppose bill for CSDA in 2016, with 90 CSDA members submitting letters of opposition in response to CSDA’s statewide Call to Action. Should the provisions of SB 885 resurface this year, CSDA will again lead efforts to protect special districts, and the taxpayers and ratepayers, they serve from any provisions that would unduly impose costly new restrictions on local flexibility and longstanding contractual rights.
- SB 5 (De Leon) California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 – PENDING
Enacts the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in an amount of $3,000,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance a drought, water, parks, climate, coastal protection, and outdoor access for all program.