Legislative Report - March 2023
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES HAVE BEGUN MEETING
February 17 was the deadline to introduce legislation for the first year of the 2023-2024 session. A total of 2,757 pieces of legislation have been introduced this session, the most in the first year of a session in more than a decade. Approximately 40% of bills are currently spot bills, which means that their full language has yet to be introduced and we do not know their full content. The deadline for adding language to spot bills is March 22. After that deadline, RPPG will be able to work with Association staff to determine a bill’s importance to the Association.
At this point, legislative committees have been holding mostly informational hearings on items of interest and they have held some policy hearings. Informational hearings are just that – information only – so no action items are involved. RPPG has been monitoring all budget committee hearings, which to date have been comprised of updates from Department of Finance (DOF), the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), and specific state agencies on the proposed items from the Governor’s January proposed FY 23-24 Budget and are also informational in nature.
RPPG MONTHLY LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY
RPPG continues to review priority bills during weekly check-ins with Association staff, provide draft content for the Council to consider positioning on bills of potential interest, craft talking points for meetings with state and federal representatives and agency officials, and conduct meetings with key legislative offices as appropriate.
RPPG provided the Association with an update on the United States Senate FY 24 appropriations titled “RPPG FY 24 Senate Community Project Funding Memo” on February 21. The memo provided additional information on the process and eligible projects for earmark requests from United States Senators Feinstein and Padilla.
RPPG provided the Association with a detailed summary of introduced bills so far in the 23-24 session titled “RPPG 2023 CARPD Bill Introduction Report” on February 22. The memo also highlighted specific legislation that RPPG deemed may be of import to local government.
RPPG met and worked with legislators and Association staff on the Association’s sponsored legislation, AB 817 (Pacheco-D).
Additionally, RPPG has tagged 167 bills for the Association which may be of potential interest or impact to the Association’s operations or priority issues, per the legislative platform. We will continue to bring bills of potential interest to staff for the Association’s review in coming weeks.
SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The California Senate held their first hearing of the special legislative session on February 22 on the topic of high gasoline prices. The informational hearing considered SBX1-2 (Skinner-D), which would establish a maximum gross gasoline refining margin. The bill would authorize various state agencies to assess a civil penalty and to investigate and report on various aspects of the gasoline market. No vote was taken during the hearing and RPPG will keep the Association updated on any developments.
EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND APPOINTMENTS
Governor Newsom signed executive order on February 13 to protect the state’s water supplies from the impacts of extreme weather. The order helps expand the state’s capacity to capture storm runoff in wet years by facilitating groundwater recharge projects. The order continues conservation measures and allows the State Water Board to reevaluate requirements for reservoir releases and diversion limitations to maximize water supplies. Finally, the order directs state agencies to provide recommendations on the state’s drought response actions by the end of April, including the possibility of terminating specific emergency provisions that are no longer needed, once there is greater clarity about the hydrologic conditions this year.
As RPPG has previously prepared the Association for, provisions of AB 361 are now no longer operable; this was the bill that allowed for virtual participation of members of a legislative body without posting notice of location during a gubernatorial declared state of emergency. Governor Newsom issued a proclamation on February 28 which terminated the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency that had been in place since March 4, 2020.
Various agencies in the Administration held presentations during February, two of which RPPG deemed to be of potential interest to the Association.
California Health and Human Services Agency
Tyler Sadwith, Director of Behavioral Health at the Department of Health Care Services, which is a part of the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS), hosted an online implementation update on the CARE (Community Assistance and Recovery Empowerment) Act on February 14. Initial stakeholder outreach will occur through March. Training and technical assistance (TTA) data collection and reporting from county behavioral health agencies will begin in April and continue until December. Stakeholder engagement will also begin in April. Sometime in the Fall, the TTA resource center webpage will launch. In October, Cohort 1 counties will begin implementation.
California Natural Resources Agency
Secretary Wade Crowfoot of the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) hosted an online discussion on February 21. Several staff members of the Department of Water Resources, which is a part of the CNRA, presented on the water situation in the state. The recent nine atmospheric rivers resulted in the wettest three-week period on record for California. Despite this, California is still considered to be in a severe drought and there is still a significant deficit in reservoirs and in underground basins due to the previous three years being exceptionally dry.
LEGISLATIVE TIMING AND KEY DATES
March 22, 2023 Spot bill amendment deadline
March 30, 2023 Spring recess begins
April 10, 2023 Legislature reconvenes from Spring recess
May 12, 2023 Last day for policy committees to meet prior to June 5
Mid May, 2023 Release of the Governor’s May revise of the budget
June 2, 2023 House of origin deadline for bills introduced in 2023
June 15, 2023 FY23-24 budget must be passed by the Legislature
June 30, 2023 Governor Newsom signs the FY23-24 budget
Renne Public Policy Group