Independent Cities Association Legislative Education
Of the many benefits of being an active member in the Independent Cities Association, obtaining “real time” information on the most important and relevant matters coming out of Sacramento is critical to the job that you do with your City. The ICA employs a full-time, professional legislative consultant based in Sacramento to provide us the most pressing and important issues affecting local government. Our consultant makes himself available to all members, with any questions they might have, as well as transmits our concerns directly to the key decision makers and their staff at the most appropriate times. As an active member of the Association you will be entitled to directly receive the consultant’s regular email updates, that during the course of some of the busier times in Sacramento, could be on almost daily basis. The Board and the ICA take great pride in knowing that our consultant is “on the ground” and provides us with the most important information, unique to the ICA, unfiltered and unfettered.
Sacramento Education Day
As you know, nothing can quite compare to actual face time with a decision maker. The ICA as an organization believes very strongly in this belief as well which is why the Board will schedule a day in Sacramento to educate the governor, legislators and their staff on key items of import to the Association. While there is no regularly scheduled day or time like there is with the Summer and Winter conferences, the ICA is committed to taking the time to meet and confer with decision makers as appropriate.
Budget and Legislation
The ICA Board, in conjunction and in coordination with its legislative consultant, review every single bill and budget proposal that might have impact to the Association. Once items of import have been identified the Board will take action on a limited number of proposals to engage and educate policy makers on the cost/benefit of a proposed item. Because the ICA chooses to actively engage on a select amount of items per year, the Association’s track record for success is quite exceptional. Instead of diluting our voice by engaging hundreds of bills, the ICA will target specific items and work hard to achieve an outcome in the best interest of its members.
The following are examples of the types of legislation the Association seeks to educate decision makers.
The Independent Cities Association has updated its legislative platform for 2016 to address the highest priorities defined by our member cities. As a general platform this document serves as the lens through which all legislative and budgetary items will be viewed as the year unfolds. It was important to the Board that this document be made available to all member cities now that the Legislature begins to earnestly deliberate the 1,500 newly introduced legislative proposals.
- Public Safety
The ICA is committed to supporting efforts that assist our member cities in providing a safe and secure community. As such, the organization will support legislation that enhances local assistance to police and fire and any measures that will help contribute to local public safety, emergency response and emergency preparedness. The ICA will support legislation that strengthens law enforcements efforts to prevent crime and prosecute those committing a crime. The Board will oppose legislation that will negatively impact our ability to carry out our commitment to this adopted core strategy.
Infrastructure impacts both businesses and residents and reflects on a community’s desirability. Improving member cities infrastructure has many benefits including the growth of the economy and improving quality of life, not just in any one city but throughout the entire region. The ICA will support legislation that increases funding opportunities for new local infrastructure projects including roads, highways, bridges and public transportation as well as maintenance of existing infrastructure. Also, the ICA will support legislation that provides additional funding for water delivery, water storage, and water quality projects. The organization will oppose legislation that seeks to remove or reduce any current source of funding that would impact infrastructure projects or public transportation. Also, the ICA will oppose anything that preempts local zoning control or requires development of a particular type as well as oppose any legislation that creates new mandates without complete funding.
Developing a sound and sustainable financial strategy is paramount for the future of any City. The ICA will support legislation that secures local government funding sources such as property taxes, sales tax, transient occupancy taxes and Community Development Block Grants. Additionally, the Association will support legislation that produces new funding for cities to use for infrastructure projects, parks, and delivery of core services. The organization will oppose legislation that impacts our member cities ability to collect on current funding sources, legislation that creates unfunded mandates and legislation that attempts to eliminate or divert local revenues for state and or federal purposes or to another entity.
The ICA is committed to helping member cities providing a strong and diverse local economy. The ICA will support legislation that provides cities additional tools for business development, business retention, workforce development, and job creation. The Association will support legislative actions that create new tools to encourage redevelopment and fill the void left with the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies. The organization will oppose any measures viewed as restricting a member city’s ability to fulfill its goal for economic development.
- Quality of Life
Creating and maintaining a high of quality of life for residents is a top priority. In these efforts, the ICA will support legislation that creates additional funding opportunities for parks and recreation programming, library and literacy services, senior services, and human and social services programming. Additionally, the Association will support legislation that increases funding for capitol projects related to parks, library and senior services. Furthermore, the board will support legislation that helps our community partners in funding for arts and culture including supporting community theatre activities. The Board will oppose legislation that removes or reduces existing funding opportunities for the above services as well as oppose legislation that creates new mandates for services without providing full funding.
The Association prides itself on working well with a broad cross section of interests. The Board recognizes the importance of strong local government coalitions working together.
For a full list of all the bills the Association is actively monitoring please feel free to contact the Association’s Legislative Consultant, Mr. Tony Rice of Rice/Englander & Associates.
Rice/Englander & Associates
6005 Camellia Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95819
phone (916) 690-0023
fax (916) 456-4820
We hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day Weekend. For those of us working in and around the Capitol it has provided a much needed break to catch up on all the lost sleep from the last few weeks of the legislative session. At around 1:30 am Thursday morning the Legislature officially concluded its regular legislative session for the remainder of the year. While it is possible for legislative activity to continue for the next couple of months it can only do so now in a special session, and those can only be called for by the governor although the Legislature is only obligated to convene the session, not actually deliberate any measures unless they choose. So for all intents and purposes actions on legislative items is done until 2017.
So what has done, you ask? Every end of session is a dichotomy of actions. There are the “known” legislative proposals, i.e. the items that have been in print for awhile working there way through the process and then the rumors and hearsay of all the major proposals that folks might be working on behind the scenes in hopes of securing agreement prior to the clock running out. As mentioned in our last update, environmental issues completely dominated the final month of the session with members passing some significant proposals that no one was sure would pass until the votes were actually present. Senator Fran Pavley, a termed out member and torch bearer for the environmental movement in the Legislature has worked diligently the past couple of years to secure her legacy in this realm as she is forced from office. She was the author of the landmark AB 32 legislation from over a decade ago that put benchmarks on air quality levels the state must achieve by 2030. She has done much work to make those benchmarks even higher but has faced stiff opposition. It wasn’t until a freshman lawmaker from Los Angeles, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, got into the fray that the measure picked up steam and was brought back from the dead. Between the two of them, SB 32 (Pavley) and AB 197 (Garcia), were passed and established further benchmarks for air quality regulations while also providing additional legislative oversight and directives to the Air Quality Management Board for meeting the objectives. Without a doubt, Assemblyman Garcia has picked up the baton and will be looked at as the leader of environmental quality regulations for the immediate future.
While not directly linked, there has been a lot of desire to spend revenues the state has received through its cap and trade program. Essentially, the state sells credits to polluting industries that they can use to meet their AB 32 air quality objectives. The past several years have seen the state reap billions of dollars from this exchange though that has tempered dramatically this year over concerns that the program might be stopped in the near future, or even if it’s constitutional. Some lawmakers, including the governor, have worked hard to try and extend the program and have held the carrot of appropriating already collected cap and trade funds as an incentive. But despite their best efforts the extension of the program was essentially dead on arrival. But that didn’t stop a deal being struck on the second to the last day of session where $900 million of an available $1.4 billion was appropriated to various categories of funding. The goal for the expenditure of these funds is to allocate them in areas that have historically been disproportionately affected by major polluters.
The larger categories of funding follow:
▪ $140 million for grants to communities with high rates of pollution.
▪ $133 million to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which subsidizes clean vehicle purchases, and $150 million for heavy-duty vehicles and off-road equipment investments.
▪ $135 million to the Transportation Agency for the Transit and Intercity Rail Program.
▪ $80 million to help low income Californians buy cleaner cars.
▪ $40 million to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including: $25 million for the Healthy Forest Program and $15 million for urban forestry programs.
▪ $20 million to the Department of Community Services and Development for weatherization and renewable energy projects.
▪ $10 million to the Department of Transportation for the Active Transportation Program.
▪ $2 million to the Office of Planning and Research for the Strategic Growth Council to provide technical assistance to disadvantaged communities.
So what didn’t get done? There was a lot of talk and effort around trying to provide more housing revenue, streamlining the approval process for new housing, dollars for community parks and efforts to reach a broad transportation infrastructure funding deal…..as you may have guessed, all these efforts fell flat. One could argue that the area with the most need, transportation funding, received the least amount of work as any new funding proposal in this area automatically requires a 2/3 vote of the Legislature and the Republicans have said early and often that they will not support additional taxes. They fully recognize the funding shortfall experienced by the state and locals but believe that given the historic growth in the state’s general fund the past several years that new monies should be diverted for these purposes instead of passing on new taxes.
Depending on the hour of the day the parks and housing bonds were either alive or completely dead. As time was running out there was an effort to horse trade between the Assembly and the Senate as one bill was authored by a Senator and the other authored by and Assemblymember, but broader support wasn’t able to be secured.
An effort that would have overridden local control in the siting of new housing developments was crushed early as an alliance between the environmentalists and labor made sure the bill would never see the light of day. A bill by Senator Wieckowski, SB 1069, did pass the Legislature and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill would streamline the requirements necessary in the approval of second dwelling units.
We will continue to update as the governor deals with the hundreds of bills sent to him the past month. He has until the end of September to either sign or veto the measures on his desk. However, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have at any point in time.
Rice/Englander & Associates
6005 Camellia Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95819
phone (916) 690-0023
fax (916) 456-4820