INLAND ACTION SACRAMENTO PRIORITIES
AND POSITIONS AT-A-GLANCE 2018
Inland Action supports the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities application submitted by National Community Renaissance for Arrowhead Grove, Phases II and III in San Bernardino. The Arrowhead Grove proposal includes 184 residential mixed income units and recreational amenities, including play areas, community center, swimming pool and outdoor educational nodes in the City of San Bernardino. The proposal will also include transportation infrastructure projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as providing each project household with a monthly bus pass for at least three years, creation of new bike routes, incorporation of urban greening projects, and implementation of pedestrian safety improvements based on the walk audit that was prepared for E. Neal Roberts Elementary School as part of San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s Safe Routes to School Program.
Inasmuch as the California Strategic Growth Council will be making a recommendation to fund Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities applications in June of this year, the National Community Renaissance application uniquely meets the program goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by supporting more compact infill development patterns and encouraging active transportation and transit usage. The project exemplifies the type of community targeted by the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program by serving a large population living in poverty and the need for active and public transit travel options. Inland Action joins the City and County of San Bernardino in supporting this application as one of our highest priorities.
Inland Action supports legislation which would help end homelessness, particularly for those who are unsheltered and mentally ill, including AB 1406 (Gloria) and possibly SB 1045 (Wiener/Stern). On January 26, 2017, there were 1,866 persons who were homeless in the County of San Bernardino according to the San Bernardino 2017 Homeless Count and Survey Final Report. The previous homeless count and subpopulation survey was completed in 2016 during which 1,887 persons were counted. A comparison of the last two counts reveals that 21 fewer persons were counted in 2017, which represents a decrease of 1.1%.
Of the 1,866 persons counted in 2017, 1,179 or 63.2% were unsheltered, which is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as “An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning: (i) An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.”
Of the 1,179 unsheltered persons counted, 1,139 were adults, 14 were unaccompanied youth under age 18, and 26 were children under age 18 in families. Further, 36% of the 1,866 counted, or 427 individuals, met the HUD definition of chronic: “an individual or head of household with a disability living in a place not meant for human habitation for at least 12 months either continuously or cumulatively over a period of the last 3 years.” Also, in 2017, 22.3% of those counted had a mental health disorder, and 25.8% had a substance abuse issue.
Bottom line, we have a sub-population of persons with disabilities, who because of their homelessness, are at high risk of dying on our streets. San Bernardino County Continuum of Care is taking steps to end homelessness. These steps are aligned with the County of San Bernardino 10‑Year Strategy to End Homelessness and are also aligned with several evidence-based and best practices that have helped achieve unprecedented decreases in the total number of homeless persons, particularly among families, chronic homeless persons, and veterans, across the country since 2005.
SB 1045 (Wiener/Stern) focuses on persons who are homeless with serious mental illnesses and/or persons who are homeless that have substance abuse issues. This population tends to be the most difficult to serve and the costliest. Since it is just a shell of a bill, Inland Action will monitor its development. The questions that arise are (1) what rights those with mental illnesses will retain, (2) the criteria for determining eligibility, and (3) where the funding will come from to support both housing and providing for these individuals.
However, the idea of treating homelessness associated with mental illness as a civil issue rather than a criminal one is a good one – this is a necessary shift in overall approach and thinking. Permanent Supportive Housing has in some ways stepped into the gap to help prioritize the most vulnerable and most difficult to house/serve created by the realignment and subsequent elimination of mental health institutions for housing – and without the funding that used to be associated with it or the supportive service dollars required to sustain it. It does two major things:
SB 1045 (Wiener/Stern) intends to expand and strengthen California’s conservatorship laws that are currently limited to seniors vulnerable to abuse as well as people who are “gravely disabled” or have severe cognitive limitations. SB 1045 would give counties another option to address homeless individuals known as “frequent fliers” who are in and out of jail, emergency rooms and other government services.
AB 1406 (Gloria), the Homeless Youth Housing Program, would establish the Local Homelessness Solutions Program and create the Local Homelessness Solutions Account to provide funding to cities to create innovative and immediate solutions to the problems caused by homelessness. The bill would appropriate an unspecified sum from the General Fund to the Local Homelessness Solutions Account and direct the Controller to apportion those funds to cities in proportion to each city’s most recent homeless population. The bill would require cities to match any funds received from the program. The bill would authorize these funds to be expended for shelter diversion, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing, with the goal of transitioning youth toward self-sufficiency.
The grant funds are to establish or expand programs that assess the housing and services needs of homeless youth, establish a plan to meet those needs in collaboration with the participant, and provide evidence-based housing and services models to participants, including:
Inland Action urges a complete review and reform of the California Environmental Quality Act to ease the State’s affordable housing crisis. For many California families, the accelerating housing crisis affects not just their budget, but their way of life. The result has been spiraling housing costs that price all but the wealthiest families out of a place to live. Housing production over the last decade fell more than 100,000 new homes short of demand and continues to lag, leading to surging prices at all income levels.
Abuses of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are aggravating the State’s housing crisis. The overall result of the abuse of CEQA is the driving up of the cost of housing, shifting population centers and potentially causing greater environmental harm on balance due to longer commutes.
Inland Action urges a complete review and reform of the California Environmental Quality Act to ease the State’s affordable housing crisis which would consider funding for community facility costs which are currently placed exclusively on homebuyers, possible reduction of State-mandated regulations that lead to higher construction costs, and other strategies to increase the viability of affordable housing projects. Meaningful CEQA reform should also seek to eliminate anonymous lawsuits and end redundant CEQA review.
Inland Action urges support for the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees’ 2018-19 budget plan to ensure the CSU and its local San Bernardino campus continue to produce skilled college graduates to meet the State’s and region’s workforce needs. The Governor’s 2018-19 budget augmentation for the California State University – $92 million – is $60 million less than new resources approved for the system in last year’s spending plan. Governor Brown’s 2018-19 budget allows for zero enrollment growth for the CSU, a system of 23 campuses serving 480,000 students.
For the underserved Inland Empire, the Governor’s budget for the CSU is especially alarming. Increasing numbers of high school students from the two-county region are making themselves ready for college by completing the A to G course requirements*, yet 1,000 or more qualified freshman applicants seeking a seat at their local San Bernardino campus in Fall 2018 will be turned away under the Governor’s budget. An even greater number of eligible California Community College transfer students hoping to attend CSU San Bernardino will be denied admission or will be redirected to another CSU campus.
In a state that will face a shortage of more than one million college graduates by 2030, and in a region that suffers from the lowest four-year college degree attainment rate in the nation for metropolitan areas of one million or more, it makes no sense to turn away qualified, deserving students. California and the Inland Empire desperately need more college graduates to fill and attract knowledge-based, high-paying jobs.
The California State University is committed to access and opportunity for Californians. Full funding of the 2018-19 CSU Board of Trustees’ budget augmentation request ($283 million) will allow for a one percent enrollment increase – or more than 4,000 additional students systemwide – as opposed to zero enrollment growth under the Governor’s proposed budget for CSU. Even with a one percent enrollment increase, the California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) campus, which already is overenrolled (or unfunded) by four percent, will be forced to deny admission to 500 or more local eligible freshman applicants.
The CSU provides California’s businesses and industries with highly qualified, well-prepared college graduates, awarding nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees in the State. In fact, one out of every 10 people employed in California earned a college degree from the CSU. The San Bernardino campus alone produces nearly 4,000 graduates each year. With 90 percent of its nearly 21,000 students coming from Inland Empire communities, 85 percent first-generation, and 70 percent low-income, CSUSB is a springboard to opportunity and plays a vital role in growing the economy and improving the quality of life in the region and State.
Inland Action supports full funding of the California State University Board of Trustees’ 2018-19 support budget request to ensure eligible California and Inland Empire students have a place at the CSU.
*Ten-year increase in high school graduates completing A-G coursework:Riverside County –
44.3% in 2015-16 compared to 27.4% in 2006-07
San Bernardino County – 37.6% in 2015-16 compared to 26.0% in 2006-07
Inland Action urges support for full funding of the University of California’s 2018-19 budget request to expand access for California students. The Governor’s 2018-19 budget augmentation of three percent for the University of California (UC) – $92.1 million – is $34 million less than the adjustment of four percent agreed upon in the 2015 Budget Act framework between the Governor and the University. For UC, the difference between a three percent adjustment and a four percent adjustment for 2018-19 means offering fewer classes and services to alleviate current overcrowding in classrooms and lesser payments towards the UC retirement program. The University of California proposed 2018-19 budget estimates total new costs of $428 million to the UC next year. The new funds from the State fill a critical component of that, but in whole about a fourth of the total need. Receiving even less means that UC can’t offer new classes or expand services when enrollment grows.
UC is grateful for these much-needed funds; however, this amount falls short of the funding needed to take care of our current students and expand access. The UC offers both undergraduate and graduate education in an academic research setting. The UC is the State’s premier public institution providing doctoral education. In Fall 2017, UC’s 10 campuses enrolled approximately 270,000 students. In 2016-17, the UC awarded 72,000 degrees. These graduates are a vital addition to the State’s workforce and innovation leadership. An additional 400,000 students participate in continuing education programs through the University extensions.
Higher education benefits individuals and the State: college graduates are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages than nongraduates, which boosts state tax revenues and reduces pressure on the social safety net. However, California’s higher education system is not keeping up with the changing economy. Projections by the Public Policy Institute of California, suggests that the State will continue to need greater numbers of highly educated workers. In 2030, if current trends persist, 38 percent of jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree. But population and education trends suggest that only 33 percent of working-age adults in California will have bachelor’s degrees by 2030—a shortfall of 1.1 million college graduates.
California and the Inland Empire desperately need more college graduates to fill and attract knowledge-based, high-paying jobs. The State can act now to close the skills gap and meet future demand. To close the gap, the State will need to set new statewide goals for higher education and make the investments that will be necessary to improve educational outcomes and increase the number of college-educated workers.
In addition to the funds provided in the Governor’s budget, the University is requesting:
On-Going Funding Request: $105 million
$70 million in lieu of 2018-19 Tuition and Student Services Fee Increase
This investment will fund improvements to ensure student success and timely graduation: faculty hiring, academic counseling, student mental health services, graduate student support, and classroom facilities.
$25 million to address impacts to students of recent growth
These funds will help address larger class sizes, the student to faculty ratio, and increased demand on student services that are consequences of the enrollment growth above the 7,500 funded in the Budget Acts of 2015 and 2016. Budget bill language resulted in enrolling 2,600 California undergraduates above the targeted amount.
$10 million for 2018-19 enrollment growth
To continue access for qualified students, UC requests enrollment growth funding for 500 California resident undergraduates ($5 million) in 2018-19 in addition to the 1,500 new students that the University will fund reducing or eliminating other expenditures ($15 million) from within its existing budget. In addition, to help meet the State’s workforce needs, support undergraduate enrollment growth, and conduct research, UC requests enrollment growth funding for 500 graduate students ($5 million).
One-Time Funds Requested: $35 million
One-time funding to address the most urgent projects on campuses—fixing classrooms, updating labs, and critical infrastructure—from the University’s backlog of State-supportable deferred maintenance needs. UC’s backlog now exceeds $4 billion and is the third largest among all State agencies.
Ensuring that students from every socioeconomic background can attend and graduate from the University of California has been central to the University’s mission since its founding 150 years ago. Improving access and completion rates for underrepresented groups, including Latinos, African Americans, and students from low-income families, is essential. To ensure that its investments pay off, the State will need to measure progress toward its goals and allocate the appropriate resources and advance programs and policies that improve student success. UC and UC Riverside stand ready to partner with the State to meet these challenges.
Inland Action supports full funding of the University of California’s 2018-19 budget request of $140 million to support funding needed to take care of our current students and expand access.
Inland Action supports Proposition 68, California Parks, Environment and Water Bond, to protect water and natural areas. The California Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, Proposition 68, is a general obligation bond that will appear on the June 2018 statewide ballot. The Act will invest $4 billion to address California’s most important water, park and natural resources needs. Key priorities addressed in the Proposition 68 include:
It has been 15 years since California has passed a bond to provide funds for water, parks, and natural areas. Today, California faces frequent and intense droughts, devastating wildfires, and growing challenges from climate change – all while California loses support from Washington to protect our water and natural areas. At the same time, too many communities in California lack access to local parks and clean water.
Inland Action supports AB 1905 (Grayson), Green Transportation Development Act to prevent duplicative lawsuits from holding up transportation projects. Inland Action has historically supported streamlining the CEQA review process. Abusive litigation has redefined CEQA, and the original intent is almost unrecognizable in current use. Efforts to empower Metropolitan Planning Organizations through a Sustainable Communities Strategy, as mandated by the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, are under constant attack. Despite the streamlining and vision encouraged by this act, CEQA litigation slows the process so badly that, ironically, the environment sometimes suffers more as a result.
AB 1905 will prevent duplicative lawsuits from holding up transportation projects that have already undergone the robust environmental review mandated by the Sustainable Communities Strategy. The planning and funding of transportation projects in California is burdensome enough. Allowing continued lawsuits to further delay these projects is counterproductive to the State’s climate goals.
Delays to the extension of the Metrolink to Perris were successfully pursued on an environmental platform when the environment was not the consideration: it was concessions to homeowners who have long lived next to the rail line but sought to take advantage of a public source of funds. Over $3,000,000 and six months later, the project moved forward. Numerous studies identify CEQA lawsuits as more often filed with goals unrelated to environmental issues.
This bill is currently in the committee process (referred to Natural Resources and Transportation) and is anticipated to make to the floor in this session. AB 1905 represents a practical approach to keeping CEQA litigation where it belongs as a true environmental tool and not a way to leverage special interests.
Inland Action opposes SB 623 (Monning), the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which would assist communities and individual domestic well owners who lack access to safe drinking water, unless amended to find a workable and equitable financial solution. Although this effort is laudable, the permanent and disproportionate financial reliance on urban communities who already invest in and recover charges for the cost of providing safe drinking water is objectionable, as it would impose a permanent assessment on ratepayers of these community water systems.
Providing safe drinking water is as fundamental to California as educating our children and providing health care and nutrition to our most needy. As such, the State General Fund should play a substantial role in solving this problem. Beyond the General Fund, the State should also maximize federal funding from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and prioritize capital funding to disadvantaged communities in future general obligation bonds.
Urban water suppliers have long partnered with agriculture and industry to cooperatively solve water supply and water quality challenges. Key to the success of these programs is an appropriate balance between “beneficiary pays” and “polluter pays.” As an example, urban water suppliers may subsidize industrial water use efficiency programs because both the urban supplier and the industry partner benefit from the water savings. On the other hand, even though urban economies benefit from industrial production, water suppliers still expect industry to accept the full cost of mitigating groundwater pollution.
As proposed to be amended, SB 623 proposes a permanent assessment on urban water ratepayers and, to a limited extent, fees on agricultural operations that contribute to legacy nitrate contamination. By shifting the financial burden for remediation of nitrates disproportionately to urban water customers, the legislation erodes long-standing State and federal policy that responsible parties be held accountable for the cost of cleaning up contamination they have caused. This sets a troubling precedent that could have far-reaching impacts for numerous other water quality disputes and clean-up efforts currently underway.
It is recognized that there are naturally occurring chemicals such as arsenic in groundwater for which there is no responsible party and historic or legacy impacts for which no responsible party exists today. Rightfully, federal resources such as “superfunds” have been established to help pay for cleanup, and federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act State Revolving Funds have also provided important financing. The State should likewise provide resources to address contamination for communities whose customers cannot afford these costs. Finally, there are other contributing factors that have led to the challenges small and disadvantaged water systems currently face, including inadequate oversight, management, and expertise in governance.
Inland Action supports administrative, legislative, and funding actions that ensure more reliable long-term water delivery for the State Water Project, including the implementation of California WaterFix and California EcoRestore. About 30 percent of Southern California’s water supply comes from Northern California, passing through the ecologically sensitive Sacramento‐San Joaquin Delta on its way to the State Water Project pumping plants in the south Delta. Communities in the Bay Area, Central Valley and coastal areas of Central California also receive water supplies through this system.
The current water system is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters. Experts have warned that without the needed fixes, a moderate sized earthquake in the Delta region could collapse our water system and leave millions without water for weeks, months or even years. Existing operations also cause reverse river flows, trap migrating fish and have led to a decline in native fish populations and significant environmental damage. Sea levels continue to rise, putting pressure on aging levees, some protecting islands more than 20 feet below sea level.
For more than a decade, State and federal water and wildlife agencies have been working on plans to modernize and improve the State’s water supply reliability and restore the Delta’s ecosystem. Companion proposals known as California WaterFix and California EcoRestore represent a strategic action plan that will achieve the State’s co-equal goals through the following actions:
Key Actions and Next Steps for State and Federal Agencies – California WaterFix made significant progress in 2017 as State and federal agencies approved key permits and water agencies from around the State, including Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, committed to significant financial investment. State and federal agencies have completed a comprehensive environmental review of the project and issued the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Study for California WaterFix.
In February 2018, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that it would stage the implementation and construction of WaterFix:
According to a cost-benefit analysis of WaterFix commissioned by DWR, urban water agencies could see $2 billion – $4 billion in net benefits from the project and agricultural agencies could see several hundred million dollars in net benefits. It also found that WaterFix costs less for urban agencies than other water supplies such as desalination or recycling.
DWR intends to issue a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in June 2018 and a final supplemental EIR in October 2018. Work on WaterFix would begin once the environmental review and permits are complete.
This is why the California Water Fix is so important:
Inland Action urges the California Water Commission to allocate funds for water storage projects supported by Proposition 1, in particular the Sites Reservoir.
Inland Action opposes provisions in the State Budget Proposal which erode funding for health care programs that maintain access to care. The State budget proposes to restrict the ability of safety net providers to dispense drugs purchased under the 340B drug discount program to Medi‑Cal beneficiaries. The 340B program is a drug discount program for providers who serve the underserved, providing much needed savings to providers, at no cost to the government. The program plays a critical role in helping safety-net providers stretch their health care dollars to maintain access to life-saving services in their communities. Restricting providers’ ability to leverage the program will affect communities’ access to care.
The budget also proposes to decrease State funding for graduate medical education while allocating $40 million in funds from Proposition 56, Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016. The intent of Proposition 56 was to use the revenue collected through increased taxes on tobacco products, to provide an additional $40 million of new revenue annually to the University of California system to increase the number of primary care and emergency physicians trained in the State. To achieve the public benefit intended by Proposition 56, it is critical that funding for the University of California be restored in this year’s budget level.
Inland Action supports AB 1795 (Gipson), which would allow specified patients to be transported directly to community care facilities other than an acute care hospital. This bill would authorize a local emergency service agency to submit, as part of its emergency service plan, a plan to transport specified patients to a community care facility in lieu of transportation to a general acute care hospital. Community care facilities could include urgent cares, behavioral/mental health facilities, or sobering centers. This will would help cut down on overcrowded Emergency Departments that are often taking care of patients who could be seen at more appropriate points of service, such as an urgent care, sobering center, etc. This bill is sponsored by California Hospital Association.
Inland Action supports AB 2112 (Santiago), which would provide for development of a statewide community-based behavioral health crisis response plan. This bill would require the State Department of Health Care Services to apply for federal grant funds made available in the 21st Century Cures Act to develop a statewide community-based behavioral health crisis response plan.
Addressing behavioral health continues to be one of the most promising and challenging issues facing hospitals and health systems today. It is one of the more pressing health care needs in communities, particularly in the Inland Empire. Unaddressed behavioral health issues can lead to unnecessary emergency department visits and uncontrolled chronic diseases, increasing the cost of care. California must continue to improve access to and greater integration of behavioral health to decrease care fragmentation and address gaps in care.
This bill was developed at the direction of the CHA/National Alliance on Mental Illness Leading the Way Coalition and is sponsored by the California Hospital Association.
Inland Action supports the Governor’s proposed budget allocation for the judiciary. The Governor’s proposed budget will provide much needed funding for underfunded courts in California. The Inland Empire courts are the second and third most underfunded courts in the State, based on workload allocation. San Bernardino County is at 76.9% of funding, while some counties far exceed the 100% mark based on workload. The Governor’s budget significantly assists in resolving these inequities.
Inland Actions supports AB 2446 (Obernolte) which would increase the number of judges in the Fourth Appellate District to eight with an appropriation of $1.202m and would fund ten of fifty authorized judgeships statewide and accompanying staff with an appropriation of $14.813m. AB 2446 would increase the number of judges in the division of the Court of Appeal for the 4th Appellate District located in the San Bernardino/Riverside area to eight judges. It would also appropriate $1,202,000 from the General fund to the judicial branch for funding the cost of that new appellate court justice and accompanying staff.
Existing law allocates additional judgeships to the various counties in accordance with uniform standards for factually determining additional need in each county, as approved by the Judicial Council. Existing law requires the Judicial Council to report biennially to the Legislature and the Governor on the factually determined need for new judgeships in each superior court using those uniform criteria for allocation of judgeships. Existing law authorizes 50 additional judges, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to be allocated to the various county superior courts pursuant to uniform criteria approved by the Judicial Council.
AB 2446 would appropriate $14,813,000 from the General fund to the judicial branch for funding the cost of ten of those 50 judgeships and accompanying staff.
Inland Action opposes AB 1759 (McCarty) as it changes conditions for release of road maintenance and repair funds shortly after legislative approval of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act. AB 1759 is a housing bill that would require compliance with State housing laws as a condition to a city or county receiving transportation funds generated out of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 recently passed to increase in gas tax for transportation maintenance and repairs. As currently drafted, AB 1759 requires that counties and municipalities be certified by the Department of Housing and Community Development as meeting their regional housing needs requirement to be eligible for apportionment of SB 1 funds. This bill provides that if Department of Housing and Community Development does not certify that a city or county complies with State law requirements for the community’s share of regional housing needs, State transportation funding from the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program to that county or city will be withheld until such compliance occurs.
SB 1 was a highly controversial tax increase passed by the legislature. SB 1 was enacted without conditions relating to compliance with State housing requirements or any other non-transportation matters. SB 1 was proposed and enacted as a transportation bill that would fund the maintenance and repair of California roads and highways. AB 1759 now attempts to change the rules after SB 1 has been passed by imposing a new condition for funding to cities and counties that relates to housing rather than transportation. If the housing conditions of AB1759 had been a part of SB 1, it is unlikely that it would have been enacted by the State legislature. Changing the rules after passage of SB 1 is both unfair and a violation of trust to both the taxpayers who supported SB 1 and the elected officials who voted in favor of SB 1.
There is currently an effort to repeal SB 1 by placing it on the ballot for November of 2018. Imposing a housing rule (meeting the regional housing needs requirement) as a condition to distributing transportation funds to cities and counties will give credence to the arguments that funds generated by the sales tax increase will be diverted and used for other purposes. If AB 1759 is enacted, it will be used in arguments to the taxpayers as to why SB 1 should be repealed; i.e., that the news sales tax revenues are not going to be used for local transportation repairs and maintenance.
Inland Action supports TIRCP funding for Zero or Low-Emission equipment for the Redlands Passenger Rail Project. The Redlands Passenger Rail Project is a progressive regional transportation project designed to connect residents, businesses and visitors to a variety of leisure, education, healthcare and other destinations. This nine-mile rail project provides new transportation choices through the implementation of a new rail service that integrates conveniently with other modes such as auto, bus and bicycle.
The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) has applied for funding to purchase Diesel Multiple Unit Vehicle to Zero- or Low-Emission Vehicle Conversion. This would provide funding for a pilot effort to develop a Zero or Low-Emission Multiple Unit (ZEMU) that would operate on the Redlands Passenger Rail Corridor. Inland Action supports this TIRCP funding for an important project that will provide clean transit service to one of the highly polluted areas in the South Coast Air Basin.
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Inland Action supports SB-600 (Galgiani), that will create tax incentives for manufacturing and research and development in order to create more high-wage jobs. Assembly Bill 600 and Senate Bill 600, are co-authored to make California more attractive to manufacturers and producers. AB 600 and SB 600 would improve an existing partial sales tax exemption created by the Legislature and the governor four years ago for manufacturing and research and development companies.
The average California manufacturing job pays $83,000 a year, and for every manufacturing job created, 2.5 additional jobs are created due to a multiplier effect. Since 2010, California has attracted less than 2 percent of the country’s manufacturing investments. Existing sales and use tax laws impose taxes on retailers measured by gross receipts from the sale of tangible personal property sold at retail in this state, or on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property purchased from a retailer for storage, use, or other consumption in this state, measured by sales price. Those laws partially exempt from those taxes, for a specified period, the gross receipts from the sale of, and the storage, use, or other consumption of, specified tangible personal property purchased for use by a qualified person to be used primarily in manufacturing or other processes, and in research and development. Consumables with a useful life of less than one year do not qualify for exemption.
This bill would additionally define useful life by reference to manufacturer or other warranties, maintenance contracts, and normal replacement as established by industry or business practices and would provide that those definitions would apply on and after July 1, 2014. The bill, for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2030, would additionally exempt from those taxes special purpose buildings and foundations used for the generation, production, storage, or distribution of electric power and would expand the definition of qualified person to include, among others, a person primarily engaged in the business of electric power generation.
The bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would improve the State’s sales and use tax incentives to promote a stronger California economy by securing a greater share of the high-paying, high-skilled jobs in manufacturing and research and development. AB 600 and SB 600 are sponsored by the California Taxpayers Association and the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and are supported by small business groups, construction companies, farmers, life sciences firms and countless other companies and associations that do business in California.
Inland Action supports AB-1111 (Garcia), Removing Barriers to Employment Act, which assists individuals with multiple barriers to employment. AB 1111, also introduced by Assemblyman Steinorth, would create a grant program to assist individuals who have multiple barriers to employment to receive the remedial education and work readiness skills that will help those individuals to successfully participate in training, apprenticeship, or employment opportunities that enhance skill development that will lead to self-sufficiency and economic stability. Partnerships between community-based organizations, workforce development boards and providers of quality education and training are demonstrably strengthened in ways that benefit their client’s ability to continue to access services that ultimately lead clients utilizing career pathways and sector strategies.
This bill would enact the Removing Barriers to Employment Act, which would establish the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The bill would require the initiative to be led by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development and authorizes the secretary to assign all or part of the administration of the initiative to one or more entities within the agency’s oversight, or to authorize another state agency, to administer a portion of the initiative. The bill would specify that the purpose of the initiative is to create a grant program to assist individuals who have multiple barriers to employment to receive the remedial education and work readiness skills that will help those individuals to successfully participate in training, apprenticeship, or employment opportunities that enhance skill development that will lead to self-sufficiency and economic stability, and would set forth the goals of the initiative.
The bill would require the secretary to develop criteria for the selection of grant recipients, as specified, and would require the secretary, by January 1, 2019, and annually thereafter, to post a report on the agency’s Internet Web site that provides a status report on the implementation of the initiative and aggregates information provided by grant recipients. The bill would authorize the secretary to fund a project that uses a model that was previously funded as a pilot project under certain programs if specified criteria are met. The bill would make the funding of the initiative subject to an appropriation by the Legislature for that purpose and would make implementation of the initiative contingent on the secretary notifying the Department of Finance that sufficient moneys have been appropriated.
Inland Action supports SB 3 (Beall) Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 to fund existing affordable housing programs in California. Also coauthored by Senator Connie Leyva, SB 3 provides $3 billion through a statewide housing bond to fix existing affordable housing programs in California. This bond will result in 147,000 jobs, over $9 billion in labor income, $24.5 billion in economic activity and $1.1 billion in additional local and state taxes and fees.
This bill would enact the Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, which, if adopted, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $3,000,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law. Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be used to finance various existing housing programs, as well as infill infrastructure financing and affordable housing matching grant programs.
California is experiencing an extreme housing shortage with 2.2 million extremely low income and very low income renter households competing for only 664,000 affordable rental homes. This leaves more than 1.54 million of California’s lowest income households without access to affordable housing.
While homelessness across the United States is in an overall decline, homelessness in California is rising. In 2015, California had 115,738 homeless people, which accounted for 21% of the nation’s homeless population. This is an increase of 1.6% from the prior year. California also had the highest rate of unsheltered people, at 64% or 73,699 people; the largest numbers of unaccompanied homeless children and youth, at 10,416 people or 28% of the national total; the largest number of veterans experiencing homelessness, at 11,311 or 24% of the national homeless veteran population; and the second largest number of people in families with chronic patterns of homelessness, at 22,582 or 11% of the State’s homeless family population.
California is home to 21 of the 30 most expensive rental housing markets in the country, which has had a disproportionate impact on the middle class and the working poor. California requires the third highest wage in the country to afford housing, behind Hawaii and Washington, D.C. The fair market rent, which indicates the amount of money that a given property would require if it were open for leasing, for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,386. To afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn an hourly “housing wage” of $26.65 per hour. This means that a person earning minimum wage must work an average of three jobs to pay the rent for a two-bedroom unit. In some areas of the State, these numbers are even higher.
Low-income families are forced to spend more and more of their income on rent, which leaves little else for other basic necessities. Many renters must postpone or forgo home ownership, live in more crowded housing, commute further to work, or, in some cases, choose to live and work elsewhere.
California has seen a significant reduction of State funding in recent years. The funds from Proposition 46 of 2002 and Proposition 1C of 2006, totaling nearly $5 billion for a variety of affordable housing programs, have been expended. Combined with the loss of redevelopment funds, $1.5 billion of annual State investment dedicated to housing has been lost, leaving several critical housing programs unfunded.
High housing costs and the shortage of housing stock in California directly affect the future health of California’s economy and, given the staggering numbers indicated above, bold action is necessary. Investment in existing and successful housing programs to expand the State’s housing stock should benefit California’s homeless and low-income earners, as well as some of the State’s most vulnerable populations, including foster and at-risk youth, persons with developmental and physical disabilities, farmworkers, the elderly, single parents with children, and survivors of domestic violence.
Investment in housing creates jobs and provides local benefits. The estimated one-year impact of building 100 rental apartments in a typical local area include $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 161 local jobs or 1.62 jobs per apartment. The additional annually recurring impact of building 100 rental apartments in a typical local area include $2.6 million in local income, $503,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 44 local jobs or .44 jobs per apartment.
Inland Action supports AB 912 (Obernolte), the California Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act, which would require a State agency to assist small business in complying with all statues and regulations administered by the State agency. This bill would require a State agency to assist a small business, as defined, in complying with all statutes and regulations administered by the State agency and in any enforcement action by the State agency. The bill would require a State agency to establish a policy, by December 31, 2018, that provides for the reduction, and under certain circumstances waiver, of civil penalties for a small business based upon mitigating factors including, but not limited to, that the violation by the small business did not pose an imminent health, safety, or environmental threat.
This bill would require a State agency to assist a small business in complying with all statutes and regulations administered by the State agency and in any enforcement action by the State agency. The bill would require a State agency to establish a policy, by December 31, 2018, that provides for the reduction of civil penalties for violations of regulatory or statutory requirements by a small business under appropriate circumstances. The bill would authorize the State agency to update the policy to reflect current issues and conditions affecting small businesses and the State agency. The bill would require the State agency to post a current copy of the policy on the State agency’s Internet Web site and, until June 30, 2022, to annually post specified information about enforcement actions and penalty reductions.
Inland Action supports California Strategic Growth Council designation of the City of Ontario as the third location for the Transformative Climate Communities Program. Designation as the third location is based largely upon CalEnviroScreen 2.0 scoring, which measures nineteen census-level criteria related to income, education, health, air and water quality and other issues. City of Ontario census tracts fall within the top ten communities statewide, as measured by these criteria. In 2016, the cities of Fresno and Los Angeles were designated as the initial Transformative Climate Communities in the State. The Strategic Growth Council could potentially designate the third location this summer.
If approved, the City of Ontario would propose to implement new housing units in the area of Holt Boulevard in which the City will make substantial investments, as well as implement new bus rapid transit service in cooperation with the regional transit operator and regional transportation planning agency connecting areas of Holt Boulevard with Metrolink rail stations in Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga, with Ontario International Airport, and with Victoria Gardens, a regional shopping and cultural center. The Transformative Climate Communities designation will provide an important revenue source in a complex matrix of local and regional funding sources which will help to elevate this most impacted area in the City of Ontario.
Inland Action supports full funding of the California State University Board of Trustees’ 2017-18 budget request to ensure eligible California and Inland Empire students have a place at the CSU. The Governor’s budget proposal for the California State University ($157 million) allows for zero enrollment growth. For the Inland Empire, this is especially alarming. More and more graduating high school students from the two-county region are making themselves eligible for the CSU, yet over 50% of qualified applicants seeking a seat at their local San Bernardino campus will be turned away under the Governor’s budget.
In a state that will face a shortage of more than one million college graduates by 2030, and in a region that suffers from the lowest four-year college degree attainment rate in the nation, it makes no sense to turn away qualified, deserving students. California and the Inland Empire desperately need more college graduates to fill and attract knowledge-based, high-paying jobs.
The California State University is committed to access and opportunity for Californians. Full funding of the 2017-18 CSU Board of Trustees’ budget request ($344 million) will allow a one percent enrollment increase – or more than 4,000 additional students – as opposed to zero enrollment growth under the Governor’s proposed budget.
The CSU provides California’s businesses and industries with highly qualified, well prepared college graduates – awarding nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees in the State. In fact, one out of every ten people employed in California earned a college degree from the CSU. The San Bernardino campus alone produces nearly 4,000 graduates each year. With 90 percent of its students coming from Inland Empire communities, 80 percent first-generation, and 70 percent low-income, CSUSB is a springboard to opportunity and plays a vital role in growing the economy and improving the quality of life in the region and state.
Inland Action supports full funding of the University of California’s 2017-18 budget request to expand access for California students. The University of California is requesting that the legislature support Governor Brown’s January budget proposal for a 4% adjustment to the University of California’s operating budget and Proposition 2 funds for the UC retirement program.
To meet enrollment demand, UC is also requesting:
None of these requests were included in the governor’s preliminary budget released in January.
Enrollment growth funding for California resident students will support the improvement of student-faculty ratios, increase course availability, expand access to student mental health services, increase financial aid and will help address the University’s most critical capital needs.
While the Inland Empire economy continues on the upswing, the growth of high-paying jobs and quality firms continues to be hindered by low educational attainment. According to John Husing, chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, the share of people who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the Inland Empire is 20.1%, compared with 30.1%t in Los Angeles County, and 37.1% in Orange County.
The University of California, Riverside is one of ten universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California. Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR currently hosts 22,921 students (19,799 undergraduate and 3,122 graduate). The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.
UCR and the State have long partnered to provide a high-caliber educational experience for all qualified California students, regardless of social background or financial situation. Over 55% of UCR students qualify for a Pell Grant. That partnership has paid off. UCR has educated generations of Californians who have contributed to the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the region and beyond.
Inland Action urges support for the University of California’s requested $25 million to grow enrollment of undergraduate students, $9 million to grow enrollment of graduate students and $35 million in one-time funds for deferred maintenance to produce skilled college graduates to meet the state’s and region’s workforce needs.
Inland Action urges the repeal of the 11.3% cut to the maximum CAL Grant award and to maintain the $9,084 award amount in the 2017-2018 State budget for students at non-profit institutions. Employers in the inland Southern California region are struggling to find skilled and educated workers to advance the region’s economy. The higher education institutions in the region are routinely impacted, which limit the choices of the region’s youth for a college education. The nationally-accredited nonprofit institutions in the region help fulfill this need.
Inland Action urges the repeal of the 11.3% cut to the maximum Cal Grant award and to maintain the $9,084 award amount in the 2017-2018 State budget for students at non-profit institutions. The cut unfairly targets students who attend a private, non-profit institution. Maintaining the current award level would cost an estimated $8.4 million in the General Fund for 2017-18 (equivalent to 0.007% of the 2016-17 General Fund expenditures). Repealing the cut protects access and choice for low-income students and saves the State money.
As recognized in the California Master Plan for Higher Education, California’s private, non-profit colleges and universities play a unique and important role in serving and enrolling California’s students. The Cal Grant award, the State’s financial aid program, provides further opportunities for hardworking, low-income students to attend an Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) institution of their choice.
In 2012, the Legislature and Governor approved a funding reduction for students enrolled in a private, non-profit institution of higher education that reduced the grant award from its previous value of $9,708 to $9,223 in 2012-13. Funds were reduced further to $9,084 for 2013-14 through 2016-17. This represents a 6.4% cut to a grant that has not seen an increase in value since 2000. The Cal Grant award will be reduced for all new grantees at private, non-profit colleges and universities beginning July 1, 2017 from $9,084 to $8,056, an 11.3% cut for California’s neediest students, providing less financial aid than a similar student received in 1998.
The average family income of a Cal Grant A award student at a private, non-profit college is less than $41,000, which is significantly less than the average family income of a Cal Grant A award student in the California State University (CSU) system. The average family income for a Cal Grant B award student is just over $20,000, similar to their peers in public, four-year institutions. These families cannot afford to make up the difference of funding cuts totaling more than $1,000. In the event that awards are decreased for a third time in four years, students may be forced to reconsider attending a private, non-profit university. This comes at a time when greater access to higher education is essential to the State’s economic growth and as the University of California (UC) and CSU systems are grappling with capacity constraints.
The graduation rate of Cal Grant recipients at private, non-profit institutions is impressive. After four years of study, 59% of Cal Grant students at private, non-profit institutions have graduated. This is comparable to the overall graduation rates of UC.
The State has long recognized the role of private, non-profit institutions in meeting the State’s goals via the Master Plan for Higher Education. As a result, the Independent Sector annually enrolls over 332,000 undergraduate and graduate students, producing 22% of all undergraduates and 55% of graduate professionals into the workforce each year.
Today, University of Redlands serves nearly 600 Cal Grant students. Their students are not only economically diverse, but also ethnically diverse. Of our first year Cal Grant recipients in Fall 2015, 65% were students of color and 70% were among the first generation in their family to attend a four year university. Not only are they proud of admitting students of all backgrounds, they are proud to provide them with the support needed to get to graduation successfully. First-year retention and four year graduation rates of our Cal Grant students have outperformed their overall student body consistently.
The UC and CSU systems benefit from State budget support in addition to student financial assistance through Cal Grants. As a result, it costs the State less for a Cal Grant student to attend a non-profit higher education institution than a four-year public institution. At a non-profit institution, a student can receive up to $36,336 in Cal Grant funding over four years, where the average Cal Grant award is $8,609 per year. Once State education subsidies are added, a Cal Grant student in the UC system receives $100,000 in total state funding while a Cal Grant student at CSU receives over $54,000 in support, assuming they graduate in four years.
Inland Action supports the California WaterFix to upgrade California’s aging water infrastructure. California WaterFix is a proposed plan to upgrade California’s aging water infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to address changing conditions. Two new underground tunnels would transport drinking water from the north Delta to the south. The tunnels would provide flexibility and reduce conflicts with migrating fish. They would capture excess flows to store in reservoirs or groundwater aquifers for future use. And, they would protect against sea level rise and levee failure, helping to safeguard this high-quality drinking water for millions of Californians.
Imported water from the Delta is vital to the Inland Empire because the region stores this water to sustain the region during droughts and uses it to replenish groundwater basins. The high-quality supply form Northern California is crucial to our ground water basins and for recycling water. California WaterFix is an opportunity to address current challenges in the Delta while also planning for future ones.
Action: Support administration/legislative action and federal funding to keep California WaterFix on schedule. Support the advancement of permitting for conveyance and ecosystem improvements that help achieve the coequal goals of water reliability and ecosystem restoration.
Background: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is where California’s two largest rivers meet, an area where saltwater from the Pacific mingles with freshwater from the rivers. The 738,000-acre Delta is a complex web of waterways, sloughs, canals and islands. It also is the linchpin in the State Water Project, the system that supplies drinking water to more than 25 million Californians and approximately 45% of the fruits and vegetables produced in the United States.
The Delta is home to 500,000 people and provides habitat for more than 300 species of wildlife, 29 of which are threatened or endangered. The fertile peat soil produces $700 million annually in agricultural crops, and the Delta’s ecosystem supports the commercial salmon industry of the entire west coast.
Water flowing through the Delta supplies 30% of Southern California’s drinking water (4% of total Delta exports), 33% of the Bay Area’s, and up to 90% of the Central Valley’s drinking and irrigation water. Some communities are 100% dependent on the Delta for their water supplies.
Over the years, the Delta’s ecosystem has deteriorated, and its 1,100-mile levee system is increasingly vulnerable to failure caused by earthquakes, floods and other forces of nature. The decline of the Delta’s ecosystem has led to historic restrictions in water supply deliveries. The result is a pressing two-fold need to improve California’s water reliability and restore the Delta’s fragile ecosystem.
The Delta was once a vast marshland covered with tulles and teaming with wildlife. Settlers, lured at first by the gold rush of the mid 1800s, built levees to drain and reclaim the land. Tidal wetlands are an important source of food and shelter for fish such as delta smelt that live year-round in the estuary. Adjacent floodplains such as the Yolo Bypass are feeding grounds for young salmon on their journey to the Pacific Ocean.
Today, about 95% of the original wetlands and original floodplains are no longer part of the Delta ecosystem due to levee construction and other human activities. Yet it remains California’s most important estuary and a vital environmental resource, home to more than 750 plant, bird, animal, and fish species.
Today’s Delta region faces numerous threats that are projected to worsen. Absent intervention, California’s water supply system and the Delta ecosystem are at risk of collapse and are projected to worsen due to a variety of natural and man-made stressors. The four main stress factors are seismic threats, sea-level rise, land subsidence from farming practices, and fishery declines.
More than 95% of the biomass in the Delta is non-native. Striped bass, Black bass, Asian clams and many other invaders, large and small, are either eating the native populations or the foods on which they rely. In this highly-altered environment, the introduced species are over-running the native species and are a key factor in reducing populations of some endangered species.
Public water agencies are promoting a more comprehensive approach to restoring the Delta as a way to restoring reliable water supplies long-term.
Fixing the Problem: Federal and State officials, water agencies, and other interested parties have undertaken a comprehensive effort to fundamentally and systematically improve both the State’s water supply reliability and restore the Delta’s ecosystem. These efforts are known as the California WaterFix and California EcoRestore. These strategic action plans will construct a new conveyance tunnel to protect California’s water supply and improve the Delta ecosystem through habitat restoration.
Without a strategic investment in the Delta, the water supply and ecosystem will continue to deteriorate and jeopardize the delivery of safe, reliable drinking water to 25 million people.
The California WaterFix proposes to build three new intakes in the northern Delta and to transport the supply via twin tunnels to the existing California Aqueduct system. The new intakes will improve drinking water quality while creating a much more flexible water project that can avoid conflicts with migrating fish species. The tunnel conveyance method will protect the supply from natural threats such as earthquakes. To further help the Delta ecosystem, California EcoRestore proposes to protect and restore more than 30,000 acres of habitat such as tidal marshes and seasonal floodplains in the coming years.
After a Record of Decision authorizes the project, and funding decisions by State and federal agencies are made, California WaterFix will move into design, construction and commissioning phases, with an estimated timeframe of approximately 16 years.
California WaterFix is science-driven and achievable approach that scientists and water experts tell us will help fix California’s aging water delivery system and protect our economy. This current project has been the subject of an unprecedented level of study and scrutiny, as well as public review and comment.
Current cost estimates, while not finalized, put the average cost of the project at about $5 per household per month, making it a sound investment in protecting our water supplies and the quality of that water. The generations before us invested in infrastructure, including water systems, that made California strong, prosperous and the envy of the world. It’s time to renew that commitment by investing in California Water Fix. In the coming months, major environmental and permitting decisions will be made. Water agencies will carefully consider the investments and next steps.
Inland Action encourages active participation and support from State and federal agencies in the development and implementation of the Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan. A plan has been developed to implement long-term habitat restoration to the Upper Santa Ana River Basin through a multi-species habitat conservation plan. Implementing this plan, would provide more certainty to various water and other regional projects near the Santa Ana River.
The Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan (Upper SAR HCP) is a collaborative effort among the water resource agencies of the Santa Ana River Watershed, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and several other government agencies and stakeholder organizations. The purpose of the Upper SAR HCP is to allow the water resource agencies to continue to provide and maintain a secure source of water for the residents and businesses in the watershed and to conserve and maintain natural rivers and streams that provide that habitat for a diversity of unique and rare species and opportunities for activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The Upper SAR HCP specifies how species and their habitats will be protected and managed in the future and will provide the incidental take permits needed by the water resource agencies under the federal and State endangered species acts to maintain, operate and improve water resource infrastructure. (See appendix for map.)
Current coalition members include: Western Municipal Water District, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, Riverside Public Utilities, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, City of Rialto, City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department, East Valley Water District, West Valley Water District, San Bernardino County Flood Control District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Orange County Water District, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Endangered Habitats League, Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, San Bernardino County Administrative Office.
List of Covered Species (Draft):
Inland Action supports SB 17 (Hernandez) Prescription Drug Pricing because it provides advance notice and information on price increases. Prescription drug prices, for both new and existing drugs, keep climbing year after year, driving up overall health care costs. The unit price of drugs and other health care costs are higher in this country than in other industrialized countries. SB 17 takes a modest step toward transparency by providing advance notice of price increases and additional information about drug pricing and its impact on health insurance rates.
California has made information public on costs and quality of health care facilities because of the tremendous impact on public and private purchasers. SB 17 will help to fill the gap on prescription drug prices by making information public about pricing decisions and the drivers of drug costs.
The bill will require drug manufacturers to notify state purchasers 90-days’ in advance of price hikes for most prescription drugs and to provide public information about the reasons for price increases and the impact of drug cost on health insurance premiums.
Inland Action supports AB 182 (Waldron) and AB 715 (Wood) which are legislative vehicles that seek to address the Opioid Epidemic. The overuse of opioid medication was declared an epidemic by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2011. Accidental deaths from drug overdose now exceed those caused by motor vehicles and firearms. Five times as many babies need treatment for opioid exposure, and hospital admissions for opioid addiction treatment have increased fivefold, at a staggering cost. In 2015, there were 34 opioid-related deaths and 380 visits or hospitalizations related to opioid overdose in San Bernardino County.
AB 182 (Waldron), the Heroin and Opioid Public Education (HOPE) Act, would require the State Department of Health Care Services, in consultation with stakeholders, to develop, coordinate, implement, and oversee a comprehensive multicultural public awareness campaign, to be known as “Heroin and Opioid Public Education (HOPE).” The bill would require the HOPE program to provide for the coordinated and widespread public dissemination of individual case stories and other generalized information that is designed to, among other things, describe the effects and warning signs of heroin use and opioid medication abuse, so as to better enable members of the public to determine when help is needed and identify the pathways that are available for individuals to seek help.
AB 715 (Wood), Workgroup Review of Opioid Pain Reliever Use and Abuse, would require the State Department of Public Health to convene a workgroup, comprised of members selected by the department, to review existing prescription guidelines and develop a recommended statewide guideline addressing best practices for prescribing opioid pain relievers.
Inland Action supports continuation of the Cal MediConnect Program through 2019, as included in the Governor’s Budget Proposal. The Cal MediConnect program coordinates benefits for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal through an all-in-one health plan that covers medical, prescription drugs and long-term services and supports.
With Cal MediConnect, members receive one member ID card, one phone number to call, and one health insurance plan to help guide them to the care they need, alleviating confusion, increasing access, and providing comprehensive care.
Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), alone, serves over 23,000 vulnerable CalMediConnect seniors in the Inland Empire. Program provisions include the enrollment of dual eligibles in managed care to help coordinate their Medi-Cal benefits, and the continuation of Long Term Supportive Services (LTSS) program integration under the Medi-Cal Managed Care model, which helps individuals stay out of Long Term Care (LTC) facilities.
Inland Action supports future legislation that encourages primary care provider expansion. There is a severe shortage of Primary Care Providers in the Inland Empire and throughout California, and the problem is getting worse. Only 22% of doctors in California are in primary care. To further complicate the matter, one third of physicians and nurse practitioners are 55 and older.
The only way to become a practicing doctor in the United States is to complete a residency program after medical school. Inland Action encourages the support of efforts to increase the cap on the number of residency slots funded by Medicare.
Inland Action supports SB 39 (Roth) and AB 414 (Medina) which would reallocate 4 vacant judgeships from Santa Clara/Alameda Counties to San Bernardino/Riverside Counties. San Bernardino and Riverside Counties are in dire need of new judgeships. There exists a statewide imbalance of judicial officers. San Bernardino County has a deficit of 48 judges, Riverside County has a deficit of 46 judges. There are counties with a significant surplus of judicial officers. In particular, Santa Clara County has 22 surplus judges and Alameda County has a surplus of 17 judges. These bills would right that wrong and would fairly serve the citizens of the counties that are underserved. The imbalance has caused courtrooms to be closed; 16% of San Bernardino County’s courtrooms are vacant. The reallocation of the 4 vacant judgeships would be a step forward in better balancing access to the courts.
Inland Action supports AB 745 (Reyes) which would designate court commissioners as magistrates in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. This bill would expand the authority of a presiding judge in the two counties to direct a court commissioner to perform specific duties and have specific authority in criminal proceedings. The critical shortage of judges in the county’s trial courts would be somewhat alleviated by the ability to use commissioners for magistrate duties: which would include the authority to issue arrest warrants and to fix the amount of bail; the authority to order search warrants; to issue and sign bench warrants; and the authority to issue a warrant of commitment. This would be a pilot program in two counties in effect until January 1, 2021.
Inland Action supports SB 238 (Hertzberg) which allows parties to prepare a digital record of exhibits before they are destroyed. This bill would address the difficulty courts experience in having sufficient space to maintain court exhibits. This bill would allow for a digital record of exhibits and would provide for these records to be certified by the clerk of the court. This would be a cost savings and an important tool to be used before the disposition of an exhibit.
Inland Action opposes SB 185 (Hertzberg) regarding drivers license suspensions which could result in an increased cost of $3,302,800 to San Bernardino Superior Courts and could cause greater hardships to citizens than current practice. The proposals for notices in this bill could add substantial costs to the courts. Further, comprehensive collection programs may have severe consequences for the specified motor vehicle violations, such as wage garnishment. Drivers License hold works!
Inland Action supports AB 1523 (Obernolte) which will authorize the use of design build process for construction of the Mount Vernon Viaduct in San Bernardino, California. AB 1523 would authorize the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority to utilize the design-build procurement process for the Mt. Vernon Viaduct project. Current law specifically prohibits the design-build process from being used on local street and road projects.
This project will reconstruct the Mount Vernon Viaduct of the BNSF Railway intermodal yard in San Bernardino. The projected cost of the Mount Vernon Viaduct project is approximately $93.7 million dollars.
The existing bridge is no longer safe and must be replaced. Failure of the existing bridge would adversely impact operation of the BNSF railyard and would create traffic and safety hazards in the western portion of the City of San Bernardino by taking out of circulation a major north-south arterial roadway.
The design build procurement process allows for an expedited project delivery schedule by allowing design and construction activities to proceed concurrently rather than sequentially. Implementation of the Design-Build process in this circumstance would accelerate the ability of local authorities to eliminate a major safety concern as much as a year earlier than the traditional process and restore a major north-south arterial within the City of San Bernardino to fully serve residents and businesses.
Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan Map
INLAND ACTION SACRAMENTO PRIORITIES
and POSITIONS AT-A-GLANCE 2016
Inland Action opposes SCA 5 (Hancock/Mitchell) as it requires all business properties to be reassessed annually, creating huge tax increases and loss of jobs and economic activity. This bill completely undermines Proposition 13 by requiring all business properties to be reassessed annually, resulting in new baselines each year; and, consequently, huge tax increases for business owners. This will even impact businesses leasing their property. This measure would exempt from taxation an amount up to $500,000 of tangible personal property used exclusively for business purposes (i.e. business equipment).
A report from Pepperdine University’s Davenport Institute reveals that taxing commercial and industrial property without Proposition 13’s protections would result in $71.8 billion in reduced economic activity and a loss of 398,345 jobs over the first five years, with impacts increasing over time. A split-roll property tax system is an ill-advised idea that would imperil the State’s economy and likely be one of the single most damaging tax policy changes that could occur in California. The mere proposal of a split roll causes concerns about the uncertainty of California’s business climate and has a chilling effect on businesses considering an operation or expansion in California. When businesses believe their property taxes could substantially increase over time, it adds one more nail to the coffin of California’s business climate.
Inland Action opposes SB 878 (Leyva) as it requires employers to provide a 28-day notice of work schedule and imposes harsh penalties for unexpected schedule changes. This bill mandates an employer in the retail, restaurant, or grocery industry—regardless of size—to provide employees with a 21-day work schedule that must be given to an employee at least seven days before the first scheduled shift, which thereby requires a 28-day notice of their work schedule. The bill will require employers to provide predictability to employees, but it will sacrifice flexibility in the workplace. Employers will no longer be able to accommodate last-minute requests by employees for schedule changes due to personal needs.
The scope of this bill is daunting, and the burden it will impose is overwhelming. Even the existing San Francisco Ordinance that applies to large employers with 500 or more employees and who have more sophisticated scheduling software and technology, has created significant challenges with regard to advance scheduling and accommodating schedule changes. A small employer with limited resources will not be able to manage the 21-day “work schedule” that must be given to employees at least 7 days in advance of their first shift, or the nuances with regard to when “modification pay” applies.
Although SB 878 provides several exemptions as to when “modification pay” applies, employers will nevertheless be wary to make any changes to an employee’s schedule in order to avoid the potential form modification pay. This is especially true with regard to the numerous threats of investigation and litigation authorized by this bill. SB 878 threatens an employer for failure to properly provide “modification pay” with the following: (1) a $4,000 penalty for failing to accurately provide “modification pay;” (2) another $4,000 penalty for any harm that results to the employee or “another person” from a violation of this law; (3) a $50 per day penalty for failure to “promptly comply” with the Labor Commissioner’s order; (4) investigation by the Labor Commissioner; (5) prosecution by the Attorney General; (6) a representative action by an employee under Labor Code Sections 2698 et seq., with penalties of $100 per employee per pay period and attorney’s fees; and (6) an unfair competition claim under Business and Professions Code Sections 17200, et seq. With all of these potential consequences at risk, an employer covered by SB 878 will never change an employee schedule, even if it appears the change falls within one of the listed exceptions or the employee actually volunteers and requests the change/additional hours of work. The risk to the employer for a mistake is simply too great.
SB 878 requires all employers who sell food or merchandise to basically provide a 28-day notice of an employee’s schedule. Specifically, SB 878 requires a 21-day work schedule that must be given to an employee no fewer than 7 days in advance before the first shift. First, this mandate fails to take into consideration the varying business models for employers who sell food or merchandise. While some may have predictability in their business cycle and, therefore, have the ability to provide such extensive notice, others simply cannot. Second, this mandate will force an employee to predict their own schedule more than 30 days in advance in order to provide their availability to an employer so the employer can create a 28-day notice schedule. Many employees simply cannot commit to shifts so far in advance, and end up frustrated with the schedule they receive that the employer cannot or will not change due to the threat of financial penalties.
Inland Action supports AB 2642 (Garcia/Eggman/Garcia/Gomez/Maienschein) as it creates a grant program to address the needs of people with multiple barriers to employment. This bill would enact the Removing Barriers to Employment Act, which would require the California Workforce Investment Board to work with the Employment Development Department to create a grant program to provide funds to local workforce investment boards and community-based organizations working in partnership on proposals that will address the needs of persons who have multiple barriers to employment, to prepare them for training, apprenticeship or employment opportunities that will lead to self-sufficiency and economic stability. The bill would additionally appropriate an unspecified amount from an unspecified fund to the California Workforce Investment Board for administration of the grant program.
Inland Action supports AB 2722 (Burke) as it would create a program to reduce greenhouse gas and potential for health, economic, and workforce benefits in disadvantaged communities. This bill would create the Transformative Climate Communities Program to be administered by the Strategic Growth Council. The bill would provide that, upon appropriation by the Legislature, up to $250,000,000 shall be available from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to the Council to administer the program. The bill would require the Council, in coordination with the California Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs, to award competitive grants to specified eligible entities for the development of transformative climate community plans, and projects that implement plans, that contribute to the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and demonstrate potential climate, economic, workforce, health, and environmental benefits in disadvantaged communities, as defined, that have a demonstrated need for climate, economic, workforce, health, and environmental benefits.
Early Childhood Education
Inland Actions supports AB 2150 (Santiago), which would create a 12-month adjustment period for low-income families that lose eligibility for free child care because they have lost their jobs or received raises that place them beyond the salary level that qualifies for free child care.
Inland Action opposes the proposed California initiative that would eliminate all charter schools, converting them to public schools or closing them altogether. This proposed initiative would require all charter schools to convert to traditional public schools or close, at local school districts’ discretion. It would require all charter schools to return all unencumbered public funds to the State and to transfer all real property purchased with public funds to their local school districts. It authorizes State audits of school assets and provides penalties for violations.
About $5 billion in State funding and operational costs would shift from charter schools to school districts. Ongoing facility costs also would shift from charter schools to school districts, with the exact effect depending upon the decisions made by State policymakers and districts. Transition costs totaling hundreds of millions of dollars statewide for school districts to dispose of charter school property, recruit and train staff, replace textbooks, determine appropriate instructional placements for incoming students, and repurpose facilities.
The proponent of the measure, Diana Mansker, must collect the signatures of 365,880 registered voters (five percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the November 2014 general election) in order to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot. The proponent has 180 days to circulate petitions for the measure, meaning the signatures must be submitted to county elections officials by August 8, 2016.
Inland Action supports continued Local Control Funding Formula to raise students’ college and career readiness and fund career pathways. The Local Control Funding Formula has allowed students of the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) access to $147,816,357 in additional dollars of support to ensure their readiness for both college and career. Recently, SBCUSD’s graduation rates exceeded the county average, and this year it is anticipated to exceed the statewide average.
Over 7,146 high school students SBCUSD are engaged in career pathways that offer certifications and trainings in high growth and demand sectors. Continued funding for the Local Control Funding Formula is critical to San Bernardino City’s viability and economic success. SB City Unified Infographic – At-A-Glance
Inland Action supports repeal of SB 858, which caps school district reserves and increases reporting requirements, limiting districts’ ability to maintain critical programs in tight fiscal times and making it more difficult for districts to address unexpected emergency costs. In June 2014, California enacted SB 858 as part of the State budget to cap school district reserves in future years and to increase reporting requirements of district reserve levels every year. The statutory minimum for school district reserves for economic uncertainties ranges from one to five percent, depending on district enrollment. The minimum reserve only covers between one to five weeks of payroll, or less than 20 days of total cash flow. When certain conditions are met, the reserve cap for a given district would be twice that of the minimum reserve.
In 2015, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office issued its analysis of school district reserves that recommended repealing the legislation on the cap on school district reserves after making findings that school districts would have difficulty in maintaining programs in tight fiscal times, have difficulty in addressing unexpected emergency costs, be vulnerable to greater fiscal distress with higher likelihood of being flagged for fiscal intervention, and incur higher borrowing costs associated with lower credit ratings. A link to a fact sheet from the California School Boards Association is located at: https://www.csba.org/Advocacy/LegislativeAdvocacy/~/media/CSBA/Files/Advocacy/LegislativeAdvocacy/ReserveCap/201510_ReserveCapTalkingPoints.ashx
Inland Actions supports full funding of the California State University Board of Trustees’ 2016-17 budget request to ensure the CSU continues to produce skilled college graduates to meet the State’s workforce needs. The Governor’s proposal ($140 million) allows for a one percent enrollment increase, or 4,000 students system wide, while the Board of Trustees’ budget request ($101 million above the Governor’s proposal) would provide for a three percent enrollment increase, or 12,600 students across the 23 campuses.
The Public Policy Institute of California predicts that by 2030 the State will face a shortage of 1.1 million college graduates to fill jobs that drive the State’s economy. If the Inland Empire is to do its part in supplying college graduates to meet California’s workforce needs, area colleges and universities will need to produce collectively up to 20,000 graduates each year for the next 14 years. Closing the large skills gap facing California and ensuring our State is on a strong economic trajectory will require continued reinvestment in our higher education institutions.
While Inland Action appreciates that the Governor has proposed increasing CSU’s ongoing budget by $140 million (with $35 million in one-time funds for deferred maintenance projects), his proposal is $101 million short of the CSU’s budget request. The Governor’s proposal for the CSU allows for only one percent student enrollment growth, or 4,000 students, for the entire 23-campus system. For the San Bernardino campus, which serves a region that struggles from one of the lowest baccalaureate attainment rates in the nation, the Governor’s proposed budget would allow for enrollment of only 185 additional students.
The CSU remains committed to access and opportunity for Californians. Full funding of the 2016-17 CSU Board of Trustees’ budget request would enable the system to accept 12,600 additional students, or three percent growth, versus the 4,000 the Governor’s proposed budget provides. Full funding of the CSU budget request would allow the San Bernardino campus to admit up to 770 additional students as opposed to only 185 under the Governor’s proposed budget. Even with funding for three percent enrollment growth, the San Bernardino campus expects to turn away many qualified students as applications for admission to CSUSB continue at an all-time high. (CSUSB freshman applications are up 15 percent over last year, while transfer applications increased nine percent.)
The CSU provides California’s businesses and industries with highly qualified, well prepared college graduates – awarding nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees in the State. In fact, one out of every 10 people employed in California earned a degree from the CSU. The San Bernardino campus alone produces over 3,500 graduates each year who are prepared to fill and attract knowledge-based, high-paying jobs. With nearly 90 percent of its students coming from Inland Empire communities, CSUSB is a springboard to opportunity and plays a vital role in growing the economy and improving the quality of life in the region and State.
Inland Action supports the Governor’s proposed budget for the University of California, including Proposition 2 funds dedicated to assisting UC with its retirement plan unfunded liability, as well as an additional $6 million in State funding to enroll 600 more graduate students in the UC system to support faculty with research and with teaching undergraduate students. Inland Action appreciates the continuing support for higher education in Governor Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal. State support is crucial to allowing UC to keep tuition for California students at its current level for 2015-16 and 2016-17 and to maintain access, affordability and quality for our students.
Inland Action supports approval of the following items in the Governor’s budget proposal for UC:
UC would like to achieve $6 million in State funding to enroll 600 more graduate students. This enrollment will allow the University to keep pace with significant growth in undergraduate enrollment and to continue its efforts to provide the State with top-quality instruction, research and economic advancement.
UC plans on adding 10,000 additional California undergraduates, over 2014-15 levels, in the next three years. Adding undergraduates creates a corresponding need to also add faculty and increase enrollment of graduate students in order to maintain UC’s quality of instruction, research, and undergraduates’ educational experience. When it grows undergraduates, UC typically adds ladder-rank faculty who carry out all aspects of the UC mission; i.e., teaching, research, and public service. Faculty are not only supported by graduate students in their instructional duties, but graduate students are also key partners in creating new discoveries and advancing UC’s research enterprise. This in turn impacts the quality of the undergraduate experience.
Growth in undergraduate students at UC requires that UC add additional graduate students to help ensure that there are sufficient teaching assistants and graduate student instructors to handle the additional undergraduate instructional workload. UC graduate students also play a crucial role as future faculty at UC, CSU, and other California colleges and universities. Both UC and CSU depend heavily on the graduates of UC’s Ph.D. programs as nearly a quarter of UC and CSU tenure-track faculty members have a doctoral degree from UC. California’s four-year colleges and universities will need to hire tens of thousands of new faculty over the next decade to not only replace retiring faculty, but also ensure sufficient faculty to address California’s shortfall in college graduates.
Contributing to the California Economy through Research and the Workforce. UC graduate and professional programs are among the best in the world. These programs educate a large proportion of California’s doctoral and professional workforce, which drives the State’s economic growth and new industries. More than half of UC’s academic doctoral recipients plan to stay in the State. If California is to stay competitive, UC enrollment growth must include graduate education.
Supporting Student and Faculty Diversity. Enrollment growth of graduate students is also essential for supporting UC’s efforts to diversify its graduate student body and improve the diversity of the pool for future faculty hires at UC.
Lagging Behind Comparator Institutions, Graduate Student Ratios Have Declined. Graduate students are essential for UC to fulfill its Master Plan role as the State’s primary academic agency for research. Yet, as the State grows and as demand for California public higher education grows, growth in graduate enrollment has not kept pace. UC will slip further behind if it adds 10,000 undergraduates without a commensurate increase in graduate enrollment.
Inland Actions supports AB 1961 (Baker) which would set the maximum Cal Grant Award at no less than $10,000 for students attending a non-profit, independent institution of higher learning. Non-profit independent colleges in California support AB 1961, which would set the maximum Cal Grant Award for students attending a non-profit, independent institution of higher education at no less than $10,000.
Institutions in the independent, non-profit sector educate over 28,000 Cal Grant students. These students are not only economically diverse, but also ethnically diverse. Of Cal Grant students at independent colleges, 39% are Latino, 25% are Caucasian, 18% are Asian Pacific Islander, and 6% are African American.
Unfortunately, during the recession, the Cal Grant award for students who choose a non-profit, independent college was cut and has not been restored despite the resurgence of General Fund dollars. All California students deserve a spot at a California institution and, with this commitment from the State to provide a fully funded Cal Grant, coupled with institutional aid to students, they can be assured that together the State and the segment can help make that a reality.
Further, AB 1961 is a step in the right direction toward establishing a long-term funding formula for the Cal Grant, which would bring stability and predictability to the award for low-income students and their families as they plan for their higher education needs.
Inland Action opposes SB 1387 (De Leon/Allen/Lara) as it undermines local control over critical air quality rulemaking; adds political appointees to a regional air district’s board, and negatively impacts market-based incentive programs that have traditionally facilitated businesses’ ability to comply with environmental regulations. SB 1387 changes requirements for non-vehicular air pollution market-based incentive program and increases the size of the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board. SB 1387 is unnecessary and is an invasion of State government that takes away local control and weakens the public process.
Background: Existing law authorizes the board of an air pollution control or air quality management district to adopt a market-based incentive program as an element of a district’s plan for the attainment of the State or federal ambient air quality standards. Existing law also requires a district board, within 5 years from the date of the adoption of a market-based incentive program, to commence public hearings to reassess the program and, within 7 years from the date of the air district’s initial adoption of the program, to ratify specified findings with the concurrence of the State Air Resources Board.
This bill instead would:
Local air districts and their governing boards have primary jurisdiction over air pollution from all sources in their air basin, other than emissions from mobile sources. As approved by State law, the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board is made up of 13 members, where three are appointed by the State (one each by the Senate Rules Committee, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Governor) and 10 are appointed by local governments, as prescribed in statute. The members of the board serve four-year terms. AB 1387 would add three members to the district board, as specified. It would also make various conforming changes.
In addition, the California Constitution requires the State to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the State. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Inland Action supports AB 2415 (Garcia) as it promotes the use of renewable fuels and advanced low-emissions technologies, while improving air quality and health benefits.
Background: California has consistently been at the forefront of policies to protect and improve the environment. For the last 50 years, California has led the nation with tough policies and stringent regulations to reduce public exposure to air contaminants that cause asthma, cancer and other health problems. But, even with the most aggressive emissions control measures, California still suffers the worst air quality in the nation, particularly in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts.
Poor air quality creates staggering societal costs, including billions in healthcare costs and millions of missed school and work days, all of which put our state at a competitive disadvantage. Studies show California has a wide health disparity problem that cuts along economic, ethnic, and racial divides. This disparity acutely impacts those living in communities situated near polluted corridors. While the transportation sector — and specifically heavy-duty trucking — is California’s largest emissions challenge, it also offers the greatest opportunity to improve air quality and quality of life.
AB 2415 would:
AB 2415 is critical to improving air quality and public health, as well as addressing climate change, by providing incentives to increase deployment of clean heavy-duty trucks in California and retiring older, high-polluting trucks. In addition to helping the State meet federal ozone standards and emission reductions goals mandated by AB 32, the bill will grow the market for clean alternative fuels and stimulate investment in next-generation, lower-emissions technologies.
Inland Action supports AB 2415 as it promotes the use of renewable fuels and advanced low-emissions technologies. More importantly, it provides an immediate opportunity to improve California’s air quality and enhance health-related benefits for Californians.
Inland Action supports AB 2525 (Holden) as it promotes water conservation in urban landscapes and provides incentives for lawn replacement. This bill provides a multi-benefit solution that helps the State reach climate, water, and energy goals while creating jobs for underserved youth.
Background: On average Californians use over 50% of their water on landscaping and other outdoor uses. With many existing techniques and improvements are available to increase water efficiency and conservation, California landscapes present a great and largely untapped opportunity for reducing water use throughout the State. Additionally, landscaping improvements provide many co-benefits, including greenhouse gas emission reductions, improved storm water management, decreased energy use, recycling and material reuse, increased water capture, air quality improvements, and increased opportunities for workforce training and job development.
This bill expands on existing lawn replacement programs by adopting best practices of similar, but locally implemented, initiatives to help California hit its statewide goal of replacing 50 million square feet of grass turf. AB 2525 specifically calls for a watershed approach to urban landscaping that would replace lawns and inefficient sprinkler systems with native plants, water efficient irrigation methods, and water capturing systems.
AB 2525 requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to create the California Water Efficient Landscaping Program for the purpose of encouraging local agencies and water purveyors to use economic incentives that promote the efficient use of water, promote greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sequestration, promote the benefits of consistent landscape ordinances, as specified, and support and enhance water inefficient grass replacement.
This bill would:
Inland Action supports AB 2525 as it would help promote water conservation in our urban landscapes and would provide incentives for lawn replacement as a multi-benefits solution that helps the State reach its climate, water and energy goals while saving money and creating jobs for our underserved youth.
Inland Action supports AB 1886 (McCarty) as it encourages environmentally friendly infill development while lowering requirements for units in proximity to mass transit.
Background: Currently, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency to prepare and certify the completion of an environmental impact report (EIR) on a project it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment, or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect.
CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment.
CEQA exempts from its requirements transit priority projects meeting certain requirements, including the requirement that the project be within ½ mile of a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor included in a regional transportation plan. CEQA specifies that a project is considered to be within ½ mile of a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor if, among other things, all parcels within the project have no more than 25% of their area farther than ½ mile from the stop or corridor.
This bill would revise the definition of a “transit priority project” for purposes of qualifying for exemption or abbreviated review under CEQA to permit up to 50% of the parcels within the project to be farther than ½ mile from a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor, as defined.
Inland Action supports this bill as it will encourage more environmentally friendly infill development by making a slight change to allow for more flexibility in project design, while still remaining within walking distance to high quality transit. It also changes the current requirement of how much of an entire mixed use or residential infill project of no more than 200 residential units is within a ½ mile from mass transit from 75% to 50%.
Inland Action supports California Environmental Quality Act reform to prevent abusive litigation, construct needed transportation projects in a timely manner, and improve housing supply. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was signed into law in 1970 by Governor Reagan. Simply stated, it was designed to ensure projects identified and avoided or mitigated environmental impacts to the extent feasible. Since its enactment, it has been amended and interpreted through court actions. Unfortunately, today CEQA is used as a tool by entities attempting to stop projects through lengthy and costly litigation, not as it was intended. A broad array of projects face CEQA abuse, ranging from major transit plans to small community projects. Between 1997 and 2012, 59% of projects challenged under CEQA were infill projects; 19% were challenges to public infrastructure plans. When projects undergo delays from CEQA challenges, they risk investors backing out due to uncertainties. This could lead to entire projects falling through, even if a project were to ultimately survive CEQA challenges. Further, the delays from CEQA challenges translate to delayed job opportunities, both for the labor to build the project and any potential permanent workforce/business related to the project.
An example of the abuse of CEQA is described in a recent LA Times article http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-newton-ceqa-port-bnsf-20160421-story.html. BNSF Railway wanted to construct a yard close to an existing port, where trucks could deposit ship containers onto the rail network, thereby reducing traffic congestion and commensurate air pollution in the immediate vicinity of the port facility. However, the has faced eleven years of delays under CEQA. The yard would bring 22,000 direct and indirect jobs to the region and would produce millions of dollars in tax revenue.
There are numerous reasons why CEQA reform is essential today, and here are a few:
Abusive litigation. CEQA is being abused by interest groups (i.e., labor) to extract concessions from businesses. They threaten suit to stop proposed projects under the guise that the project “violates” CEQA, expecting the business to offer concessions in order to drop the lawsuit (Reference the following example: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/26/union-demands-send-japanese-firm-jobs-packing-from-california-town.html).
Effectively manage transportation funding. Relief from abuses of the CEQA could reduce costs and delays associated with highway projects. Highway projects should be insulated from injunctions, similar to the model legislatively enacted for the Kings basketball arena. Highway projects could be expedited by prohibiting a court from staying or enjoining a project unless certain specific factors are present (threat to health and safety, Native American artifacts, etc.). The future of our state economy relies on a strong transportation network that can reliably move people, goods and services. Building and maintaining such a network of roads, highways, and bridges should not get hung up in endless years of CEQA litigation and bureaucracy.
Address the housing supply crisis. The CEQA review process provides many opportunities for opponents to raise concerns regarding a project’s potential effects on a wide array of matters, including parking, traffic, air and water quality, endangered species, and historical site preservation. A project cannot move forward until all concerns are addressed, either through mitigation or through a determination of overriding concerns. Currently, after a local governing board approves a project, opponents may file a lawsuit challenging the validity of the CEQA review, putting new housing projects at risk due to the costs and time associated with litigation. A review of CEQA documents submitted to the State by California’s ten largest cites between 2004–2013 indicates that local agencies took, on average, two and a half years to approve housing projects that required an EIR.
Inland Action urges the Governor, the Office of Planning and Research, and the legislature to consider these issues throughout the budget process and enact meaningful reform to allow important transportation and housing projects to advance in a timely and efficient manner.
Inland Action supports Assembly Joint Resolution No. 36 (Mathis) and efforts to make the State water system conveyance and storage capabilities dependable and flexible enough to take advantage of wet years.
Background: Inland Action continues to be concerned that there is no effective long term plan for water sustainability in California. Despite the efforts of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to bring all stakeholders to the table, these efforts seem to be moving the discussion in separate dimensions via the California Waterfix and EcoRestore Alternatives. There is concern that the bipartisan solutions proposed by the long view of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are being lost through the effects of partisan wrangling, term limits and a lack of commitment by the legislature to obtain a statewide solution.
The demands of the continuing drought and the inability to produce or even initiate any meaningful storage capabilities or overflow policies during the recent mild El Nino is evidence of the failure to address water issues effectively.
Assembly Joint Resolution No. 36 (Mathis) properly advocates that water policy at the federal level fails to accommodate periods of high flows and the need to take advantage of these opportunities. Senator Feinstein detailed a similar frustration in a letter to the President on March 24, 2016 asking for a more nimble approach to water use and storage. California receives precipitation during very concentrated wet months, and many parts of the State may go 200 days with no measurable precipitation. By allowing additional use of overflow water, at least some of the relief granted by El Nino could be put to beneficial use. The issue of overflow water use is equally important at the state level.
Various pieces of legislation designed to block the development of the twin tunnels conveyance alternative work to make the State more divided and offer no meaningful alternatives or solutions. This project is designed to help the overall health of the Delta and does not increase the amount of water moving through the State water project, but these facts are often ignored in the discussion, as are the number of innovative water saving and re-use projects found throughout Southern California.
Inland Action will continue to advocate for these innovations, but the growth of California is dependent on making the State water system’s conveyance and storage capabilities dependable and flexible enough to allow the State to take advantage of wet years to reduce the impacts of the many dry years that historically have been encountered.
Inland Action supports AB 1300 (Ridley) as outdated 5150 law does not meet the needs of the behavioral health patient who would be served best outside of the Emergency Department. AB 1300 will ensure that individuals are given due process, safeguard their civil rights, and avoid unwarranted hospital detention. AB 1300 will, in specified instances, give emergency department physicians the authority to release individuals from an involuntary hold after conducting an assessment. AB 1300 will also reduce hospital emergency room overcrowding, increase public safety, and provide better and more timely patient care by delivering emergency behavioral health services to those who actually need it.
Background: California law authorizes individuals to temporarily be held against their will in certain “designated” hospitals for psychiatric evaluation and treatment if certain professionals believe that, due to a mental disorder, they are a danger to themselves, a danger to others or gravely disabled. The law for placing a 72-hour involuntary hold on individuals is meant to ensure due process and protect the patient from unlawful detainment while safeguarding the public. This law, part of Section 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is commonly known as a “5150” and was enacted nearly 50 years ago. Currently, there is no consistent statewide policy for the involuntary hold process, resulting in a patchwork system of care and fragmented application of due process laws in California’s 58 counties.
Current law inhibits qualified emergency department (ED) physicians from assessing and referring these patients to the care they need. The result is that patients are often kept in hospital EDs, which are chaotic by nature, and therefore not a good environment for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. No one should face involuntary detention for up to 72 hours without a timely assessment and referral to an appropriate level of care. Patients are often left languishing for hours, days or sometimes weeks awaiting psychiatric assessment from entities outside of the hospital system, and their conditions often worsen.
AB 1300 updates and strengthens existing law by:
Analysis: AB 1300 upholds the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act’s original intent to end the inappropriate, indefinite and involuntary commitment of mentally disordered persons; to provide prompt evaluation and treatment; to guarantee and protect public safety; to encourage the full use of all existing agencies, professional personnel and public funds to accomplish these objectives; and to prevent duplication of services and unnecessary expenditures. The involuntary care and behavioral health delivery system in California has evolved since the 1960s, from most psychiatric care being provided in large state institutions to a focus on community-based services, primarily in non-traditional hospital settings. However, involuntary commitment laws never considered individuals first being taken to non-designated hospital emergency departments prior to their involuntary commitment.
Currently, more than one million individuals with a behavioral health diagnosis are brought to California hospital emergency rooms each year. Between 2006-2011, the use of emergency department services increased by 47 percent for individuals with a behavioral health diagnosis. According to published research, approximately 70 percent of individuals brought to emergency departments don’t meet the threshold for requiring hospital-based inpatient psychiatric care and can be better served in community-based treatment settings. AB 1300 is a critical first step in addressing the significant challenges hospital emergency departments face in delivering behavioral health care. This measure is incremental by design and does not add new mandates or requirements for more beds or services. Rather, it allows for the more efficient use of limited emergency resources, provides a more consistent statewide application of the law and will help ensure patients receive the most appropriate care in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their needs.
Inland Action supports passage of SB 867 (Roth) which would extend the sunset date on the Maddy Emergency Medical Services Fund until January 1, 2027. Existing law established the Maddy Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fund and authorizes each county to establish an emergency medical services fund for reimbursement of costs related to emergency medical services. Existing law, until January 1, 2017, authorizes county boards of supervisors to elect to levy an additional penalty, for depositing into the EMS Fund, in the amount of $2 for every $10 upon fines, penalties, and forfeitures collected for criminal offenses. Existing law, until January 1, 2017, requires 15% of the funds collected pursuant to that provision be used to provide funding for pediatric trauma centers.
Background: The Emergency Medical Services fund was created (SB 12, Maddy, 1987) to provide supplemental financing for local emergency services. The law permits, but does not require each county to levy a $2 penalty assessment to each $10 of traffic fines, with the sums raised to be deposited in the EMS fund. Ten percent of the total revenue is annually deducted for administration, and the remaining EMS revenues are divided 58% to physicians for uncompensated ER costs, 25% to trauma centers and hospitals, and 17% for county emergency medical services.
SB 623 (Speier, Chapter 679, Statutes of 1999) additionally requires that in those counties that have established a Maddy Fund, an amount equal to a specified sum is to be deposited by the County Treasurer in the Maddy Fund.
Existing law, which sunsets on January 1, 2017, provides that a county board of supervisors may elect to levy an additional penalty of $2 for every $10 on every fine, penalty, forfeiture for criminal offenses including those relating to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and all offenses dealing with the Vehicle Code except parking offenses. The additional assessment for “the purposes of supporting emergency medical services” is in addition to the existing 20% penalty assessment for these purposes.
Money collected under the statute to be continued under this bill shall be deposited with the County Treasurer. Of the money deposited into the EMS fund under this statute, 15% shall be utilized to provide funding for pediatric trauma centers, although in another section of the bill it refers to trauma care facilities providing trauma care. The statute provides that expenditures shall be limited to reimbursement to physicians, and surgeons, and hospitals for patients who do not make payment for services, or for expanding the services provided at pediatric trauma centers, including the purchase of equipment. Counties that do not maintain a pediatric trauma center shall utilize the money deposited pursuant to this provision to improve access to pediatric trauma centers with a preference for funding given to hospitals that specialize in services to children, and physicians and surgeons who provide care to children.
Inland Action opposes AB 2467 (Gomez), which would expand existing compensation reporting obligations to include mid-level staff who reach the threshold simply because they are highly skilled and work in a competitive market, but have no organizational authority. This would unnecessarily divert resources from patient care without any real public policy benefit.
Analysis: Sponsors of this bill contend that the reporting requirements would improve transparency. Hospitals and health systems are not opposed to transparency, and currently publicly report much of the information sought. This bill only increases hospitals’ administrative costs by expanding the reporting obligations and disclosing private compensation information without justification.
Nonprofit entities are required to file an Internal Revenue Service Form 990, which is then posted on the publicly available Guidestar website. This form was updated in 2015 and requires that all officers, directors and trustee compensation be reported. In addition, key employees — which is broadly defined, but includes employees receiving compensation in excess of $150,000 — former officers and highest-compensated employees must be reported. Publicly-traded for-profit hospitals must file executive compensation information with the Securities and Exchange Commission. District hospital compensation data is subject to the Public Records Act.
AB 2467 poses privacy issues that are two-fold. First, the scope of the bill extends to any exempt employee — not just the C-Suite. For example, nurse managers or information technology personnel whose total compensation meets or exceeds $250,000 annually would be reported. As hospitals traditionally offer generous benefits to attract the highly skilled workforce needed, a salary of $200,000 plus benefits (pension, paid time off, bonus, etc.) would likely trigger reporting. In many organizations, particularly in urban areas, this reporting threshold would reach deep into the organization. Posting these reports on the OSHPD website could also raise safety concerns for some employees as their names and hospital employers would be listed.
Key Points for Opposition to AB 2467:
Inland Action supports SB 1023 (Senate Committee on Judiciary) as it will fund twelve Superior Court judgeships in the counties with the highest needs. This bill will appropriate $5 million to fund 12 superior court judge positions in judgeships currently authorized by the legislature. The Inland Region is in dire need of new judgeships. Statewide caseload reviews show that San Bernardino County has 57 fewer judges than warranted and Riverside has 51 fewer. Inland Action strongly supports legislative efforts to fund new judges to help alleviate this need and asks the Governor to sign such legislation.
Inland Action supports a compromise in the California legislature that addresses legitimate concerns and results in additional transportation funding and a long-term funding strategy. California needs additional transportation funding and an alternative to reliance on gas taxes. Gas tax revenues currently fund most of the State’s road maintenance and repairs, but gas tax revenues are declining as cars become more fuel efficient and as drivers adopt hybrids and electric vehicles. Caltrans estimates the funding gap to be about $5.7 billion per year for the State highway system alone.
Lawmakers are working on a short-term solution (including tax increases) to maintain our roadways, and we will have to depend on the gas tax for the immediate future. However, gas tax revenues will continue to fall behind our transportation funding needs over the longer term. We must ultimately find a new transportation funding model that better reflects today’s realities.
Because tax increases in California require a two-thirds vote of the legislature, it will be necessary to have a compromise between the Democratic majority and the Republican minority of the State Assembly and Senate. Failure to arrive at a compromise will result in continued lack of funding for road maintenance and the gradual and continual decline of the condition of our roadways. That is unacceptable to both individual drivers and businesses who rely upon our roadways to get to work and conduct their businesses.
The Republican leadership has raised several issues that would need to be addressed before a compromise could be reached to increase any transportation taxes, including the following:
Inland Action supports a compromise, which would include addressing these legitimate issues that have been raised by the Republican leadership in Sacramento. Of course, the devil is in the details. It is possible to take a reasonable approach to these three legitimate issues or an extreme approach (on the left or the right) which would make any compromise on adequate transportation funding impossible. Inland Action supports a good-faith effort to meet in the middle, address these legitimate conditions to additional transportation taxes, and move forward with reforms, as well as additional funding for transportation maintenance which all parties agree is necessary.
In addition to addressing these reforms and increasing short-term funding, Inland Action supports a long-term solution to transportation funding in California. Exactly what the long-term solution will be is unknown at this point in time, but the study of a road charge system (where drivers pay by the mile rather than by the gallon) should continue so that California can move to a long-term solution to funding transportation in lieu of the current gas tax model which is inadequate now and will not work for the future.
Inland Action supports Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Program grant funding for the Rail to Redlands Project. The Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) was created by Senate Bill 862 (Chapter 36, Statutes of 2014) to provide grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to fund capital improvements and operational investments that will modernize California’s transit systems and intercity, commuter, and urban rail systems to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by reducing vehicle miles traveled throughout California. The goals of the TIRCP are to fund capital improvements and operational investments that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, modernize California’s intercity rail, and bus and rail transit systems to achieve the following objectives:
Inland Action supports TIRCP grant funding for the Rail to Redlands project, which achieves the objectives of the TIRCP program. The Rail to Redlands project is an extension of light rail from the multimodal station in San Bernardino to the City of Redlands. The funding requests supported by Inland Action are as follows:
Pending Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) Grant Funding
Inland Action supports reform of CEQA to facilitate infill development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill 743, signed by Gov. Brown, in September 2013, directs the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to prepare revisions to the guidelines for the implementation of CEQA establishing criteria for determining the significance of transportation impacts of projects within transit priority areas. OPR also has discretion to establish alternative metrics to those used for traffic levels of service for transportation impacts outside transit priority areas.
The rationale for establishing new transportation analyses under CEQA is to better promote the State’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic–related air pollution, promoting development of a multimodal transportation system and providing clean, efficient access to destinations. Inland action supports those goals, especially as they relate to facilitating the development of transit oriented development.
Inland Action believes, however, that significant changes need to be made to the Revised Proposal on Updates to the CEQA Guidelines on Evaluating Transportation Impacts in CEQA, including the following:
Inland Action encourages the Governor, the Office of Planning and Research, and the legislature to enact comprehensive reform of CEQA to facilitate infill development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
End of Document
INLAND ACTION SACRAMENTO PRIORITIES
AND POSITIONS AT-A-GLANCE 2015
Inland Action opposes AB 357 (Chiu), Predictable Scheduling Mandate/Protected Leave of Absence as it harms both employers and employees and imposes unworkable constraints on food and retail sales establishments. This bill imposes an unfair, one-size fits all, two-week notice scheduling mandate on certain employers that perform retail sales activity, and penalizes these employers with “additional pay” (which is undefined by the bill) for making changes to the schedule with less than two weeks’ notice. It additionally imposes an unlimited, protected leave of absence from work, as well as a broad new protected class of employees who are receiving public assistance or have an identified family member receiving such assistance.
AB 357 fails to consider the reality of business demands, fluctuation in customer attendance, or even the expansive list of California-only protected leaves of absence that employers must adhere to that create short-notice schedule changes for employers and employees. This bill would harm both employers and employees. If an employee has a last minute change to their schedule, the employer won’t be able to accommodate without being penalized.
In December 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” that included a “fair scheduling” mandate, similar to that proposed in AB 357. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee did not sign this ordinance, which will not go into effect until July 3, 2015. San Francisco has yet to see the consequences either intended or unintended from the impact of its local ordinance mandating penalties for schedule changes.
Inland Action supports AB 35 (Chiu), Low Income Housing Tax Credit, as it will significantly increase the resources available to create and preserve affordable housing. AB 35 is an important step to help address California’s growing housing shortage. It modifies the existing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and increases the aggregate credit amount that may be annually allocated to low-income housing projects by $300m for the 2015 calendar year and each calendar year thereafter. Specifically, beginning in 2015 and each year thereafter, this bill increases the amount of State LIHTC by an additional $300 million, as adjusted for inflation beginning in 2016.
AB 35 will significantly increase the resources available to create and preserve affordable housing. The $300 million will not only increase California investment in low-income housing, but it will help leverage an additional $600 million in federal housing resources. In order to keep the costs of housing low and affordable in California, we must do everything possible to encourage the construction of both affordable and market rate housing. AB 35 is a step in that “right direction.”
Inland Action supports the California State University and University of California requests for an additional $97m each in State funding. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) predicts that by 2025 the State will face a shortage of one million college graduates needed to fill jobs that drive the State’s economy. If the Inland Empire is to do its part in supplying the college graduates to meet California’s future workforce needs, area colleges and universities will need to produce a combined 16,000 graduates each year for the next 10 years. Yet, there are limitations on what can be done without meaningful support from the State of California.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 fully eligible California students were turned away by the California State University (CSU) alone in recent years because of lack of funding. The Governor’s proposed $119m budget for the CSU allows for only one percent student enrollment growth, or 4,000 new students, for the entire 23-campus system. For the San Bernardino campus, which serves a region that suffers from one of the lowest baccalaureate degree attainment rates in the nation, the Governor’s proposed budget would allow only 150 new students.
The CSU remains committed to access and opportunity for Californians, and the CSU Board of Trustees is requesting an additional $97 million from the legislature. This additional investment would enable the system to accept 12,000 new students, or three percent growth, versus the 4,000 the Governor’s proposed budget provides. The additional funding would allow the San Bernardino campus, which has a seven percent increase in freshman applications over last year, to admit up to 450 new students as opposed to only 150 under the Governor’s proposed budget.
The CSU provides California’s businesses and industries with highly qualified, well prepared college graduates – awarding nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees in the State. In fact, one in ten employees in California is a CSU graduate. The San Bernardino campus alone produces more than 3,500 graduates each year who are prepared to fill high-paying, knowledge-based jobs. With nearly 92% of its students coming from Inland Empire communities, CSUSB is a springboard to opportunity and plays a vital role in growing the economy and improving the quality of life in the region and State.
Inland Action also supports making funding for the University of California (UC) a top priority to increase access to and affordability for a high-quality education for California students. Despite the health of the State economy, the University receives the same level of State funding as it did in 1999, but educates 83,000 more students today. That’s equivalent to adding a UC Berkeley and a UCLA without additional funding.
The total State budget is $165 billion for 2015-16. Of the $165 billion State budget, UC is asking for an additional $97.7m in State investment that will allow the University to meet its fundamental goals of access, affordability and excellence and enable UC to:
The most recent estimates of revenues associated with the 2015-16 Budget are that they could exceed January projections by up to $4 billion. The time for a reset is now. The recovering economy and tax revenues make this an opportune time to set the University on a financial course that will allow it to serve future generations of Californians, as well as it has those of the past.
Inland Action supports AB 831 (Bonilla) because it increases Cal Grant funding for low income students attending private non-profit colleges and universities. Private non-profit colleges and universities fill an important need for the State’s higher education students. Cal Grant funding for these students has declined and this bill acknowledges the State’s commitment to academically-qualified, low income students by increasing the maximum award to students attending private non-profit institutions accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Inland Action supports differential fee funding in community colleges, especially for costly career technical programs. The present funding model is not sufficient to support the mission of California community colleges, especially their costly career technical programs. Programs should be funded to cover the actual costs or allow the charging of differential fees for high-cost career technical education programs. Also, fully fund community colleges’ full-time student equivalents to permit needed academic sections to be provided to equal the number of students enrolled.
California’s Master Plan for Higher Education defined a strategy to meet the State’s needs in 1960, but today California faces new challenges. By 2025, the State will have one million fewer college-educated workers than the economy will require. The Higher Education Master Plan assumed correctly that some students who applied to the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) would not be adequately prepared for college level work, so the responsibility for career technical education, remedial education, and other functions was given to the community colleges. While the master plan recognized that community colleges might have to offer some remedial courses, it did not anticipate that 50 years later remedial education would comprise a large part of community college curriculum.
Community colleges are critical to meeting California’s workforce needs, but career technical programs are costly to run and are impacted with more students seeking to enroll than there are class openings. Enrollment caps and tuition increases at the CSU and UC systems have prompted an increasing number of students seeking to enroll at community colleges-a number that is much larger than the funding the State provides to support academic sections. Thus, community college districts, seeking to provide access and comply with the State-mandated open enrollment policy, carry a large (though recently reduced) number of unfunded full-time equivalent students (FTES).
Community college funding in California is low when compared to other states. For example, community college tuition in Florida is $2,228, and in New York is $4,057, compared to $1,104 ($46/unit) a year in California. During the last decade, California ranked 45th out of 50 states in spending per community college student – 23% less per community college student than the country as a whole. Any realistic scenario for dealing with community college finances long term requires increasing student enrollment and program fees. Although it seems counterintuitive, raising fees may actually have a positive impact on many students. Given the low California community college tuition, many students currently are ineligible for certain federal government grants and tax credits. Access to these benefits could significantly offset any burden from higher tuition.
Community colleges are also dealing with the reality that some programs-nursing, culinary arts, allied health, technology, etc.-cost more, up to 15 times more to deliver than do general transfer or liberal arts and science courses. These programs often address critical areas of need in communities and in business sectors, and their graduates are in high demand. If community colleges were allowed to align the fees/funding with the actual costs, they could reallocate scarce resources to general education, transfer, and lower-cost career technical programs.
Inland Action supports a statewide facilities bond for community colleges. Community colleges are in desperate need of funding to expand and retrofit their educational facilities, yet funds from the last statewide education facilities bond, passed in 2006, are all but depleted. Inland Action supports placement of a facilities bond on a 2016 ballot for a reasonable, yet adequately-sized, facilities bond that includes community colleges to allow for construction of needed college facilities to support access to workforce training programs and cost effective transfer pathways to the California State University and the University of California.
The California Community Colleges comprise the largest postsecondary system in the world, with students attending 72 different community college districts with 112 colleges located throughout the State. These colleges are increasing access to students as the State budget has stabilized. These students need access to modern, safe and functioning facilities that can provide the best opportunity for those students to acquire the skills they need to successfully enter the workforce or to transfer to other institutions of higher education. Providing those facilities is dependent upon the State’s ability and willingness to partner with local districts to fund them.
The California Community College System Office’s 2014-15 five-year capital outlay plan estimates a total system wide facilities need of approximately $35B over the next ten years. That need includes an estimated local contribution of $19.1B, which means that the remaining need for facilities would be funded through a State obligation bond of $15.9B. This equates to approximately $3.2B in general obligation bond funding from the State every two years.
The Inland Empire has five community college districts that would be most impacted: Riverside, Mt. San Jacinto, San Bernardino, Desert, and Victor Valley Community College Districts. Collectively, these districts serve approximately 125,000 students through their five main campuses and numerous centers. The problem of adequate facilities is particularly acute in this region where the college-going rate is low and population growth is high. With the State providing funding to increase enrollments, it is imperative that there are adequate facilities to meet student demand.
Inland Action is concerned that the “one-size-fits-all solution does not adequately recognize work being done by water agencies and municipalities. Inland Action is deeply concerned about California’s on-going, severe drought. We are closely following the Governor’s directives and the standards for reductions. Members of our Environment Committee are concerned that “one-size-fits-all” solutions do not adequately recognize work being done by municipalities and water agencies to conserve and innovate.
Inland Action strongly supports the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and applauds the Governor’s efforts to move forward with the project. California’s worsening drought makes it critical to move ahead with a plan for the Bay Delta. The State is proposing to build a new diversion point on the Sacramento River in the north delta. It would feed two proposed 30-mile tunnels that would carry water to existing delta pumps and southbound aqueducts. The State will seek short-term permits that could grow stricter as delta conditions evolve with climate change. This is combined with an effort to improve 30,000 acres of habitat over the next four or five years at a cost of $300 million, funded with State bond money and other sources.
Inland Action supports AB 1074 (Garcia) as the California Energy Commission’s plan would guide necessary infrastructure development to reach our air quality and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals quickly and cost-effectively. These bills address the need for alternative energy refueling infrastructure and incentivize transitioning trucks from diesel fuel to natural gas. This moves us closer to zero or near-zero emission heavy duty trucks while making sure that there is appropriate refueling sites for implementation.
State law, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), requires reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% by 2050. In addition, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley face a more immediate challenge in the form of the Federal Clean Air Act, which requires at least a 65% reduction in NOx emissions by 2023, and an 80% reduction by 2032. The transportation sector accounts for 80% of the regions smog-forming emissions (NOx) and 40% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Alternative fuel vehicles will improve California’s air quality by reducing transportation related emissions. For example, transitioning to Heavy Duty CNG trucks from standard heavy duty diesel trucks would reduce NOx emissions by 90% and GHG emissions by 15‑20%.
AB 1074 will accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles by addressing the need for alternative fueling stations. Specifically, AB 1074 directs the California Energy Commission to develop a refueling infrastructure plan by January 2017 that identifies the number of stations, and the geographic areas where additional stations are needed. Building a roadmap for alternative refueling infrastructure is the first step to developing stations and reducing driver range anxiety, which is a major barrier in the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles. To increase the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the road, drivers need convenient access to refueling facilities.
There are many alternative fuel technologies available today, and Californians should have greater access to them so that individual transportation needs can be met. However, today access is limited because there are not enough alternative refueling options.
Inland Action supports AB 857 (Perea) to provide incentives to increase deployment of clean trucks in California and to improve air quality. Currently, Southern California has the worst air quality in the nation and heavy-duty trucks account for the largest source of the region’s air pollution. Poor air quality also puts us at risk of failing to meet stringent state/federal air quality standards. This could result in withholding of highway funds, onerous new permitting requirements for businesses and restrictions on days Californians can drive.
AB 857 revises the Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (Clean Truck Program) to require the greater of 50% or $100 million of the funds appropriated between January 2, 2018 and January 1, 2023 for development of a broad range of medium- and heavy-duty truck technology be allocated instead to support commercial deployment of existing heavy-duty truck technology that meets specified low oxides of nitrogen (low NOx) emission standards.
This bill will help grow the clean alternative fuel truck market now and will also stimulate additional investments in the next generation of lower emission truck technologies. While the transportation sector is California’s biggest emissions challenge, it also offers the greatest opportunity to improve air quality and quality of life. By sending market signals that all cost‑effective solutions will be considered, California can accelerate the development of even cleaner, affordable technologies that help drive down the cost of new heavy-duty engines.
AB 857 is critical to improving air quality and public health in California. It will provide incentives to increase deployment of clean trucks in California and help California achieve the ambitious emissions reduction goals mandated by AB 32, as well as federal ozone standards.
Inland Action supports AB 291 (Medina) as it would reduce confusion and administrative burdens under current California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) notification requirements for multi-county water projects and would require local agencies to submit a CEQA notice of determination to the Office of Planning and Research to be posted on the CEQAnet website. This bill establishes an alternative procedure for the filing of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) notices for multi-county water transfer projects. Specifically, within five working days of approval or determination, this bill allows the local agency meet the requirement by (1) Filing the notice with the clerk of the county in which the agency office is located; (2) Filing notice with the Office of Planning and Research (OPR); (3) Mailing notices to the clerks of all the affected counties, with specified posting requirements.
CEQA notices for water projects may have to be filed in five or more counties, or wherever the project may have some impact – essentially, those counties through which the project’s water flows. If the water project involves the State Water Project (SWP) or the Central Valley Project (CVP), notices may have to be filed in dozens of counties. In some instances, technical errors in a county clerk’s posting process have resulted in additional CEQA litigation, even when the errors were not caused by the local agency that adopted the initial CEQA notice.
The purpose of this bill is to avoid having the statute of limitations for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), or other notice of approval or determination under CEQA, contingent on the timely filing in each and every county.
Inland Action supports additional funding for the Santa Ana River Conservancy Program. Inland Action respectfully requests the Santa Ana River Conservancy program be specifically named as a recipient of funds in Parks Bond (De Leon SB317) and that some of the funds in Proposition 1 be specifically set aside for implementation of the Santa Ana River Conservancy program.
The Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway will be a 100 mile long continuous trail when completed. Under construction for several decades, the effort has recently gained momentum, celebrating multiple successes under the leadership of a three county partnership known as the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway Partnership. This coalition of elected leaders and executive officers represents three counties (San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange) and seventeen cities, the Wildlands Conservancy (a non-profit organization), and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority. In 2006, the group was successful in securing $45 million in Proposition 84 funding for completion of the main stem of the trail. These funds are currently committed and essentially spent.
The Santa Ana River runs through some of the most park-poor areas of California with some of the greatest economic and health challenges in the State. Very few federal or State dollars are directed toward the region. The Santa Ana River trail will provide free and open access to parks and provide much needed alternative commuting and recreational opportunities. The region needs this trail, and the local leadership needs funds to help its development.
In 2014, elected officials, business leaders, non-profit advocacy organizations and water, transportation, flood control, and parks agencies came together to successfully help pass legislation which created the Santa Ana River Conservancy Program. The Conservancy will help direct funds and resources to protect the watershed and develop its assets responsibly through acquisitions and projects. The challenge now is to find adequate funding to ensure the program is a success in its first year and beyond.
Parks Bond (De Leon SB317) Senator De Leon is authoring a bill to put a bond on the ballot in 2016 to fund parks throughout the State. Inland Action respectfully requests the Santa Ana River Conservancy program be specifically named as a recipient of funds in the bill.
Proposition 1 – AB 1471 Signed by Governor Brown in 2014 also known as the Water bond) directs funds to the Resources Agency under Chapter 6. Protecting Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters, and Watersheds. Some of these funds are competitive grant programs while others are discretionary. Every State conservancy is named in this section to receive funds EXCEPT for the Santa Ana River Conservancy program. A lump sum was given to the Coastal Conservancy for administering the Santa Ana River Conservancy, but is not specifically called out. Inland Action respectfully requests some of these funds be specifically set aside for implementation of the Santa Ana River Conservancy program.
Inland Action supports SB 229 (Roth) which would appropriate funds for 10 of 50 approved but unfunded Superior Court judgeships in high need counties (San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern) and would add one appellate court judge in the 4th Appellate District. This bill would appropriate funds to add one appellate court judge in the 4th Appellate District. Further, it would appropriate funds for 10 of 50 approved but unfunded Superior Court judgeships in counties (San Bernardino, Riverside, and Kern) with the greatest need as approved by the State Judicial Council.
Inland Action requests that the Governor specify in his budget that the 30% funding increase for trial courts be implemented as specified in the Workload Allocation Funding Methodology (WAFM) as planned and in the agreed upon time frame. There should be no delay of this increase and that should be clearly delineated in the Governor’s budget.
Inland Action opposes SB 682 (Leno) as it limits services that may be provided efficiently by contractors in outlying areas of large counties. This bill limits the ability of courts to contract for services, seriously impacting the ability to offer services to those using such things as lobby kiosks and mediation in outlying areas of large counties.
Inland Action supports AB 914 (Brown) granting San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) authority to implement an express lane program on Interstate 10 (I-10) and Interstate 15 (I-15) in the County of San Bernardino. SANBAG is seeking innovative ways to deliver transportation improvements within a limited budget to a population that is expected to grow from 2.1 million to 3.4 million by 2060. The I-10 and I-15 corridors are among the most congested in the State, seeing up to 483,000 vehicles per day combined. In 2045, these volumes are expected to reach 668,500 vehicles per day, a 38% increase. These routes are also utilized as important recreational and goods movement corridors, with up to 47,500 trucks per day.
Express Lanes offer commuters in our region another quality of life option that can save time through guaranteed travel times, including savings of up to 43 minutes on I-15 and 20 minutes on I-10. The project also potentially provides additional resources for multi-modal transportation solutions and other improvements in the corridor, allowing all San Bernardino County travelers and regional commuters to benefit.
Also of importance is that delivery of the two express lane facilities is estimated to create approximately 27,300 jobs.
Inland Action supports continued development of a comprehensive strategy to generate a sufficient and dependable revenue source to address the massive backlog of maintenance on State highways. Transportation professionals throughout the State and the Legislature are concerned about the growing backlog of maintenance on State highways. Numerous efforts are underway to analyze potential solutions and to develop proposals to address this growing crisis. Inland Action supports the development of a comprehensive strategy to generate a sufficient and dependable revenue source that encompasses the following principles:
END OF 2015 STATE POSITIONS
2015 Inland Action Sacramento Advocacy Delegation
Inland Action 2014-Sacramento
Priorities and Positions at-a-glance
Funding for Higher Education – (1) Urge the addition of $95 million to the Governor’s proposed budget to provide for attainment of higher education goals in California. 2014 Cal State $95m Budget Request.pdf
(2) Urge repeal of the 11% pending reduction to the Cal Grant program for private, non-profit institutions because it is critical instrument for increasing educational access for California residents.
Water – Inland Action supports (1) a State Water Bond (2) the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, and (3) a regional approach to water and the environment.
2014 Inland Action Sacramento Priorities and positions
Support SB 1190 which would fund the fifty judge positions authorized by the California legislature in 2007. San Bernardino Superior Court is one of the most underfunded and understaffed court systems in California, even though it handles some of the highest caseloads in the State. On December 13, 2012, the California Judicial Council voted to approve the 2012 Judicial Needs Assessment which determined that the County of San Bernardino needed 156 judges to meet the community’s needs. Unfortunately, to date, only 84 of those judgeships are funded.
Court budget reductions over the years have resulted in drastic operational and service cuts throughout the County. During this period, San Bernardino County courts in Chino, Twin Peaks, Big Bear and Needles have closed due to funding issues. SB 1190 would help alleviate the backlog of cases that is slowing the wheels of justice in San Bernardino County providing new judges to hear those matters.
Funding cuts and elimination of funds are depriving access to basic court services to a large percentage of residents living in the largest county in the contiguous United States, not to mention an undue and costly burden on litigants, jurors, and witnesses. Insufficient funding for the San Bernardino Superior Court has dramatically impacted the business community and citizenry who deserve access to justice at the same level as other communities throughout the State. For these reasons, Inland Action supports SB 1190 and adequate funding for San Bernardino Superior Court judgeships. L.A. Times-Courts Article 5/10/14.pdf 2014 Judicial Funding snapshot.pdf
Urge addition of $95 million to the Governor’s proposed budget to provide for attainment of higher education goals in California. California needs one million more college graduates by 2025 to meet the demand for a highly educated workforce. The California State University (CSU) must intensify its efforts to do its part in meeting this need. Last year, the CSU graduated 101,000 students into the workforce. The CSU awards half of the State’s baccalaureate degrees and 35% of the master’s degrees. CSU San Bernardino (CSUSB) produces more than 3,500 job-ready graduates each year.
The CSU is appreciative of the Governor’s commitment to add $142 million to the budget. The five percent increase proposed by the Governor is the second consecutive year the State is investing in its future through the CSU. These new funds will allow for the redesign and revitalize the core mission to have even greater focus on student completion. CSUSB has the third highest first- to second-year retention rate in the system. CSUSB is on track to increase graduation rates by 6% in June 2015 and another 4% to 5% in June 2016. CSUSB’s 6-year graduation rate is 44%, compared to a 33% graduation rate for institutions with similar characteristics. Nearly 70% of CSUSB’s freshman class is first-generation, and 63% of CSUSB’s students are low-income.
On-going budget cuts during the State’s fiscal crisis led to thousands of eligible students being turned away due to a lack in human capital and technology to give the courses, programs and support services needed for students to progress to a degree. CSUSB was forced to turn away 600 eligible students last fall and anticipates turning away many more qualified students in the coming academic year. With one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and lowest college degree attainment rates, the Inland Empire desperately needs more college graduates. Nearly 50% of CSU buildings are more than 40 years old and in need of renovation and repair. The deferred maintenance backlog is now close to $1.8 billion. CSUSB’s deferred maintenance backlog for the next five years is $20 million, most of that impacting safety and business continuity.
The CSU Board of Trustees adopted a budget request of $237 million with no tuition fee increases; a reasonable amount given the State’s economic recovery, passage of Proposition 30 for education, and the needs of both the system and the State. This budget request protects affordability, access and quality, while also allowing for the design and redesign of programs, services and the system to advance students from admission to completion. Specifically, the CSU budget request addresses:
If additional funds are approved by the Legislature, CSUSB could accept another 300 or more students in 2014-15. Additional funds also would enable CSUSB to hire 10 to 20 new tenure-track faculty, as well as five staff dedicated to advising students.
CSU’s request for $237 million in State support is consistent with the proposed funding increases provided to our community college partners (10%) and K-12 schools (10%). The diverse students in K‑12 schools are more likely to attend a CSU campus than other institutions, as reflected in CSU student body– more than half are from underserved communities. Each year, two of every three community college transfer students enroll at the CSU to complete their degree. The CSU needs to have courses and services available to allow transfer students to graduate, especially given that the California Community Colleges now will be able to serve thousands more students. With an estimated shortfall of one million baccalaureate degreed workers by 2025, the CSU is critical to meeting California’s workforce needs. 2014 Cal State $95m Budget Request.pdf
Urge repeal of the 11% pending reduction to the Cal Grant program for private, non-profit institutions because it is critical instrument for increasing educational access for California residents. Legislators and the Governor should reverse the precipitous decline of the Cal Grant award and preserve the maximum grant at the current level of $9,084. Incoming freshman are slated to have their award cut by 11.3%, a loss of over $1,000. California has reinvested in the public institutions of higher education and should continue to support all California students, regardless of where they attend higher education in the State.
Students attending private colleges have been a target for cuts in the last two years and have seen their award decline in present day value by 33% over the last 13 years. The Cal Grant program gives students from diverse background access to higher education and will support and expedite the State’s continued economic recovery.
Private non-profit colleges in the Inland Empire, like the University of Redlands, Loma Linda University, La Sierra University and Cal Baptist are part of the solution to the State’s urgent need to increase the number of college graduates. These graduates will sustain the needs of California’s growing population, its aging workforce, and changing economy.
The State’s entire private, non-profit higher education sector provides a public good and is a principal engine for growth and innovation in California:
In 2014, approximately 32,000 undergraduate students in private institutions received awards of up to $9,084. In addition to State and federal aid, this sector provided Cal Grant awardees a median institutional grant of $13,604, which in many cases eliminates the final obstacle that prevents these well-qualified students from attending the college or university of their choice. The Cal Grant program is a critical instrument for increasing educational access for California residents and has been the foundation of the sector’s partnership with the State since the 1950’s.
Support AB 1318 (Bonilla) which would establish set amounts for Cal Grant awards for students attending California private, non-profit colleges and universities. Since 2001, the maximum Cal Grant for students at University of California has increased 208% (to $12,192) and 173% (to $5,472) for California State University students. The maximum award for students attending California private, non‑profit institutions has not increased in over 10 years and decreased a few times – making it worth 30% less than it was in 2000 in real dollars, adjusted for inflation.
AB1318 institutes a formula that would dictate the maximum Cal Grant Award for students in the private, non-profit higher education sector. Since 2000, the award level is contingent upon the Budget Act, making it difficult for students, families and institutions to plan on how to finance their college education.
AB 1318 sets the formula at a percentage (80%) of what the State subsidy is for a Cal Grant student, on average, at UC and CSU. By capping the formula at 80% and continuing to limit the award to 4 years, the State will always realize cost savings by having these students educated in the private, non-profit sector. In addition, it commits the non-profit sector to a level of institutional aid for California residents, ensuring the program remains a strong public-private partnership.
The on-going and proposed cuts to the budget for the Cal Grant program severely limit higher education opportunities for California’s neediest students. The program currently makes private, non‑profit institutions an even more affordable option than UC and CSU schools for these students who are able to leverage additional institutional aid. Cutting Cal Grant funding removes that option from the table for needy students, while further shifting the financial burden onto the State and increasing capacity pressures at the four year public universities.
Support indexing the After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program funding formula to California’s minimum wage to resolve the unintended impact of minimum wage increases on ASES Programs. California’s minimum wage will increase from $8 to $9 beginning on July 1, 2014, and then to $10 beginning on January 1, 2016. These increases will not only create pressure to raise the hourly wages of part-time employees, they will also impact the salaries of full-time “exempt” employees – professional staff who are exempted from overtime compensation.
The California Labor Code Section 515 states: “The Industrial Welfare Commission may establish exemptions from the requirement that an overtime rate of compensation be paid pursuant to Sections 510 and 511 for executive, administrative, and professional employees, if the employee is primarily engaged in the duties that meet the test of the exemption, customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing those duties, and earns a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.”
Many community-based organizations operating after-school programs under contract with local education agencies employ full-time, exempt Site Coordinators. This best practice ensures effective articulation between the instructional day and expanded learning time, helps to professionalize the field, and serves as a valuable retention strategy. The current minimum salary for full-time, exempt employees in California is $33,280 ($16 per hour X 40 hours per week X 52 weeks per year). Beginning in July, this rate will increase to $37,440. On January 1, 2016, it will raise again to $41,600, a total gain of 25% over an eighteen month period.
The After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program, sets limits on the grant amounts each site can receive, based on a daily funding formula of $7.50 per student. Sites are also required to staff programs at a ratio of not more than 20 students to one employee, and best practice dictates that Site Coordinators serve outside of that supervision ratio. ASES programs typically allocate more than 80% of grant funding to personnel costs, leaving very little room for other operating expenses. The increased minimum wage, therefore, creates an unfunded mandate for after-school programs that, if not addressed, will necessarily result in staffing reductions and/or reductions in services to students.
Increasing the minimum wage just one dollar could result in up to $10,000 in increased personnel costs for a typical ASES elementary school program serving 85 students with a maximum grant of $112,500. The Site Coordinator would cost (with 25% benefits) an extra $5,200 per year, and four part-time program leaders making an additional dollar per hour would cost another $4,800 (with 15% payroll taxes and insurance). Therefore, in order to maintain an equivalent level of service, programs would need to be funded at $8 per student day (or $122,500/85 students/180 school days) to offset the difference.
SB 935 (Leno) proposes to raise the minimum wage incrementally to $12 by 2017 and tie it to inflation thereafter. Without mitigating action taken by the Legislature, it is clear that ASES programs will soon become financially untenable. One simple and reasonable solution to this problem would be to index the ASES funding formula to the state’s minimum wage. For every dollar the minimum wage increases, the ASES funding formula (currently $7.50 per pupil day) would increase by fifty cents. School site grant limits and the total ASES appropriation would increase proportionally, resulting in approximately $36.6 million in additional funding for every dollar the minimum wage raises above its current level.
Support relocation of the El Monte California Air Resources Board facility to UC Riverside. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is planning to relocate their El Monte facility. The current southern California facility in El Monte does not meet the growing needs of CARB both in efficiencies and for future research growth. While CARB is partnered with many research institutions, they are looking for their next facility to have proximity to a research institution for professional development opportunities for current staff, research collaborations, and the creation of an employment pipeline for the next generation of researchers and scientists.
In the fall of 2012, UCR received notification that CARB was looking to relocate from El Monte to a facility near a research institution. In addition to proximity to a research institution, CARB expressed a need for approximately seven acres of land and could be no further than 50 miles from the existing facility to avoid relocation expenses for the approximately 300 State employees. CARB staff was using a concept report completed in 2006.
In January of 2013, UCR with the support of the City and County of Riverside and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, hosted CARB management to highlight the benefits a move to Riverside would provide. The visit also included a tour of multiple sites that met CARB’s needs, a tour of the campus and CE-CERT (College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology), and presentations of research collaborations from engineering to biology, medicine, and public policy.
After numerous conversations and another visit in July of 2013, it was determined by CARB staff that this project could not deviate from State approved procedures and would need to go through the Department of General Services and other administrative requirements for approval, including the appropriation of funds to support the relocation. CARB is currently working with appropriate State agencies for the review and possible update of the concept report from 2006. It is anticipated that a request for proposal will be released to begin site evaluations once the concept report is finalized. Other sites that could be considered beyond Riverside could include property near UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal State Fullerton.
Oppose SB 1200 (Padilla), which would allow high school computer science courses to satisfy the mathematics prerequisite for University admission, because it would not adequately prepare students for University level studies. This bill would require development of guidelines for high school computer science courses that would satisfy the mathematics prerequisite for University admission. This measure could lead students to assume that any computer science course could meet the mathematics requirements and steer them away from taking fundamental Common Core math courses which provide the requisite academic preparation to succeed at the University level.
Currently, the University of California requires students to complete three years of college preparatory mathematics coursework to be eligible for admission, generally understood to consist of elementary algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra. Students are further encouraged to take a fourth year of mathematics to make themselves more competitive. This course sequence will ensure that students have the quantitative skills needed to succeed at the University level, regardless of their intended major. Under current rules, computer science courses that deepen students’ understanding of mathematics can and do count as advanced compute science courses. However, most high school computer science courses are counted as general college preparatory electives, because they do not have sufficient math content.
While it is conceivable that an advanced-level computer science course could be designed to incorporate sufficient mathematics, such courses are not commonly offered. Moreover, while some highly prepared students may benefit from taking advanced-level computer science courses in high school, this is not the norm. Most students will be better served by taking Common Core State Standards math courses to fulfill prerequisites. We believe it is critical to support full implementation of Common Core State Standards for mathematics in high schools as a basic part of a college preparatory education. This means three years of the Common Core State Standards math for a student before going on to other topics, be it computer science, discrete math, statistics or pre-calculus.
Support AB 2280 (Alejo) creating Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities because it provides a new redevelopment tool that can assist with addressing the challenges faced by California’s most disadvantaged and poorest areas. This bill authorizes the creation of new entities at the local level called a Community Revitalization Investment Authority (CRIA) that would provide a redevelopment option in California.
Community Redevelopment Law authorizes the establishment of redevelopment agencies in communities to address the effects of blight, as defined by means of redevelopment projects financed by the issuance of bonds serviced by tax increment revenues derived from the project area. Existing law dissolved redevelopment agencies and community development agencies, as of February 1, 2012, and provides for the designation of successor agencies to wind down the affairs of the dissolved agencies and to fulfill the enforceable obligations of those agencies. Existing law also provides for various economic development programs that foster community sustainability and community and economic development initiatives throughout the State.
This bill would authorize certain local agencies to form a CRIA 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. The bill would provide for the financing of these activities by, among other things, the issuance of bonds serviced by tax increment revenues and would require the Authority to adopt a Community Revitalization Plan for the Community Revitalization and Investment Area that includes elements describing and governing revitalization activities. The bill would also provide for periodic audits of the Authority with respect to affordable housing, conducted as provided by the Controller, and for annual public reports by the Authority, as well as periodic proceedings for the consideration of public protests.
Communities across California are searching for new tools to replace the loss of redevelopment agencies, which were intended to revitalize urban cores and building affordable housing, especially in those areas most economically and physically disadvantaged. A CRIA would be employed to invest the property tax increment of consenting local agencies (other than schools) and other available funding to improve conditions leading to increased employment opportunities, including reducing high crime rates, repairing deteriorated and inadequate infrastructure, and developing affordable housing. Its powers and responsibilities would mirror those of former redevelopment agencies, but have been tightened in several ways including (1) ensuring no impact on school funding, (2) increasing the traditional affordable housing set-aside to 25 percent, and (3) including rigorous accountability criteria.
Since the dissolution of redevelopment, numerous economic development proposals have been introduced focused on different approaches and policy priorities. While many of the proposals under consideration have merit, AB 2280 fills a void among them by offering a tool that can be used in the State’s rural, disadvantaged poorer areas and neighborhoods, which was the original focus of redevelopment. Thus, this tool can be offered to communities, not to the exclusion of other ideas, but to expand the choices available to fit unique local circumstances.
Inland Action Supports AB 2280 (Alejo) because it creates a tool that can assist with addressing the challenges faced by California’s most disadvantaged and poorest areas.
Support SB 1129 (Stienberg) because it addresses several important issues affecting redevelopment dissolution, use of bond proceeds, and job creation. Specifically, SB 1129 provides a solution to the issue of unspent bond proceeds that are currently sitting when they could be put to work to implement important projects and create high-wage construction jobs. The funds would be carefully spent as long as they are used for their initial purpose, are approved by the successor agency’s oversight committee, and as long as its determined by the oversight board that the use is consistent with the sustainable communities strategy.
SB 1129 addresses key concerns about the long range property management plan by making changes to streamline the process and more quickly get projects into motion. The bill also provides new benefits and flexibility for agencies with a finding of completion so that they can move forward with projects without delay.
Addressing these issues related to dissolution of existing redevelopment powers has the potential to support the efforts of the City of San Bernardino to emerge from bankruptcy by creating expanded economic development opportunities. It will also assist the Inland Valley Development Agency’s efforts to complete the effective economic reuse of the former Norton Air Force Base.
Inland Action supports SB 1129 because it will free-up available funding (1) to produce quality projects with high-paying construction jobs, (2) to expedite the approval and implementation of long range property management plans enabling affected communities to complete local projects, and (3) to provide additional certainty for agencies receiving a finding of completion.
Opposed to AB 2415 (Ting) which would require anyone who represents a taxpayer and communicates directly with any county official relating to the assessment of any taxable property to register with the Secretary of State. This bill would add a layer of redundant and unnecessary regulation for a number of professions which act on behalf of property owners when simply inquiring about the accuracy of a property assessment. It would also create a new title act of professionals without specifying any minimum qualifications or standards while providing no guarantee of any added public protection or transparency.
AB 2415 contains the same overreaching regulatory legislation that was introduced last year in AB 1151 (Ting) and again in AB 355 (Ting). Inland Action urges removal of this proposed legislation for further consideration.
Inland Action supports A State Water Bond. Every corner of California is heavily affected by the current drought. Despite the increased awareness and desire to address the problem effectively, the State still has been unable to produce an effective long range plan to accommodate the certain growth in population. With urban, agricultural and environmental needs all competing, the legislature must provide the vision and leadership to provide adequate water supplies throughout the State.
Various water bills are competing for the attention of the legislature, and as they have been developing, Inland Action is supportive of the spirit and original goals of AB 1331 (Rendon) and AB 2686 (Perea). Since these bills will face inevitable modifications, Inland Action is advocating funding for above- and below-ground storage, as well as habitat restoration in the Delta. As such, Inland Action does not so much advocate for one bill over the other (or any other similar legislation), it is advocating for the legislature to present a meaningful bond measure to the voters.
Inland Action is concerned that if we fail to take any action and continue the process of using the courts to settle issues between the differing factions, the effective result will be devastating to the economy of the State. California has the resources to provide safe and reliable water to urban, agricultural and environmental interests. What is lacking is the vision.
Inland Action supports the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. In addition to a comprehensive water bond, it is imperative that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan be included as part of a comprehensive solution. Acknowledging the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not a singular solution, the collaborative efforts between environmental and water conveyance advocates has set a new standard. Inland Action applauds the work done to date and hopes the urgency of the current drought brings the plan to action while it can still be effective. Had the Bay Delta Conservation Plan been in place before the current drought, the environmental and economic impacts would have been greatly mitigated.
Inland Action supports a regional approach to water and the environment. Locally, Inland Actions seeks support for the efforts of the Santa Ana Sucker Task Force and the Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan. Recent court decisions regarding the protected habitat of the Santa Ana Sucker have negatively impacted regional water agencies’ ability to develop, reuse and recycle facilities, increasing the region’s dependence on the State Water Project. As with the Delta, the answer to regional water supply consistency and adequate consideration for impacted species is best achieved by bringing all stakeholders together to achieve a consensus. The cycle of litigation is a drain on the resources of all the parties interested in a solution and keeps us from working together toward a meaningful solution.
Oppose AB 503 (Wieckowski and Bonta) because it imposes vague and subjective standards on non-profit hospitals and new, unnecessary requirements on non-profit multispecialty clinics. This bill redefines the meaning of charity care, limiting consumer access to free or reduced-cost care. The bill would rewrite community benefit law and require non-profit hospitals and multispecialty clinics to address every identified health need of the population they serve; demonstrate measurable results; establish arbitrary mandated levels of how community benefit funding should be spent; and require the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to develop a standardized format for community benefit plans.
Inland Action is opposed to AB 503 because the bill imposes a vague and subjective standard on nonprofit hospitals, while prescribing new, unnecessary requirements on non-profit multispecialty clinics. AB 503 would negatively impact implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and compromise the health care safety net, damaging the effective partnerships between community-based organizations and nonprofit hospitals. Limiting the definition of charity care would ultimately hurt consumers who need access to free or discounted services.
Support AB 1805 (Skinner and Pan) because it halts retroactive cuts to distinct-part skilled-nursing facilities. Pending retroactive implementation of rate cuts for distinct-part skilled-nursing facilities (DP/SNFs) will have harmful consequences for patients, communities, and access to essential medical care.
Inland Action supports AB 1805 (Skinner and Pan), which would rescind the AB 97 Medi‑Cal provider rate reductions of 2011. This would include eliminating the retroactive application of reduced reimbursement rates for DP/SNFs services from June 1, 2011, to September 30, 2013, thereby halting the retroactive recoupment of the associated reimbursement.
Inland Action support greater investments from the Cap and Trade Program in local transit projects which can help meet Sustainable Communities Strategies greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements. Further, we believe that project selection and program allocations for transportation projects are best done at the local level. The draft update of the AB 32 (Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006) Scoping Plan states that the Cap and Trade program will achieve approximately 30% of the required greenhouse gas emission reductions under AB 32. The Governor proposes to allocate $850 million of the revenues toward a variety of projects in FY 2014-15. This includes the repayment of $100 million of the $500 million loan from last fiscal year, with the remaining loan proposed to be paid in the next few years. The proposal also includes consideration of the SB 535 (Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012) requirements to prioritize disadvantaged communities in the distribution of Cap and Trade funds.
The $850 million is proposed to be distributed as follows:
In April, Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg released his proposal for the allocation of Cap and Trade revenues. His proposal is stated to address the requirements of AB 32, SB 375, and SB 535, which requires that disadvantaged communities receive at least 25% of these funds. Off the top, the following programs would be funded:
Then, the remaining funds would be distributed as follows, on a permanent basis:
Inland Action 2013 State Legislative Top Priorities and Issues
No. 1 – Modernization of the California Environmental Quality Act. Legislation should be initiated to: 1) modernize CEQA to integrate updated environmental and planning laws; 2) eliminate CEQA duplication; 3) focus CEQA litigation on compliance with environmental and planning laws; and/or 4) re-evaluate the statutory and categorical CEQA exemptions to allow the streamlining of projects.
Adopted in 1970, the basic purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) were to: inform governmental decision makers and the public about the potential significant environmental effects of proposed activities; identify ways that environmental damage can be avoided or significantly reduced; require changes in projects through the use of alternatives or mitigation measures when feasible; and disclose to the public the reasons why a project was approved if significant environmental effects are involved.
While intended to educate decision makers and protect the environment, unintended consequences of CEQA have had adverse impacts on economic development. CEQA modernization is necessary to eliminate its use as a tool to oppose all types of development. As the State seeks methods of creating economic stimulus through a streamlined regulatory process, focus should be on the environmental review process and revisions that will allow for additional expediency in project delivery, while maintaining existing environmental protections.
No. 2 – Funding of Approved Judgeships. Inland Action urges new legislation that would fund the 50 judgeships approved statewide in 2007 and never funded. San Bernardino Superior Court has the largest shortfall of judicial positions in the State, and Riverside Superior Court has the second largest shortfall.
According to statewide judicial needs standards, the San Bernardino Superior Court should have 156 judges to address its court filings workload. The Court has only 85 judicial officer positions, however, not including 7 positions that were authorized in 2007 as part of 50 positions authorized statewide and never funded. The San Bernardino Superior Court has the largest shortfall of judicial positions in the State, with Riverside Superior Court having the second largest shortfall.
No. 3 – Reverse planned sweep of Court Reserves, Accelerate Workload Based Funding Model, and Reduce Level of Court Funding Cuts. Inland Action supports (1) eliminating the legislative requirement for $4m-$5m in the San Bernardino Superior Court’s reserved funds to be swept into the State General Fund on July 1, 2014; (2) approval of legislation to authorize and accelerate the new workload based model; (3) restore a portion of the authorized $1b funding cut in courts statewide. Inland Action urges implementation of the new workload funding methodology and that the authority for allocation of funding remains with the Judicial Council.
As of June 2014, San Bernardino Superior Court projects it will have $4m-$5m in reserves. Consistent with a law passed last year, all of those reserves except $700,000 will be swept into the State General Fund on July 1, 2014. San Bernardino Superior Court projects a shortfall in excess of $11m as of July 1, 2014.
The Judicial Council has approved a new workload funding methodology that will be implemented over five years. If that model is approved by the Legislature, the projected shortfall for San Bernardino Superior Court will drop to $7m. Even at that level, the Court will be facing additional severe cost reductions including complete closure of the Barstow Courthouse, the closure of additional courthouses, and elimination of all court reporters in civil, family law, and probate cases. This will, effectively, deprive access to basic court services to a large percentage of residents living in the largest county in the contiguous United States, not to mention an undue and costly burden on litigants, jurors, and witnesses. 05062013.SanBernardino COURT PACKET.pdf
ALL ISSUES AND POSITIONS
Support SB 21 (Roth/Correa/Hueso) and AB 27 (Medina). This bill makes an immediate urgency appropriation to the University of California for UCR Medical School. This bill would annually appropriate $15m from the State General Fund to the Regents of the University of California for allocation to the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside. This bill would provide that these funds shall be available for planning and startup costs associated with academic programs to be offered by the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside.
The number of graduates from California’s medical schools has remained relatively flat over the last fifteen years in spite of a 20 percent population growth. Inland Southern California’s population continues to grow fast and will add an estimated 2.4m more people by 2030.
In the absence of ongoing State funding support, the UCR medical school raised sufficient non-State funding to secure preliminary accreditation and open in August 2013. However, State funding is still critical for the medical school to achieve its mission. Without an investment from the State, UCR will not be able to expand the research arm of the school, which will have the greatest positive impact for the region’s economy. And, the school will not be able to undertake community-based research and health interventions that improve population health in Inland Southern California, which lags near the bottom among California counties in many health statistics.
According to the California HealthCare Foundation, Riverside County is currently the only California county of more than one million people to have fewer than 100 MDs per 100,000 people. And in primary care specialties, the shortage is particularly acute, with Riverside and San Bernardino counties having only 36 and 44 primary care MD physicians per 100,000 people, far below the recommended ratio of 60 to 80. Consequently, residents of the region have relatively poor health outcomes in such measures as deaths due to coronary heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lower respiratory disease.
It should be noted that every primary care physician in California has an annual economic impact of nearly $1m. And, it is estimated that the new medical school itself could generate more than $10m in annual spending by 2021, with more than 2,200 jobs. Producing more physicians through UCR’s new School of Medicine will have long-term healthcare and economic benefits and stimulate new business formation in high-tech industries.
Inland Action supports delay of Common Core implementation to allow for development of an implementation strategy that benefits student populations and educational system statewide. The Common Core Standards, currently adopted by forty-six states, began as a “grass roots” initiative to respond to statistics that have shown American youth are unprepared for college (34% take remedial classes when entering college), unprepared for the workforce (lack the 4 C’s: communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration), and generally are underperforming when compared to youth in other countries in math and science. The Common Core is surely focused on the mastery of foundational content, but is equally interested in the Habits of the Mind that will allow youth to be successful in jobs not yet known.
The Common Core Standards require the existing paradigm and mindset which prevails in K-12 education and is measured by standardized, multiple choice tests, be replaced with an understanding that “learning is the work,” and that central to education is the individual student and his/her achievement, interests, talents, and learning gaps. Central is the use of technology to support the notion of a “school of one” and the authentic learning required for content mastery and the ability to apply that knowledge in one’s personal and professional life. Common Core is more interested in learning in depth than the current K-12 model of “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
There are two major issues with the implementation: 1) Adequate funding for training and for the purchase of the required technology. 2) As long as teachers are evaluated based on NCLB test scores, they will resist Common Core implementation because it contains different standards. Learning outcomes based upon core educational values and teacher evaluation performance must be aligned prior to implementation.
Support AB 806 (Wilk) – Modernize the 50% Rule. This bill will enable school counselors, librarians, and certain other educators to be considered part of “faculty” for the purpose of computing the portion of school funding which is to be allocated to instruction.
Since 1961, 50% of the funding for schools must be allocated for faculty salaries and benefits. This was enacted to promote a reduction in class sizes. The problem is that none of today’s teachers who instruct in technology, counselors or librarians are regarded as “instruction” for purposes of applying the 50% rule. This legislation would allow community colleges to focus less attention on meeting a 50-year-old accounting threshold and focus more attention on student success.
Support AB 1318 (Bonilla). This bill reinstates State policy that linked the maximum CA Grant for financially needy students attending accredited private nonprofit colleges and universities to the average General Fund cost of educating a financially needy student at the University of California and California State University system.
AB 1025 (Garcia). This bill would require colleges to provide information about credit by examination to students. By providing such information, students may be able to complete their educational goals more efficiently, move into the workforce faster, as well as free up class space for other students. This bill enables students to get through higher education in more efficient fashion.
Inland Action supports legislation and budget actions that preserve and/or enhance the Enterprise Zone Program. The Enterprise Zone program is the largest economic development program in the State and, according to experts, ten percent or 1.5 million of all jobs in California are located in an Enterprise Zone. In addition to being a valuable tool to recruit, retain and expand business efforts in our region, Enterprise Zones encourage economic growth and job creation, which results in higher revenues for local agencies.
Support AB 1079 (Bradford). This bill will provide local municipalities that manage enterprise zones the ability to develop energy management plans with the local servicing gas and/or electric utility. It promotes programs to help businesses in enterprise zones manage their energy use and energy cost, providing a level of certainty to foster economic and job development. The legislation specifically recognizes that the supply and cost of energy can be an important aspect of business development and retention.
California created the Enterprise Zone program in 1984 with a stated purpose to “stimulate business and industrial growth in the depressed areas of the State by relaxing regulators controls that impede private investment.” This purpose must be aligned with the State’s environmental goals while still generating economic opportunities in these regions. To ensure such goals are met, AB 1079 will provide local municipalities that manage enterprise zones the ability to develop energy management plans with the local servicing gas and/or electric utility.
Energy management plans have the potential to establish energy cost certainty for developing communities. As a result, energy management plans will not only help save businesses money on energy costs and cultivate economic activity, they will also help reduce emissions and improve the quality of life in these economically depressed regions.
With the passage of AB 1079, local municipalities will be better equipped to improve the quality of life for their residents by enacting energy management plans that will reduce emissions, save money for businesses, and encourage economic development.
Support AB 327 (Perea). This bill will update the Residential Electric Rate Structure and enable the PUC to develop a fair rate structure to meet California’s energy needs. California’s electric system and energy policies have seen serious changes in the last 12 years. Billions of dollars have been spent to enhance electric system safety and reliability and to facilitate the State’s move to cleaner, renewable energy – improvements which benefit all customers. However, the State is still using a rate structure developed 12 years ago during the energy crisis, which fails to reflect these and other changes. Under this outdated rate structure, many families pay far more than their fair share of costs while others pays much less. Absent prompt reform, the current system is unsustainable for many families.
California’s system of residential electricity rates needs to be updated. Under the rate structure in effect prior to the energy crisis, all customers helped contribute to improvements in the State’s electricity system. But under the current outdated rate structure, roughly a quarter of California’s residential electricity customers have paid nearly the entire cost of additional investments made over the last 12 years to benefit all residential customers – benefits such as a more reliable system and a cleaner renewable power supply. This penalizes many families and retirees who are not affluent, but live in older, less energy-efficient homes or hotter, inland areas of the State. At the same time, many affluent households in newer, energy-efficient homes or who live in cooler regions are paying less than the costs of the electric service they receive.
AB 327 would allow for the development of a fair rate structure to meet California’s future energy needs. AB 327 would eliminate the outdated structure put in place during the energy crisis and enable the PUC to develop a fair rate structure to meet California’s energy needs. Rates would more accurately reflect the cost of electric service, ensuring everyone pays a fair share of the State’s investments in a safe, reliable electric system and clean energy. Consumers who use more electricity would still pay more, maintaining California’s policy goal of encouraging conservation. Qualified consumers who are low income or have medical needs would still be protected under the CARE program and Medical Baseline program.
Oppose AB 31 (Pan). This bill would transfer authority for establishing milk prices in California from the State Department of Food and Agriculture to the Legislature. As amended, it would recognize the existing Dairy Future Task Force’s mission to develop proposals for regulatory reform including modifications to a dry whey value factor in the computation of the value of class 4b market milk and a dry whey credit for smaller cheese processors. This legislation would artificially raise the price of milk in California, potentially flooding the market, creating a surplus of milk, and forcing prices to plummet, with dairy farmers ultimately earning less for their milk.
Currently the Department of Food and Agriculture works to balance the needs of dairy farmers, processors, and consumers, guided by California’s unique market environment. This bill would arbitrarily inflate the costs of milk and devastate California’s multi-billion dollar cheese industry, a vital and growing part of the agricultural economy in this State. AB 31 will force many California cheese makers out of business and prevent others from expanding, cutting off markets for dairy farmers and costing thousands of jobs and millions in lost revenue.
Inland Action supports efforts to enable more Foundation and Federal grant investment in the County. Nonprofits play a vital role in promoting a high quality of life for residents throughout San Bernardino County in a wide range of areas, including education, arts, recreation, health care, counseling, spiritual guidance, youth development, senior living and community service. Nonprofits touch our lives and positively impact our community in many ways.
Nonprofits are not only a significant part of the social structure in San Bernardino County; they are also a powerful economic engine. In 2013, the San Bernardino Capacity Building Consortium conducted a landmark study of the economic impact in the County due to funds nonprofits bring into the County from other parts of the State and nation. Some of the findings are listed below:
Many nonprofits in San Bernardino County operate world-class innovative, evidence-based programs that are supported by good governance, outstanding leadership, and sound financial management. These organizations are poised to dramatically step up the scope and scale of their work, if given the resources and support to do so. Due to a severe shortage of resources, however, nonprofits in San Bernardino struggle to maintain, let alone grow, their capacity to meet the burgeoning needs of the County’s residents. The lack of funding from within the county means that nonprofits are highly dependent on foundations outside the region, with 93% of foundation grants to San Bernardino County nonprofits coming from funders located outside of the Inland Empire. The statistics are alarming:
Inland Action urges the County legislative delegation to heighten awareness of this grant funding disparity amount Foundations and Federal partners and to encourage grant investment to meet the vast needs of underserved populations in the County.
Inland Actions supports the transfer of operations and management of Ontario International Airport (ONT) to local control. The Inland Empire has taken a tremendous economic hit over the past several years specifically related to the decline of air service and passenger traffic at Ontario International Airport (ONT) to 1980 levels. Under absentee ownership, the severe decline in activity has cost the Inland region $400m annually and 8,000 jobs. During this time, ONT has seen the departure of low-cost air carriers, including JetBlue, Aeromexico, and ExpressJet. The only remaining low cost air carrier, Southwest Airlines, has significantly reduced service out of ONT.
Transferring the airport to local control would give local governments the ability to restructure the airport’s operations, reduce costs, and increase marketing and promotion of the airport to ensure that Southern California has the airport capacity it needs in the long term to protect its economy. It would also eliminate a fundamental conflict of interest that exists by Los Angeles controlling both Los Angeles International Airport and ONT. The transfer of ONT to local control has been endorsed by the Southern California Association of Governments, as well as a list of local governments in the region that understand the importance of successful regional airports to their economies.
Return of ONT to local control will reduce traffic and pollution by removing 1.3m cars from Los Angeles roadways, enable local officials to initiate programs to attract additional air service, and support air travel regionalization by reinstating consumer options to utilized localized service.
Support AB 981 (Bloom). This bill allows successor agencies greater flexibility to use bond obligation proceeds. The bill allows, upon the issuance of a Department of Finance Finding of Completion, a successor agency to use redevelopment bond proceeds issued between January 1, 2011 and June 28, 2011. Passage is critical to allow expenditure of bond proceeds on a number of construction-ready projects. Existing law dissolved redevelopment agencies and community development agencies, as of February 1, 2012, and provides for the designation of successor agencies to wind down the affairs of the dissolved redevelopment agencies, to make payments due for enforceable obligations, and to perform obligations required pursuant to any enforceable obligation. This bill would instead authorize that entity to designate the use of and commit indebtedness obligation proceeds that were issued prior to June 28, 2011.
Existing law also authorizes the Department of Finance to issue a finding of completion to a successor agency that completes a due diligence review and meets other requirements. Upon receiving a finding of completion, a successor agency is authorized to expend excess bond proceeds derived from bonds issued on or before December 31, 2010, in a manner consistent with the original bond covenants. The bill would modify this authorization to include the expenditure of excess bond proceeds derived from bonds issued on or before June 28, 2011.
Passage of this legislation is critical to a number of public works projects listed below for which the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA) issued bonds, but did not fall within the arbitrary timeline established in AB 1484. IVDA has received its finding of completion and is eligible to expend funds once this legislation is in place.
A number of these projects have been under development for the past decade and are now in the construction phase. These public works projects are also critical improvements associated with major private sector investments and job creation projects underway within the boundaries of the Agency. Passage of this bill would adjust the legal dates for expenditure of bond proceeds and allow projects to move forward. The affected projects include:
Support SB 731 (Steinberg). This bill, known as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Modernization, is a comprehensive reform measure to strengthen CEQA’s protection of the State’s environment and residents while modernizing the law to aid California’s economic growth. This bill establishes:
OpposeAB 953 (Ammiano). This bill would require a lead agency preparing an environmental report under the California Environmental Quality Act to analyze significant environmental effects resulting from locating a proposed project near areas with substantial natural hazards or adverse environmental impacts. This practice is referred to as converse CEQA. The proposed legislation invites more litigation over CEQA projects by overturning a recent court decision and allowing project opponents to challenge environmental impact reports that are alleged to inadequately evaluate and mitigate impacts related to conditions and physical features in the environment, like sea-level rise and fault-lines. The bill would require project applicants to evaluate and mitigate for effects of the environment on their projects, not just the effects their projects might have on the environment.
Inland Action supports completion of the Delta Bay Conservation Plan. In light of current and on-going drought conditions, Inland Action supports comprehensive long term solutions to the Delta water conveyance and storage issues, such as The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, with particular emphasis on statewide cooperation and teamwork. In addition, Inland Action supports recommendations of the California Association of Water Agencies to the California Water Bond, including the following principles:
Support AB 803 (Hueso). Inland Action supports AB 803, the Water Recycling Act of 2013. This bill will modernize existing law to accommodate highly treated water and remove barriers to the increased use of recycled water, while ensuring protection of public health and safety. AB 803 implements changes to the Department of Public Health’s California Code of Regulations regarding recycled water, such as including updated definitions of water treatment processes.
SupportAB 1257 (Bocanegra). This bill requires the California Energy Commission, by January 1, 2015, and every four years thereafter, to prepare a report that identifies strategies to maximize natural gas as an energy source. The report would assess strategies to make the best use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, the optimal roles as part of a resource portfolio for natural gas-fired generation, strategies to optimize the advantage of natural gas as a flexible and convenient end use energy source and methods by which gas corporations can facilitate implementation of any of the strategies identified in the study.
The National Regulatory Research Institute October 2012 report cited: “As California transitions its energy infrastructure to one that is more environmentally friendly, natural gas holds promise as a fuel that can complement the state’s cap-and-trade program, energy-efficiency measures, and transition to renewables.” While natural gas is recognized in the importance it plays in meeting the State’s energy needs and helping achieve the State’s historic emission reduction goals, California lacks a long-term strategy to maximize its benefits as a part of its alternative energy portfolio.
Establishing a balanced, responsible, reliable natural gas energy policy will propel our state as a global leader in the clean energy economy by:
Through the implementation of AB 32, the State has adopted aggressive emission reduction goals and standards. To meet these standards, the California Energy Commission and the Air Resources Board have recognized natural gas as part of a broad portfolio of alternative fuels the State should be pursuing. They also found that natural gas represented the most cost-effective alternative transportation fuel option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a study period extending to 2050. In fact, the efficient use of natural gas in Southern California has taken the equivalent of 526,042 cars off the road in the past 22 years, dramatically reducing harmful GHG emissions.
This legislation will help to drive the development of other renewable fuels. According to the Americans for Energy Leadership January 2011 article, natural gas “is an essential partner to the development of renewables, providing cleaner, reliable backup power when the sun is not shining or the wind dies down.” Furthermore, natural gas, combined with new equipment technologies, or in combination with biogas, provides the opportunity for zero and near zero emission options for a broad range of energy needs. With more than 90 percent of homes in Southern California using natural gas for their major energy needs, it is a cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient resource that must be maximized, which is exactly what AB 1257 will achieve.
Support SB 11 (Pavley) and AB 8 (Perea/Skinner). These bills will reauthorize the State’s major air quality incentive funding programs, providing funding annually for air quality improvement projects, developing and deploying technology, and supporting alternative and renewable fuels. These bills continue a dedicated revenue stream for:
Oppose AB 975 (Wieckowski/Bonta). This bill imposes vague and unrealistic standards on nonprofit hospitals and is unnecessary. The latest iteration directly conflicts with provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Support AB 900 (Alejo) and SB 640 (Lara). These bills will eliminate pending cuts to a number of Medi-Cal providers, including physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and many more. Specifically, for hospitals, they would prevent rate reductions to our hospital distinct-part skilled-nursing facilities (DP/SNF) services. The bills would also halt recoupment of reimbursement retroactive to June 1, 2011, for these providers.
Pending implementation of rate cuts for DP/SNFs would have devastating consequences for patients, communities, and access to essential medical care. This year’s State budget assumes legal issues would be resolved and the Department of Health Care Services would implement these cuts retroactive to June 1, 2011.
The reduction of reimbursement to 90 percent of 2008-2009 rates, as enacted in 2011 by the budget trailer bill AB 97 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2011), would result in an average effective rate decrease of 25 percent for DP/SNFs. Many facilities would lose millions of dollars each year. Retroactive recoupment to June 1, 2011, will result in devastating financial hardship.
As compared to free-standing facilities, DP/SNFs care for patients of greater medical complexity and are often the only option for patients with specialized medical or behavioral needs or for individuals living in rural areas. In the last five years, approximately one-third of California’s DP/SNFs (approximately 40 facilities) have closed because of financial pressures. If the pending cuts are not rescinded, closures will continue and increase. If additional facilities close, many displaced patients/residents will have no place to go. Pending cuts to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for specific provider groups, including DP/SNFs, will compromise patient access to medically necessary care. This legislation is necessary to halt implementation and to rescind the devastating effect of these rate reductions.
Inland Action supports allocation of revenue from Cap and Trade to regional transportation agencies for implementation of transportation strategies proven to reduce air emissions. The following principles should be applied:
SAN BERNARDINO BANKRUPTCY
Inland Action supports exploration of urgency legislation to provide for the appointment of a receiver in the event of a municipal bankruptcy.