Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Primary & Alternate Members Only Meeting- Committee Work and Collaboration of Issues
In-Person & Zoom
Present: Megan Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Dr. Sam Gibbs, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, T. Milford Harrison, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Bill Lemann, Dr. Anne Miles, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Vikki Ostermann, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Eric Ustation, Michael Wells, and Ray Wolfe.
Committees met into their respective groups to work on Sacramento issues (7:30-8:10 a.m.). Members convened in the Inland Action meeting room at 8:15 a.m. to discuss their issues and identify areas of collaboration.
Kevin Dyerly, Chair presiding
Announcements: 1) Gratitude was expressed to the generous sponsors of the D.C. Legislative Reception. The funding not only covered the expenses but left a surplus which will almost cover the Sacramento legislative reception. We are approximately $1,000 short for the Sacramento event and would appreciate additional sponsors either by not requesting airfare reimbursement or by making a donation. All sponsors of the D.C. Reception and the Sacramento reception will be recognized. 2) Plans have been made for a group lunch on Tuesday in Sacramento and a briefing with Jim Lites who works with the advocacy firm California Strategies. The legislative reception will be held in a lovely building owned by the California Grocers Association. Reception participants are welcome to bring guests, but staff would appreciate knowing in advance. 3) Representatives were reminded that issue papers for state advocacy are due to staff by Friday, March 31, 2023.
Motion by T. Rice/Second/Passed: Minutes from March 21, 2023.
Membership Chair, Kristine Scott, announced the second reading of prospective new member San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. Their primary representative would be Ted Alejandre and Norm Nunez would serve as their Alternate representative. To learn more about them go to https://www.sbcss.k12.ca.us/index.php/en/ The membership will be asked to vote next week.
Jacquelyn Mercado from the Metropolitan Water District will change be changing positions. Their primary representative will be Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager and Luis Cetina, Principal Government and Regional Affairs, will serve as their alternate. Approved.
Committee chairs were asked to present their top issues for advocacy in Sacramento.
Economic Development-Concerns remain regarding AB 1000 (Reyes) which will negatively affect logistics, transportation. Terminology is vague and not well written. AB 627 by ASM Jackson would prohibit diesel fuel heavy trucks from streets in both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties and cities. Concerns include the lack of infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles and how to address vehicles coming in from other regions. Retail theft was addressed by the committee. Several Assembly members and Senators have tried to write language that would dial back the changes from Prop 47 by reducing the current “petty theft” category from $950 to the previous $450. Challenges include whether the legislature has the authority to overturn a proposition in that way. The focus has changed, and bills are being written to allow D.A.’s to charge people with multiple offenses adding some teeth with prison time.
Education-State budget requests are top priorities including Cal Grant reforms. They are also looking at capital requests and deferrals. Several projects previously approved could be deferred in order to balance the state budget. Examples include UCR’s undergraduate teaching and learning lab facility and Inland Empire trade tech. Mental and emotional healthcare for students is needed and we must ensure that funding is provided to have trained professionals to work with those individuals. Childcare, childcare training & childcare reimbursement is also a concern. SB 28 (Glazer) would authorize $15.5B in general obligation bonds for 2024. This would serve as a mechanism to fund K-12 through higher-ed institutions’ capital projects such as buildings and deferred maintenance.
Environment – AB 1000 (Reyes) has environmental effects and we will weigh in with a measured approach. As the Little Hoover Commission is currently taking on CEQA reform they will wait for their report. There will be a combination of water bills that they will address. There has been an attempt to list one of the Joshua trees as potentially endangered, which would have a huge effect in the high desert. It is out of the norm to identify a specific plant that is so numerous in a widespread territory to be designated as such. It will have monumental negative effects on development in that area. The main struggle is between the solar industry and environmentalists. The compromise that has been created does not include local government or building and industry associations. As written the compromise is in bill language and is expected to be supported legislatively. If it moves forward, it is critical that no one affected be excluded from the process. Increased water storage will be discussed.
Healthcare– Hospitals have experienced $12B in losses since the pandemic and after government relief. Considering there has been no increase in Medi-Cal payment to hospitals in over a decade, they are asking for a onetime investment of $1.5B in relief. The seismic requirements scheduled for 2030 are substantial and hospitals have not yet recovered from the last seismic requirements of 2020. SB 45 (Roth) CA Acute Care Psychiatric Hospital Loan Fund for counties and cities is of interest, but hospitals would like not take loans for this; payback would be an issue.
Judiciary– SB 45 (Roth) increasing judgeships allocated by formula based on need will be supported as will the Governor’s proposal to fund the previously created slots so they may be filled. There is a statewide shortage of certified court reporters. As a substitute, digital recorders could be used in certain cases but is regulated by state law and is limited in use. It is proposed that all civil cases be included in addition to family and probate law.
Transportation– There is a need for expenditure on capacity enhancement. There are a number of issues concerning VMT and other environmental concerns that would prevent use of state funding for capacity enhancement which is a major issue affecting economic development. The potential legislation that would prohibit heavy diesel vehicles from city and county streets would affect important deliveries. Economic Development Committee take the lead, but the Transportation Committee will support.
Committees were encouraged to further work together until next week when priorities will be decided.
Meeting adjourned at 8:36 a.m.