BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                        AB 92

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          (Without Reference to File)


          92 (Committee on Budget)

          As Amended  March 24, 2015

          Majority vote

          |ASSEMBLY:  |      |March 23, 2015 |SENATE: |      |March 25, 2015   |
          |           |      |               |        |24-14 |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
               (vote not relevant)

          Original Committee Reference:  BUDGET

          SUMMARY:  Contains necessary statutory and technical changes to  
          implement AB 91 (Budget Committee) of the current legislative  
          session, which amends the 2014-15 Budget Act related to urgent  
          drought relief.  This bill, along with AB 91, proposes  
          expenditures of $1.059 million for drought-related activities.

          The Senate amendments delete the Assembly version of this bill,  
          and instead:


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          1)Require the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to notify the  
            owner of a new diversion, which is deleterious to salmon and  
            steelhead, that it must be screened and to submit to the owner,  
            within 30 days or upon a mutually agreed upon timeframe,  
            proposals for protective measures.  

          2)Allow DFW to assess civil penalties, including administrative  
            penalties, for obstructing fish passage with separate provisions  
            for obstructions associated with marijuana cultivation.  Require  
            DFW adopt emergency regulations to implement the penalty  
            provisions and amend the Timber and Forest Restoration Fund to  
            allow for the receipt of penalty monies.

          3)Allow DFW to initiate a complaint before the State Water Board  
            for a violation or trespass in connection with an unauthorized  
            diversion or use of water that harms fish and wildlife  

          4)Establish the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions (Office)  
            within the State Water Resources Control Board to promote  
            permanent and sustainable drinking water and wastewater  
            treatment solutions to ensure effective and efficient provision  
            of safe, clean, affordable, and reliable drinking water and  
            wastewater treatment services.

          5)Expand the use of the Cleanup and Abatement Account for uses  
            beyond mitigation of waste and unreasonable use to include  
            urgent drinking water needs.  Also, expands the entities  
            eligible to receive funds to public agencies.  This change would  
            allow local water districts to be eligible to receive funds to  
            address emergency drinking water needs.  These provisions will  
            sunset on July 1, 2018.

          6)Transfer to CalConserve Revolving Fund $10 million of the  
            proceeds of Proposition 1 of 2014, to fund two water  


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            conservation and water use efficiency pilot programs that will  
            provide loans at below market rates or zero interest to urban  
            water suppliers in order to:  a) install water efficiency  
            upgrades to eligible residents at no upfront cost; and, b)  
            provide low-interest loans to customers to finance leak repairs.  
             Both could be repaid through customers' utility bills. 

          7)Expedite emergency drought response time by suspending  
            contracting provisions of the Government Code and Public  
            Contract Code for actions related to Governor's declaration of a  
            drought emergency that address human health and safety impacts,  
            fish and wildlife resources, and provision of water to persons  
            or communities.  Identify and list any contracts approved under  
            the suspended state contracting provisions on the California  
            Drought Web site.

          8)Amends the Government Code to ensure that funding provided to  
            local governments in response to an emergency is not subject to  
            the eligibility restrictions of Labor Code Section 1782.

          9)Directs agencies receiving moneys from the 2014-15 Budget Act  
            related to urgent drought relief to use the services of the  
            California Conservation Corps or a certified community  
            conservation corps, where feasible, for restoration, ecosystem  
            restoration projects or other similar work.

          COMMENTS:  This bill contains the statutory changes necessary to  
          implement AB 91, the urgent drought relief legislation.  It  
          contains five main components:

          1)Enhanced Department of Fish and Wildlife Authorities,  
            particularly with regard to illegal marijuana grows.  The fourth  
            year of drought is straining resources and affecting fish and  
            wildlife in catastrophic ways.  This strain is exacerbated by  
            illegal marijuana growing operations that are diverting water  
            directly out of streams or using trucks to siphon it from water  
            bodies and carry it to their operations.  Illegal actions are  


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            affecting fish and wildlife populations and making it harder for  
            legal actors to comply.  This bill provides DFW three new tools.  

            Existing law requires the owner of a new diversion in salmon or  
            steelhead waters to notify DFW so that DFW can determine whether  
            or not the diversion is affecting salmon or steelhead and  
            proscribe proper screening measures, if necessary.  This bill  
            instead allows DFW to provide notification to only those owners  
            whose diversions are affecting salmon or steelhead and requires  
            DFW to recommend screening measures within 30 days or upon a  
            mutually agreeable time frame. 

            This bill authorizes DFW to impose civil penalties, including  
            administratively, where diversions are obstructing fish passage  
            with separate provisions for illegal grows.  This bill requires  
            DFW to initiate an emergency rulemaking process to develop and  
            implement due process procedures to implement its administrative  
            penalty provisions.

            This bill enhances the effectiveness of wardens by allowing  
            those who observe unauthorized water diversions that harm fish  
            and wildlife to initiate a complaint to the State Water  
            Resources Control Board and remain a party to the proceeding.

          2)Creation of the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions.  This  
            bill creates a first-of-its-kind Office as a new unit within the  
            drinking water program at the State Water Resources Control  

            One of the most challenging problems with water supply  
            reliability and water quality throughout the state is the lack  
            of help offered to small communities (small cities, rural  
            counties, and unincorporated areas) that have small rate bases,  
            little or no local funds, huge water infrastructure needs and  
            few staff to help meet those needs.


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            The Office will help small communities apply for state and  
            federal funds to help clean up drinking water and provide  
            greater access to treatment technologies.  It will also help  
            communities that want to consolidate to better apportion costs  
            of water system upgrades to prevent or mitigate huge local rate  
            increases.  Finally, the Office will provide basic technical  
            assistance to small communities that, in many cases do not have  
            a city manager or staff to work on providing clean drinking  
            water to its residents.

          3)Creation of CalConserve Revolving Fund Water Efficiency Pilot  
            Projects.  Water conservation is one of the only tools  
            immediately available in a drought to help try to stretch  
            existing supplies.  Communities like the Town of Windsor have  
            experienced terrific water conservation success with "Efficiency  
            Pays" programs.  Under those programs the water supplier  
            installs water efficient upgrades such as washing machines or  
            dishwashers at no upfront cost to the eligible homeowner and the  
            homeowner repays them on their utility bill.  After the upgrades  
            the bill is often less even with the repayment obligation  

            In addition to stretching supplies is preserving existing  
            supplies.  DWR estimates leakage to be from 5% to 50% in many  
            water systems.  Traditional revolving funds, such as those at  
            the State Water Resources Control Board, address leaks in the  
            public water system but do not address leaks on private  
            property.  This pilot project would bridge that gap through a  
            low-interest loan program administered by local agencies to  
            their customers.  

          4)Suspension of State Contracting Provisions for Drought  
            Emergencies.  Some communities in California have literally run  
            out of water and, as the fourth year of drought continues, there  
            are likely to be more.  The environment has also been devastated  
            by the dry weather.  Traditional state contracting provisions  
            require agencies to engage in many procedures, including  
            advertising contracts and selecting from multiple bids.  This  


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            bill allows contracts for projects that are related to the  
            Governor's declaration of a state of emergency to be expedited  
            by waiving traditional contracting provisions.  However, it also  
            ensures accountability and public oversight by listing on the  
            California Drought Internet Web site sufficient information to  
            identify which agencies and which contracts utilized the  

          5)Emergency Funding and Financial Assistance Not Subject to  
            Certain Eligibility Restrictions. Local governments have raised  
            concerns that they would not be eligible to receive money from  
            the State's Disaster Relief Fund in the event of a calamity,  
            like an earthquake, wildfire or flood, because they are not in  
            compliance with the eligibility restrictions of Labor Code  
            Section 1782, which concern payment of prevailing wages and use  
            of apprentices on municipal projects.

          Analysis Prepared by:                                               
                          Gabrielle Meindl / BUDGET /916-319-2099  FN: