END OF SESSION DEVELOPMENTS

As anticipated, the Senate amended legislation for a parks and water bond to appear for the consideration of voters on the June 2018 ballot. Senate Bill 5, by Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, is the "California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018", generating $4 billion dollars in bonds for the use and maintenance of local and state parks, and eligible water projects and programs. SB 5 bond funds have been appropriated in conjunction with the allowances from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, Proposition 1, the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006, Proposition 84, and the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, Proposition 40.

SB 5 bond funding is reported to be distributed across three major categories, including $1.3 billion for parks, this includes city and county allocations, $1.5 billion for environmental responses, including wildlife and coastal conservation, and lastly $1.2 billion for water projects and drought sustainability. Under each of these categories there are  over a dozen specified priority funding elements to be awarded through competitive and population based grant funding eligibility, including:  disadvantaged community enhancement, flood protection, outdoor space access, preservation of State facilities, non-motorized infrastructure development, recreation and tourism, waterway improvements, ocean and bay protection, climate preparedness, groundwater sustainability, and water recycling. 

Cities, counties, and districts (regional park district, regional park and open-space, or regional open-space districts) can expect the allocations and structure of grants, listed below. Local governments will be eligible to receive these grants if they meet a 20 percent local share (unless they are considered a severely disadvantaged community, described as a city having a median household income of less than 60 percent of the statewide average).  Grants will be allocated by the Department of Parks and Recreation
  • $200 million in grants for local park rehabilitation, creation, and improvement on a per capita basis. Recipients will be working on projects that increase outdoor access and enhance infrastructure. 
  • $15 million in grants for cities of 200,000 people or less in urbanized counties, like the County of Orange. 
  • Each city's allocation will be in the same ratio as the city's population to the combined total of the State's population, and a city will receive no less than $200,000. This applies to counties, as well, with a county receiving no less than $400,000. 
  • If a city and a district overlap the moneys will be appropriated to the proportion for whichever operates the parks, recreational areas, and facilities for that population (unless the city and the district jointly develop a plan and submit it to the department for an agreed upon allocation).
  • 60 percent of the $200 million will be reserved for cities, and 40 percent will be reserved for counties. 
  • Grant application criteria has not been established yet, but projects that are submitted for grant consideration must be consistent with a city, district or county's park and recreation element of the entities general plan. Overlapping and regional projects are encouraged to be submitted together. 
  • $3 million in competitive grants will be made available for counties, joint powers authorities, non-profits, and districts that create, expand, improve, rehabilitate, or restore parks and park facilities, including trails, regional sports complexes, low-cost accommodations in park facilities, and visitor, outdoor, and interpretive facilities serving youth and communities of color. 
  • $5 million will be made available for non-profits that manage State Parks.
  • $40 million proportional, population based grants will be allocated to local agencies that that have made local revenue enhancements through voter approvals between November 1, 2012 and November 20, 2018 for park infrastructure. Recipients of this grant will receive no less than $250,000. 
Other potential  local government funding sources, affecting  Orange County, include: 
  • $218 million in grant money for the restoration, preservation and protection of existing State Park facilities. Eligible projects include climate resilience, deferred maintenance, low-cost overnight accommodations, public accessibility enhancement, and water quality benefits. Project submittals are encouraged to partner with local governments, non-profits, and business entities. 
  • $18 million of the $218 million in grant allocations is reserved for the Division of Fairs and Expositions to provide for facility improvements for county fairs and other eligible Department of Food and Agriculture uses. 
  • $37.5 million shall be made available for the enhancement of urban waterways, and $30 million dollars shall be allocated for wildlife conservation in the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, which encompasses Los Angeles County and western Orange County.
  • $16 million is allocated for the Santa Ana River Conservancy Program, which encompasses San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties. 
  • $10 million for University of California Natural Reserve System for matching grants for acquisition of land, construction and development of research facilities to manage natural lands. 
  • 12 percent of $40 million dollars allocated for California Ocean Protection Trust Fund will be allocated to the State Coastal Conservancy to fund  a conservation program at West Coyote Hills in North Orange County. 
  • $80 million in competitive grants shall allocate by the State Water Resource Control Board for projects treatment and remediation activities that prevent or reduce the contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.
  • $290 million for drought and groundwater investments to achieve regional sustainability. Expenditure of these funds may include  planning, design, and implementation of projects through competitive grants and loans. These funds would go towards investments in groundwater recharge with surface water, stormwater, recycled water, and other conjunctive use projects, and projects to prevent or clean up contamination groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.
The ACC-OC has not taken a position on SB 5, and will continue to monitor its effects on the cities of Orange County. Outside of the Parks and Water Bond, Senate Bill 54 (de León), also known as the "Sanctuary State Bill", which  aims to restrict local law enforcement agencies from collaborating and partnering with federal agencies related to immigration enforcement action,  was amended to enlist the support of Governor Brown. The amendments provide slightly more discretion for local law enforcement to work with federal immigration authorities. The bill was changed to expand the list of crimes of which law enforcement can notify  immigration authorities , it allows local law enforcement  access to databases with immigration information, and exempts the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from the bill.   ACC-OC originally took an oppose position on SB 54, our Membership is committed to supporting county-wide partners and regional public safety leaders through the advocacy against legislation which weakens local law enforcements resources. 

Read SB 54 Amendments, here
To view ACC-OC's SB 54 Opposition Letter click, here
To view ACC-OC's SB 54 Sample Opposition Letter click, here.

In addition to these bills, ACC-OC is monitoring the progression of SB 649 (Hueso), dealing with wireless telecommunications facilities. Our most recent "Legislative Update" went out, last Friday, you can view it by clicking, here. Re ad SB 649 amendments, from September 7th, here, and view  ACC-OC's Updated Sample Opposition Letter, here. The Affordable Housing bill package is still up for consideration, as well. Please see our "Legislative Update" on those bills, here, and our Opposition Letter to SB 35, here.

Today is the last day for bills to be amended under Proposition 54's 72-hour bill-in-print rule, before the Legislature takes final action on all measures, this Friday. In these last few days of session stay informed with up-to-date information by following our Twitter page, @ACCOC. We will continue to send out "Legislative Update" emails with new information, as well. Should you have any questions please contact Legislative Affairs Director, Diana Coronado at  (714) 953-1300 or at dcoronado@accoc.org .