Legislation

What is legislation and why is it important?

Legislation is one of the most important instruments of government in organizing society and protecting citizens. It determines amongst others the rights and responsibilities of individuals and authorities to whom the legislation applies.

The Rural Caucus has identified three (out of five) bills for consideration…

Clean Affordable Drinking Water
The Rural Caucus is committed to helping solve California’s drinking water crisis this year by supporting
legislation that provides a reliable, secure, sustainable fund for safe drinking water for all.
We oppose the concept of a “trust” (vs. a “fund”) as the amount of money needed is gargantuan – even
$1 billion dollars would yield just $40 million a year in interest, far short of the $150 million/year
estimated for the ongoing costs of operations, maintenance and technical assistance to bring and keep
the hundreds of failing drinking water systems up and down the state into compliance.
We contend the bill should provide for transparency and accountability. Our metric for accountability is
demonstrably reducing the number of Californians burdened by unsafe water, county by county.
Water companies out of compliance as of 2/8/19
(Source: Water Quality Control Board)
County Population
Alpine 350
Amador 18,404
Butte 407
Calaveras 180
Colusa 381
Eldorado 100
Fresno 68,124
Imperial 23,706
Inyo 85
Kern 216,392
Kings 28,213
Lake 3,327
Los Angeles 12,860
Madera 10,499
Marin 121
Mariposa 157
Merced 63,750
Mono 4,940
Monterey 2,398
Napa 924
Nevada 75
Placer 250
Plumas 2,182
Riverside 8,466
Sacramento 620
San Benito 23,831
San Bernardino 117,759
San Diego 2,915
San Joaquin 83,741
San Luis Obispo 2,035
San Mateo 668
Santa Barbara 250
Santa Clara 402
Santa Cruz 3,029
Siskiyou 40
Sonoma 801
Stanislaus 157,710
Tehama 1,705
Tulare 99,277
Tuolumne 3,600
Ventura 115,298
Yolo 314
Total 1,080,286
These are people, not statistics!

The Rural Caucus has identified three (out of five) bills for consideration – one from the Governor’s
Office (Governor’s Budget Trailer Bill), one from the Senate (SB 200) and one from the Assembly (AB
217).
The main points of contention are over the funding mechanism and whether there should be
forbearance given to agricultural producers in exchange for a tax on agriculture as a form of mitigation
for contamination cause by nitrates, etc. It is likely that only one funding mechanism will emerge
from negotiations; with the exception of the trust mentioned above, we’re comfortable with
the options being discussed.

The Rural Caucus recommends the Democratic Party push for negotiations to get underway in earnest
with the goal of reaching an agreement on a bill to be included in the budget for the Governor to sign on
July 1. In short, get it done!


Failing Water Systems Governance
The Rural Caucus recommends the Party support SB 414 (Caballero): Small Systems Water Authority Act
of 2019, which provides a process for failing public water systems that serve less than 10,000 people or
less than 3,000 service connections to come into compliance, or be absorbed into a new Small System
Water Authority (Authority) created by the State Water Resources Control Board and the applicable
Local Agency Formation Commission. The new Authority would work to competently operate currently
non-compliant public water systems with either contiguous or non-contiguous boundaries. RCRC is in
support.

VoIP and IP Regulations
The Rural Caucus recommends the Party support AB 1366 (Gonzalez) if amended to ensure enforceable,
reliable and resilient access to 911, minimum standards for the reliability and quality of the State’s
communications grid – especially in times of emergency, consumer protection and maintain the State’s
universal service programs that support communities across the state, such as the deaf, disabled, poor,
rural, schools and nonprofit entities – in the Public Utilities Code.