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in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

February 24, 2017


California_Governor_Flood_Control_95681

Brown Releases Plan to Bolster Dam Safety & Flood Protection

In the wake of recent storms and flooding in California, Governor Jerry Brown announced this week that his administration is taking several near and long term actions to improve dam safety, flood protection, as well as transportation infrastructure.

“Recent storms have pounded the state of California resulting in a dam spillway eroding, roads crumbling and levees failing,” said Governor Brown. “Our aging infrastructure is maxed-out. We can take some immediate actions – and we will – but going forward we’ll need billions more in investment.”

Water

The four-point dam safety and flood protection plan comprises the following:

  • $437 million for near-term flood control and emergency response actions by redirecting $50 million from General Funds and requesting that the Legislature appropriate $387 million via Prop 1 funds.
  • Require emergency action plans and flood inundation maps for all dams.
  • Enhance California’s existing dam inspection program.
  • Seek prompt regulatory action and increased funding from the federal government for dam safety.

Transportation

The recent storms have led to mudslides, rockslides, sink holes, erosion and flooded roads. During his announcement to boost flood protection, Governor Brown discussed the need to improve transportation infrastructure in California, and he highlighted the $59 billion in deferred maintenance needed for highways and $78 billion for local streets and roads. To address the transportation maintenance backlog, the governor said he continues to work with legislative leaders to develop a transportation funding package by April 6.

To read the governor’s four-point plan to strengthen flood protection and dam safety, click HERE.

Asm. Caballero & Dan Walters Headline World Ag Expo Breakfast

Photo of Asm. Caballero at the World Ag Expo

Photo of Asm. Caballero at the World Ag Expo

Ag Council held its Sixth Annual World Ag Expo breakfast in Tulare on February 15 drawing members and friends alike to hear from both Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) and political columnist Dan Walters.

Assemblywoman Caballero, who is known for her practical approach on policy issues and support of water storage, is the new Assembly Agriculture Committee chair and plans to help educate her legislative colleagues about agriculture and the challenges confronting rural areas. The assemblywoman has a breadth of experience in public policy at the local and state levels and discussed labor, crop protection and water issues with breakfast attendees. We appreciate her politically moderate

Photo of Dan Walters at the World Ag Expo

Photo of Dan Walters at the World Ag Expo

approach and are pleased to work

with her to address the complex issues facing agriculture.

Dan Walters, whose political column appears in more than 50 newspapers including the Sacramento Bee, discussed agricultural influence in Sacramento from a historical context. He highlighted the changes in California over the past few decades and cited large population growth, currently at 39 million, along with the reality that California is the most urbanized state in the country. He also pointed to a shift in the state toward a technology-driven economy fueled by Silicon Valley. Walters encouraged agriculture to use the political tools available to us including lobbying in the Capitol and within the regulatory agencies, engaging in campaigns to elect the best candidates, as well as participating in ballot measures to influence the political process.

Photo of Ag Council Board Member, Darren Hoff, with Asm. Caballero

Photo of Ag Council Board Member, Darren Hoff, during a tour with Asm. Caballero

After speaking to Ag Council members, Assemblywoman Caballero toured the World Ag Expo. She also visited local farms to learn more about the raisin industry with Darren Hoff who is an Ag Council board member and a Sun-Maid

board member and grower. We thank her for the time she spent connecting with our members.

CDFA Accepting SWEEP Grant Applications

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting grant applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). This competitive grant program provides funding to implement irrigation systems that save water and lower greenhouse gasses on agricultural operations.

Funding for SWEEP derives from the state Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which administers the proceeds from the cap and trade auction.

For in-depth information about SWEEP and how to apply for a 2017 grant, click HERE. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 5 p.m.

Senate Democrats Announce “Preserve California” – an Environmental Bill Package

Senate Democrats announced a package of three bills this week entitled “Preserve California” intended to shield California from changes to federal environmental regulations, according to Senate Leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles).

In a statement, de Leon said, “The bill package establishes strong and legally enforceable baseline protections for the environment, public health, worker safety, and other areas of federal regulatory law that could be dramatically and recklessly weakened by the Trump Administration.”

SB 49: The California Environmental Defense Act (de León)

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Photo of Sen. de Leon

SB 49 would establish that existing federal air, climate, water, labor, and endangered species regulations are enforceable under state law. The measure is meant to maintain current regulations despite any future changes at the federal level by President Donald Trump and his administration.

SB 50: The Public Lands Protection Act (Allen)

SB 50 would discourage the sale or conveyance of federal land to private developers for resource extraction purposes. The bill also would give the state the ability to establish a right of first refusal by the state prior to the sale or conveyance of federal land.

SB 51: The Whistleblower and Public Data Protection Act (Jackson)

SB 51 would make certain that federal employees who are whistleblowers do not lose state licenses or certifications for revealing violations of law, ethical issues or health and safety hazards. In addition, SB 51 requires state environmental and public health agencies to protect information or data under state law, despite any federal orders for their destruction or censorship.

Click HERE to read more about “Preserve California” on Senator de Leon’s website.

Senator Nguyen Removed from Floor of the State Senate

In a highly unusual scene this week, Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) was removed from the Senate floor by the Sergeant-at-Arms for speaking out against former Senator Tom Hayden who was known as an anti-war activist. Earlier in the week, the Senate honored Hayden who passed away last fall. Senator Nguyen is a refugee from Vietnam and said she hoped to provide “a different historical perspective” regarding Hayden’s opposition to the Vietnam War and what it meant to refugees.

Click HERE to view the video.