Legislative Update

May 18, 2018

By Brian White, KP Public Affairs, FLC Legislative Advocate and Larry Camp, FLC Legislative Committee

There has been lots of activity in the capitol since early January on legislation and other matters. Brian White has arranged meetings with legislators or senior staff members in late January and early April to discuss bills related to forest management and the fire issue. The Board has written letters of support for several letters of support and worked with staff to identify changes that will make the proposed legislation more effective. We will continue to work with Brian and other coalition groups to support or oppose legislation. Hearings are just now beginning to occur. A list of the bills that we are following is shown in the table below. A more detailed discussion of each bill is available on our website in the members section.

Board members continue to participate in the tree mortality task force. The Governor proposed a new effort to deal with Forest Health in his State of the State message. Larry Camp has been requested to serve as small landowner representative within that group of 10-12 advisors from scientists and practitioners. The group has met twice to date including a two-hour meeting with the Governor and senior members of his staff. The goal is to have the program ready to start within the next few weeks. Its organizational structure and tasks are still being developed.

NMTPs and the Notice of Timber Operations (NTO) issue. The Board has clearly hear the memberships’ concern with the recent Cal Fire changes in policy regarding the use of Exemptions and/Emergency Notices for incidental or salvage operations on NTMPs. FLC submitted a letter to the Board of Forestry and testified before the Forest Practice Committee on April 10. The Board intends to find a solution to the problem but it may take some time. In the meantime, landowners who do not have a provision in their plan for operating under an exemption or emergency notice may consider amending their plan to include such a provision as a minor deviation, or waiting to see the outcome. Please feel free to contact the FLC office if you have questions or comments.

Bill # Author Subject Position
AB 1954 Senate 5/10 Patterson Extension of 2014 exemption for vegetative treatment within 300 feet of a residence. Support
AB 2518, Approved Approp. Consent Calendar 5/17 Aguiar-Curry The bill would require Cal Fire to explore markets, including export markets, for milling, development, and expansion of innovative forest products and mass timber, consistent with the state's climate objectives on forest lands. Watch
AB 2842, As Amended Status: Amended 4/17 Approp. 5/17 in Suspense Bigelow The bill would require Cal Fire to develop the California Wood Innovations Small Grants Program to provide grants and low-interest loans or loan guarantees, to entities that expand the use of wood products and increase in-state wood product processing and manufacturing. Support
AB 2889, As Amended Status: Amended 4/17 Approp. Comm. 5/1 Caballero Implement a Timber Harvester's Bill of Rights to ensure the uniform and efficient implementation of processes and procedures regulating the filing, review, approval, required modification, completion, and appeal of decisions relating to timber harvesting plans. Support
SB 1002, Introduced Status: Senate Committee on Rules Nielsen The bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation to create the Safe Forests and Grasslands Act of 2018 to improve the health of the state's forests and grasslands, reduce wildlife fuel, provide for bioenergy production, and reduce uncontrolled fires in state responsibility areas. Watch
SB 1079, As Amended Status: Assm. Nat. Res. 5/17 Monning The bill would authorize the Cal Fire Director to authorize advance payments to a nonprofit organization, a special district, or a Native American tribe for grants for the implementation and administration of projects and programs to improve forest health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would prohibit a single advance payment from exceeding 25% of the total grant award. Watch
SB 1414, As Amended Status: Senate Approp. Comm. 5/22 Beall Existing law requires the department to review, approve, require the modification of, or disapprove timber harvesting plans in accordance with prescribed procedures. This bill would require the department to ensure that, before the approval of a timber harvesting plan or an associated permit on lands owned by the San Jose Water Company, the Company conducts three public hearings on the timber harvesting plan or associated permit, the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District publicly reviews the timber harvesting plan or associated permit and adopts a resolution that timber harvesting would result in no significant impacts to public lands, and the County of Santa Clara, the County of Santa Cruz, and the appropriate regional water quality control boards each conducts a public hearing on the timber harvesting plan or associated permit. Strongly Oppose
AB 1956, Status: Assm. Approp. 4/17 hrg. ppd. 5/16 Limon The bill would require the Cal Fire to establish a local assistance grant program, funded upon appropriation by the Legislature, for fire prevention activities. The bill would require the department to prioritize projects that are multiyear efforts to improve resiliency on the landscape and adapt landscapes to withstand increased frequency and intensity of large wildfires. Watch
AB 2091, As Amended Status: Approp. Comm. 5/16 in Suspense Grayson The bill would require the Board of Forestry to appoint a prescribed fire advisory committee. This bill would require the Board of Forestry to establish, standards for prescribed burning, and establish standards for certification. The bill would require the department to develop and implement an insurance pool for certified prescribed burn managers. Watch
AB 2551, Introduced Status: Approp. Comm. 5/16 in Suspense Wood This bill would require Cal Fire to establish, implement, and administer the Forest and Wildland Health Improvement and Fire Prevention Program, which is intended to promote forest and wildland health, restoration, and resilience, and improve fire prevention and preparedness throughout the state. The bill would require the department to take specified actions to improve forest and wildland health and resilience. Watch
AB 2585, Introduced Status: Approp. Comm. hrg. cancelled Patterson The bill would provide that a property owner and his or her agent conducting a prescribed burn, shall not be liable for damage or injury caused by fire or smoke, unless negligence is proven, when the prescribed burn meets specified conditions, and proper burn permits have been obtained from all appropriate state and local agencies. The bill would require the department, to secure an insurance policy to provide compensation for any injuries or property damage resulting from a prescribed burn operation. Watch
AB 2672, Introduced Status: Approp. Comm. 5/9 in Suspense Patterson The bill would require the Air Res. Board, in consultation with Cal Fire, to annually submit a report to the Legislature that includes, an estimate of the annual emissions of greenhouse gases associated with wildfires in the state that have burned 10,000 acres or more. Watch
AB 2911, Introduced Status: Approp. Comm. 5/16 in Suspense Friedman The bill would require the State Fire Marshall, no later than January 31, 2019, in consultation with Cal Fire and the Director of Housing and Community Development, to recommend updated building standards that provide for comprehensive site and structure fire risk reduction to protect structures from fires spreading, and to develop a list of low-cost retrofits. Watch
SB 1035, Introduced Status: Assm. Comm. Local Govt. 5/10 Jackson The bill would require local planning agencies to review and update to address climate adaption and resiliency strategies, and require the planning agency to review and, if necessary, revise the safety element upon each revision of the housing element. Watch
SB 1260, Introduced Status: Senate Comm. Approp. 5/16 with Amendments Jackson The bill would provide that compliance with the provisions of law relating to prescribed burning-operation agreements with the director shall constitute prima facia evidence of due diligence with respect to the above provision relating to fire liability. Watch
AB 2645, Introduced Status: Assembly Committee on Natural Resources Hearing 4/23 Cancelled Patterson The bill would continuously appropriate $74,805,000 from the fund annually to Cal Fire for purposes of fire prevention activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This bill also would continuously appropriate $450,000,000 from the fund annually to Cal Fire for state and local healthy forest and fire prevention programs. Watch
AB 2092, Introduced Status: Assembly Committee on Natural Resources Acosta The bill would increase to 6 the number of members of the Board of Forestry from the general public, thereby increasing the total member of members to ten. Watch
SB 1044, Introduced Status: Senate Comm. on Govt. and Finance Hearing 4/18 hrg. postponed Berryhill The bill would instead repeal the SRA fee. The bill would also require the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to develop a process for providing for refunds of fees collected beginning in the 2011-2012 fiscal year until July 1, 2017. Watch
AB 2627 Assm. Comm. on Approp. 5/16 in Suspense Kalra Amendment to Migratory Bird Treaty Act for non-game birds. Oppose