BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            SB 355          Hearing Date:    April 14,  
          |Author:    |Lara                   |           |                 |
          |Version:   |April 6, 2015                                        |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|Katharine Moore                                      |
          |           |                                                     |
          Subject:  San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains  

          1.There are ten conservancies currently established by law in  
            state government within the California Natural Resources  

          2.In general, the governing statutes for each conservancy  
            provide its mission (typically to acquire and manage public  
            lands in a specified area to provide open space, wildlife  
            habitat restoration, recreational and education experiences,  
            among other goals), and establish the territory of the  
            conservancy, criteria for board membership, and the framework  
            for its activities.
          3.The criteria for board membership varies among the  
            conservancies.  There are typically both voting and non-voting  
            members, many of whom must satisfy territorial representation  
            or residency requirements.  Board members may serve due to the  
            office they hold (e.g. the Secretary of the Natural Resources  
            Agency) or are selected by a variety of methods including  
            appointment by the Senate Committee on Rules, the Speaker of  
            the Assembly and the Governor.

          4.The San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains  
            Conservancy (RMC) was created by the Legislature in 1999 (SB  
            216, Solis, c. 89 and AB 1355, Havice, c. 90, Statutes of  


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            1999)(Public Resources Code (PRC) 32600 et seq.).  The RMC's  
            mission is, among other things, to preserve open space and  
            habitat in order to provide for low-impact recreation and  
            educational uses, wildlife habitat restoration and protection,  
            and watershed improvements within its jurisdiction.

          5.The RMC territory includes the watersheds for the San Gabriel  
            River and the Los Angeles River, along with portions of the  
            Santa Clara River and the lower Santa Ana River.  It includes  
            portions of western Orange and eastern Los Angeles counties.

          6.The RMC board is composed of 13 voting and 7 non-voting  
            members (PRC 32605).  The voting members include:
                 A member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,  
               as specified (appointed by the Governor)
                 2 members of the board of directors of the San Gabriel  
               Valley Council of Governments, as specified (appointed by  
               the Senate Committee on Rules and by a majority vote of  
               said board of directors).  Both members shall be a mayor or  
               city council member.
                 2 members of the board of directors of the Gateway  
               Cities Council of Governments, as specified (one shall be  
               the mayor of Long Beach or a Long Beach city council member  
               appointed by the mayor, and one appointed by the Speaker of  
               the Assembly)
                 2 members of the Orange County Division of the League of  
               California Cities, as specified (appointed by a majority  
               vote of membership and by the Governor).  Both shall be  
               mayors or city council members.
                 A San Gabriel Water Association representative
                 A Central Basin Water Association representative
                 A member, proposed by an environmental organization,  
               involved in restoration, open space, or river preservation  
               activities, as specified (appointed by the Governor).
                 The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency
                 The Secretary of the California Environmental Protection  
                 The Director of Finance.

            Some members of the RMC board holding local public office must  
            satisfy certain additional territorial requirements.  Certain  
            members may appoint designees to represent them on the RMC  


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            The non-voting RMC board members include:
                 The District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
                 The Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S.  
               Forest Service
                 Director, Los Angeles County of Public Works
                 Director, Orange County Department of Public Works
                 A San Gabriel Watermaster representative
                 Director, State Parks
                 Executive Officer, Wildlife Conservation Board

            Non-voting members may be represented by his or her designee.

          1.In 2006, the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee  
            omnibus bill (SB 1843, c. 94, Statutes of 2006) revised the  
            RMC statutes to, among other things, allow the member  
            representing the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to  
            appoint his or her designee for the board.  More recently, the  
            2012 Resources budget trailer bill provided for alternate  
            requirements for the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments  
            board member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules in  
            certain conditions (SB 1018, c. 38, Statutes of 2012).

          2.The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the State Coastal  
            Conservancy and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy  
            provide for sitting members of the Assembly and Senate to  
            participate on or with their respective boards in a non-voting  

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would change the membership of the RMC Board by  
          changing the selection criteria for one of the existing voting  
          members and adding two non-voting members.  Specifically, this  
          bill would:
           Increase the non-voting number of members from 7 to 9, and  
            retain the existing number of 13 voting members.  The two  
            additional non-voting members would be a member of the Senate  
            and a member of the Assembly, appointed by the Senate  
            Committee on Rules and the Speaker, respectively.
           Remove one of the two voting members selected from the Orange  
            County Division of the League of California Cities (the one  
            selected by a majority of the membership of the city selection  
            committee of Orange County) and replace him or her with a  
            resident of a city bordering the Lower Los Angeles River  
            appointed by the Governor, as specified.


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          According to the author, "[t]he recently approved state water  
          bond provides millions of dollars in funding opportunities for  
          the revitalization of the Lower Los Angeles River watershed,  
          including parks and open space along the River.  Many of those  
          funds, including a $30 million direct allocation for watershed  
          improvements, and a share of $100 [million] for urban creek  
          restoration, will be allocated through the RMC.  Opportunities  
          for improvements to the Lower Los Angeles River directly impact  
          the communities that border the River. It is vital that the  
          conservancy board include representation from the cities that  
          border the river, to provide a local perspective on plans and  

          "Adding state elected officials as non-voting board members in  
          an advisory capacity has proven successful at other state  

          The City of Laguna Hills writes, "[t]he RMC is a critical  
          pathway to regional collaboration on environmental and water  
          quality issues.  Ensuring broad representation on the RMC is an  
          effective strategy to developing the programs and procuring the  
          funds, through Proposition 1 or other vehicles, to achieve  
          regional environmental objectives. [?] These funds will work  
          towards improving all of Southern California, not just one  

          The City continues that SB 355 "would unequivocally marginalize  
          the voice of Orange County, which currently holds just two of  
          thirteen voting seats on the RMC, just as critical and  
          competitive funding programs begin to take shape," and notes the  
          importance of the Santa Ana River watershed to Orange County's  
          groundwater and water supply.  The City of Laguna Hills'  
          comments are echoed by the other opponents of the bill.

           Conservancy board membership changes over time  .  It is not  
          unusual for the Legislature to make changes in the number of  
          board members or the criteria for board membership over time for  
          a conservancy.  As noted above, membership in the RMC board was  
          changed by a committee bill in 2006.  Additionally, for example,  
          in the last session changes impacting the boards of both the  


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          Santa Monica Mountains and the Baldwin Hills Conservancies were  
          approved (see below for specifics).

           Geographic shift in RMC board composition  .  A member from Orange  
          County would be replaced by a member from Los Angeles County.   
          Most of the RMC territory is in Los Angeles County, and, as  
          noted by the opponents, most of its Board members are too. The  
          current RMC board includes a representative from Long Beach  
          (adjacent to the Lower Los Angeles River).  The other members  
          from Los Angeles County may not necessarily represent  
          communities directly adjacent to the Lower Los Angeles River.

           The RMC received specified funding in bonds prior to Proposition  
          1 (2014)  .  According to the RMC web-page it has received funding  
          from Proposition 12 (2000), Proposition 13 (2000), Proposition  
          40 (2002), Proposition 50 (2002) and Proposition 84 (2006) in  
          addition to the recently-passed Proposition 1.  Several of these  
          bonds contained specified funding for the RMC (Proposition 84  
          ($36 million), Proposition 50 ($20 million), Proposition 40 ($40  
          million) and Proposition 12, which predated the establishment of  
          the RMC, provided $25 million for the Los Angeles and San  
          Gabriel River watersheds).  Additionally, Proposition1 and the  
          earlier bonds also include programs which the RMC would be  
          eligible to receive funding from such as urban river  
          restoration, among others.

           Recent related legislation  .
          AB 530 (Rendon, 2015) would provide for the establishment of a  
          local working group, including representatives from the RMC, to  
          develop a revitalization plan for the Lower Los Angeles River.  
          (before the Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife Committee)

          SB 238 (Liu, c. 211, Statutes of 2013) changed the ability of  
          the non-voting member of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy  
          Board representing the Angeles National Forest to vote on items  
          impacting said forest.

          SB 184 (Committee on Governance and Finance, c. 184, Statutes of  
          2013) allowed the member of the Board of Supervisors of Los  
          Angeles County serving on the board of the Baldwin Hills  
          Conservancy board to appoint a designee to represent him or her.

          SB 1664 (Romero, 2002) would have added 4 non-voting members to  
          the RMC Board - 2 each from the Senate and Assembly,  


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          respectively. (failed on Assembly floor.)
          City of Cudahy
          City of Paramount

          Association of California Cities - Orange County
          City of Brea
          City of Fullerton
          City of Laguna Hills
          City of Los Alamitos
          City of Newport Beach
          Orange County Division, League of California Cities (unless  

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