BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        SB 355|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 355
          Author:   Lara (D)
          Amended:  4/6/15  
          Vote:     21  

           SENATE NATURAL RES. & WATER COMMITTEE:  6-2, 4/14/15
           AYES: Pavley, Allen, Hueso, Jackson, Monning, Wolk
           NOES: Stone, Fuller
           NO VOTE RECORDED: Hertzberg

          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: Senate Rule 28.8

           SUBJECT:   San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and  
                     Mountains Conservancy


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill changes the membership of the San Gabriel and  
          Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy's (RMC's)  
          board by changing the selection criteria for one of the existing  
          voting members and adding two non-voting members.


          ANALYSIS: 

          Existing law:

          1)Establishes ten conservancies in state government within the  
            Natural Resources Agency and provides varying criteria for  
            board membership 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  








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            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.

          2)Establishes the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and  
            Mountains Conservancy (RMC) (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.

          3)Establishes the RMC's territory which 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.  The RMC includes portions of western Orange and  
            eastern Los Angeles counties.

          4)Establishes the RMC board.  The board is composed of 13 voting  
            and 7 non voting members (PRC 32605).

             a)   The voting members include:

                 i)       A member of the Los Angeles County Board of  
                   Supervisors, as specified.
                 ii)      Two members of the board of directors of the San  
                   Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, as specified.  
                   Both members shall be a mayor or city council member.
                 iii)     Two 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).
                 iv)      Two members of the Orange County Division of the  
                   League of California Cities, as specified.  Both shall  
                   be mayors or city council members.
                 v)       A San Gabriel Water Association representative.
                 vi)      A Central Basin Water Association  
                   representative.
                 vii)     A member, proposed by an environmental  
                   organization, involved in restoration, open space, or  
                   river preservation activities, as specified.








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                 viii)    The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency.
                 ix)      The Secretary of the California Environmental  
                   Protection Agency.
                 x)       The Director of Finance.

               Some members of the RMC board holding local public office  
               must satisfy certain additional territorial requirements.

             b)   The non-voting members include:

                 i)       The District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of  
                   Engineers.
                 ii)      The Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region,  
                   U.S. Forest Service.
                 iii)     Director, Los Angeles County of Public Works.
                 iv)      Director, Orange County Department of Public  
                   Works.
                 v)       A San Gabriel Watermaster representative.
                 vi)      Director, State Parks.
                 vii)     Executive Officer, Wildlife Conservation Board.

          This bill changes the membership of the RMC board by changing  
          the selection criteria for one of the existing voting members  
          and adding two non-voting members (for a board composed of 13  
          voting and 9 non-voting members) by:

          1)Removing one of the two voting members selected from the  
            Orange County Division of the League of California Cities and  
            replacing him or her with a resident of a city bordering the  
            Lower Los Angeles River, appointed by the Governor, as  
            specified.

          2)Adding a member of the Senate and a member of the Assembly,  
            appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker,  
            respectively, as non-voting members.
          
          Comments

          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  








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          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.

          Legislators sit on other Conservancy Boards. 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 capacity.

          Recent related legislation
          
          AB 530 (Rendon, 2015) provides 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 1664 (Romero, 2002) would have added 4 non-voting members to  
          the RMC Board - 2 each from the Senate and Assembly,  
          respectively. (failed on Assembly floor.)

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   No


          SUPPORT:   (Verified4/21/15)


          City of Bell
          City of Compton
          City of Cudahy
          City of Paramount
          City of South Gate
          City of Vernon


          OPPOSITION:   (Verified4/21/15)


          Association of California Cities - Orange County
          City of Brea








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          City of Buena Park
          City of Fullerton
          City of Garden Grove
          City of Laguna Hills
          City of La Habra
          City of La Palma
          City of Los Alamitos
          City of Newport Beach
          Orange County Council of Governments
          Orange County Division, League of California Cities
          Orange County Sanitation District
          Yorba Linda Water District

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:  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 development."

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

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:  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 county."


          The City continues that SB 355 "would unequivocally marginalize  
          the voice of Orange County, which currently holds just two of  








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          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.

          Prepared by: Katharine Moore / N.R. & W. / (916) 651-4116
          4/22/15 16:20:05
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