BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     SB 355

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          Date of Hearing:  June 22, 2015


                                 Das Williams, Chair

          355 (Lara) - As Amended June 15, 2015

          SENATE VOTE:  24-12

          SUBJECT:  San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains  

          SUMMARY:  Increases the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers  
          and Mountains Conservancy's (Conservancy) governing board to 15  
          voting members and nine ex officio members and specifies the  
          additional members' qualifications. 

          EXISTING LAW:   

          1)Establishes the Conservancy, which is responsible for the  
            preservation and protection of specified lands.

          2)Requires the Conservancy to prepare a San Gabriel and Lower  
            Los Angeles Parkway and Open Space Plan, which includes  
            policies and priorities for the conservation of the San  
            Gabriel River and its watershed, the Lower Los Angeles River,  
            and the San Gabriel Mountains and identifies underused  
            existing public open spaces and recommendations for providing  


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            better public use and enjoyment.

          3)Establishes the Conservancy's governing board and specifies  
            the board shall consist of 13 voting members and seven ex  
            officio members, as follows: 

             a)   Voting members:

               i)     A member of the Los Angeles County Board of  
               ii)    Two members of the board of directors of the San  
                 Gabriel Valley Council of Governments who must be a mayor  
                 or city council member;

               iii)   Two members of the board of directors of the Gateway  
                 Cities Council of Governments, one must be the mayor of  
                 Long Beach or a Long Beach city council member and one  
                 must be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly;

               iv)    Two members of the Orange County Division of the  
                 League of California Cities who must be mayors or city  
                 council members;

               v)     A San Gabriel Water Association representative;

               vi)    A Central Basin Water Association representative;


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               vii)   A member proposed by an environmental organization  
                 involved in restoration, open space, or river  
                 preservation activities;

               viii)  The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency;

               ix)    The Secretary of the California Environmental  
                 Protection Agency; and,

               x)     The Director of Finance.

             b)   Ex officio members:

               i)     The District Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of  
               ii)    The Regional Forester of the Pacific Southwest  
                 Region, U.S. Forest Service;

               iii)   Director of Los Angeles County Department of Public  

               iv)    Director of Orange County Department of Public  

               v)     A member of the San Gabriel River Watermaster;


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               vi)    Director of State Parks; and,

               vii)   Executive Officer of the Wildlife Conservation  


          THIS BILL:
          1)Expands the Conservancy's voting board members from 13 to 15  
            and specifies the two additional members will be appointed by  
            the Governor.  Specifies one member be a resident of a city  
            bordering the San Gabriel River and one member be a resident  
            of a city bordering the Lower Los Angeles River. 

          2)Expands the Conservancy's ex officio board members from seven  
            to nine. Requires the additional members to be: 

             a)   A member of the Senate, appointed by the Senate  
               Committee on Rules, whose Senate district is at least  
               partially contained within the territory of the  

             b)   A member of the Assembly, appointed by the Speaker of  
               the Assembly, whose Assembly district is at least partially  
               contained within the territory of the conservancy.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.


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          1)Purpose of this bill.  According to the author:

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

          2)Conservancy.  The Conservancy was created by the California  
            Legislature in 1999.  It is one of ten conservancies within  
            the California Resources Agency.  The Conservancy's mission is  
            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.  The territory of the Conservancy includes  
            the watersheds for the San Gabriel River and the lower Los  
            Angeles River, along with portions of the Santa Clara River  
            and the lower Santa Ana River.  According to the Conservancy's  
            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  


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            passed Proposition 1.  Several of these bonds contained  
            specified funding for the Conservancy [Proposition 84 ($36  
            million), Proposition 50 ($20 million), Proposition 40 ($40  
            million) and Proposition 12, which predated the establishment  
            of the Conservancy, provided $25 million for the Los Angeles  
            and San Gabriel River watersheds].  Additionally, Proposition  
            1 and the earlier bonds also include programs which the  
            Conservancy would be eligible to receive funding from, such as  
            urban river restoration, among others.

          1)Legislative representation.  There are nine other state  
            conservancies with varying governing board member requirements  
            which include:

             a)   State Coastal Conservancy and Santa Monica Mountains  
               Conservancy:  In addition to their governing board members,  
               three members of the Senate and three members of the  
               Assembly are required to participate. There are no regional  
               geographic requirements for the Senate or Assembly members.  

             b)   Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy:  The governing  
               board consists of eleven voting members and two nonvoting  
               members. The two nonvoting members must consist of a Senate  
               member and an Assembly member from districts encompassing a  
               portion of the Delta. 

             c)   The remaining six conservancies do not have any  
               requirements for members of the Senate or Assembly to  

            This bill seeks to add legislative representation to the  
            governing board and requires those representatives come from  
            districts encompassing a portion of the conservancy territory.  
             Although it might often be best to have participating  
            legislators from the region, permanently limiting the choices  


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            the Senate Committee on Rules and Speaker of the Assembly  
            might exclude the best fit for these positions. The author and  
            committee may wish to consider striking the requirement that  
            the legislative district is at least partially contained  
            within the territory of the conservancy.  



          City of Paramount
          City of South Gate
          City of Vernon
          Office of the Mayor, City of Compton


          Anaheim Chamber of Commerce

          Analysis Prepared by:Michael Jarred / NAT. RES. / (916)  


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