BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     SB 355

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          355 (Lara)

          As Amended  June 25, 2015

          Majority vote

          SENATE VOTE:  24-12

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Natural         |7-0  |Williams, Cristina    |                    |
          |Resources       |     |Garcia, Hadley,       |                    |
          |                |     |Harper, McCarty,      |                    |
          |                |     |Rendon, Mark Stone    |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Appropriations  |14-0 |Gomez, Bigelow,       |                    |
          |                |     |Bloom, Bonta,         |                    |
          |                |     |Calderon, Chang,      |                    |
          |                |     |Eggman, Gallagher,    |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |Eduardo Garcia,       |                    |
          |                |     |Jones, Quirk, Rendon, |                    |
          |                |     |Weber, Wood           |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |


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          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.  Specifically, 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 Rules  

             b)   A member of the Assembly, appointed by the Speaker of  
               the Assembly.

          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,  


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            and the San Gabriel Mountains and identifies underused  
            existing public open spaces and recommendations for providing  
            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  

               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 United States (U.S.)  
                  Army Corps of Engineers;

               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;

               vi)     Director of State Parks; and,


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               vii)    Executive Officer of the Wildlife Conservation  

          FISCAL EFFECT: According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, this bill has minor, absorbable state costs.


          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 10 conservancies within the  
            California Resources Agency.  The Conservancy's mission is to  
            preserve open space and habitat in order to provide for  


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            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  
            passed Proposition 1 (2014).  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 11 voting members and two nonvoting  
               members.  The two nonvoting members must consist of a  
               Senator member and an Assembly Member from districts  
               encompassing a portion of the Delta. 

             c)   The remaining six conservancies do not have any  


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               requirements for members of the Senate or Assembly to  

            This bill adds legislative representation to the Conservancy's  
            governing board.

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Michael Jarred / NAT. RES. / (916) 319-2092  FN: