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January 2013 Policy Committee Summary

January 22, 2013

Hundreds of city officials from across the state converged in Sacramento Jan. 17-18 for the first policy committee meetings of 2013. The League’s policy making process relies on the participation of a diverse group of city officials from across the state.  


The League’s eight standing policy committees took up a number of issues, many as informational items as it is still early in the Legislative session. Each committee reviewed its 2013 work plan and set priorities for the coming year. Later in the legislative session, committees will be asked to make recommendations to the League board of directors on bills for which the League does not currently have clear policy.

City officials were also briefed during a general session prior to each committee meeting on the League’s multi-year advocacy strategy, as well as issues of statewide importance including redevelopment dissolution litigation, the state budget, including possible actions on Enterprise Zones, and federal issues.

All bills referenced in this summary can be searched on the League’s website by typing the bill number into the search box.

Meeting Summaries

The following summaries represent the topics each policy committee discussed. More detailed policy committee meeting highlights will be available on each policy committee web page at a later date.

Administrative Services: Two chief consultants, Darren Chesin and Ethan Jones, from the Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee spoke with the policy committee about legislative trends they expect to see in the coming year including bills on campaign disclosure, initiative reforms, and political commercial funding disclosure. Senate Governance and Finance Committee Consultant Brian Weinberger also spoke mainly about issues related to the Brown Act. The Assembly Local Government Committee was represented by Consultant Misa Yokoi-Shelton who discussed SB 1003 (Yee; 2012), which amended the Brown Act last year.

Community Services: Proposed legislative measures to lower local voter thresholds were discussed. A presentation was given by Craig Watson, director, California Arts Council, on how cities are using public art. Additionally, Charlotte Dickinson, MSW director, HEAL Cities Campaign and the California Center for Public Health Advocate and Shelia James, public health advisor, Department of Health and Human Services, Region IX, discussed success strategies for the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) campaign and encouraged cities to become involved in the program.

Environmental Quality: Arsenio Mataka, assistant secretary for Environmental Justice, Cal EPA and George Alexeeff, director, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) presented information about their tool, CalEnviroScreen. In 2012, the League reported on the development of this tool and has been actively engaged with Cal EPA and OEHHA in providing feedback. The draft guidance and full report have been posted on the League’s website. The committee also engaged in a discussion on current proposals for CEQA reform.

Employee Relations: The committee heard from Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee Chief Consultant Karon Green and Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee Consultant Glenn Miles on last year’s public employees’ retirement reform package and implementation for 2013. The committee was also briefed on the progress of CalPERS’ pension reform and regulatory process by Danny Brown, chief, CalPERS Government Relations CalPERS’ Customer Account Services Division. Additionally, Jason Schmelzer with the California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation and Jeremy Merz with the California Chamber of Commerce discussed workers compensation reform and the regulatory process.

Housing, Community and Economic Development: The committee continued discussions on several legislative issues which emerged last year including SB 904 (Skinner; 2012), SB 1186 (Steinberg; 2012), SB 33 (Wolk), a reintroduction of last year’s SB 214, and SB 1 (Steinberg), a reintroduction of last year’s SB 1156. New discussions included redevelopment signs and the tentative map act, AB 116 (Bocanegra). Glen Campora, assistant deputy director, Division of Housing Policy Development also spoke with the committee regarding the housing element. Additionally, the committee heard the same presentation as the Environmental Quality Committee on CalEnviroScreen.

Public Safety: The committee heard from Rod Jones, police chief, Fontana and Dave Brown, police chief, Hemet, on policy proposals related to realignment. Additionally, Max Bosel, captain, Mountain View Police Department provided an update on the California Sex Offender Management Board. The committee reviewed principles proposed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and added the topic of gun violence to the committee’s work program for future discussion.

Revenue and Taxation: Following the general session briefing on the state budget, the committee discussed Gov. Brown’s budget proposals in further detail. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) report on tax expenditures was discussed as well as the Enterprise Zone program. Legislative issues discussed included SB 33 (Wolk), SB 1 (Steinberg), proposals to lower the voter thresholds, and expected vehicle license fee legislation. Colin Grinnell, consultant, Senate Governance and Finance Committee, discussed the political environment for revenue and taxation issues in the coming year. Further policy discussions involved potential property tax reassessments for commercial property and local bankruptcy and fiscal conditions in cities.

Transportation, Communications and Public Works: The committee was briefed on state and legislative issues including: AB 14 (Lowenthal), a transportation and housing funding proposal, various 55 percent vote threshold proposals, and federal transportation (MAP-21) implementation. The 2012 Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment was reviewed along with the Transportation California Funding proposal. The committee discussed and voted on Transportation Revenue Policy Statements.

Next Steps

The League board of directors will consider any recommendations from policy committees during its next meeting on Feb 7-8 in Pasadena. The League’s next policy committee meetings will be held April 4-5 in Pasadena.

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