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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Review
JANUARY 27, 2006

A bill to require local governments to include flood management in the conservation and safety elements
of their general plans became surprisingly controversial and partisan as it passed the Assembly. AB 802
(Wolk, D-Davis), once a Farm Bureau-supported measure that dealt with water supply planning, was
recently amended to deal exclusively with flood control. Specifically, the bill would add a requirement
that on or after January 1, 2007 and upon the adoption or revision of a city's or county's general plan, or an
amendment of the conservation element, or an amendment of two or more elements of the general plan,
the conservation element of a general plan must include a flood management component that considers:
existing water supply and possible use of flood water to supplement that supply and potential means of
using flood water to recharge groundwater supplies. AB 802 would also require mapping of flood hazards
in the safety element of a general plan as well as an assessment of the risk to life and property from
"reasonably foreseeable flooding," which is defined as flooding that has a one in two hundred chance of
occurring in any given year. Local jurisdiction would also have to provide an assessment of the local flood
and water supply infrastructure and an analysis of how the infrastructure can be designed or altered to
minimize the risk of flooding; provide statements as to how to the safety element will be coordinated with
the general plan's land use element; identify, and make provisions for, coordination with state and local
agencies involved in flood management issues; plan for effective storm water retention and drainage; and
anything else deemed necessary to implement effective flood management and public safety.

Recent court judgments have placed financial liability on the state when flood protection levees failed and
inundated residences in Yuba and Monterey Counties. Thus, the state has responsibility for flood
management but no ability to influence the siting of houses in flood prone areas. The tension between
residential home builders and realtors who abhor any restriction on their ability to build and sell houses,
even in flood plains, spilled over into the debate as did the frustration that ďall we do is plan, itís time to
fix our aging flood control levees or, as Assemblyman Leslie put it, ďwe need to build Auburn Dam.Ē In
the end the Assembly decided it was good public policy to have a more informed and thought-out
approach to land use planning in flood zones and the bill was approved 41 to 34. Farm Bureauís position
on the new amended version is still pending.

Acknowledging that the U.S. Supreme Courtís decision in Kelo v. New London has made redevelopment a
political hot potato in California and elsewhere, the Assembly unanimously approved legislation to make
it easier for citizens to force an up or down vote on redevelopment areas. AB 773 (Mullin, D-S. San
Francisco) would increase from 30 days to 90 days, the period following adoption of a redevelopment
agency ordinance during which voters in cities and counties with a population of less than 500,000 may
gather signatures to challenge that ordinance via referenda. Current law only allows the 90-day window
for signature gathering in cities or counties over 500,000 in population. Assemblymember Mullin believes
that 30 days is not enough time for voters to review and respond to significant redevelopment plans or
plan amendments.

AB 674 (Klehs, D-San Leandro) that would require farmers and ranchers to pay the stateís highway tax on
diesel fuel even though it is used exclusively off-road was temporarily stalled on the Assembly Floor
thanks to an all out lobbying campaign by various agricultural organizations. Farm Bureau and others are
committed to trying to defeat this measure and sponsoring subsequent legislation to only require the tax be
paid on the estimated gallons of fuel used on the road. While we appreciate the fact that many farmers and
ranchers have already moved to a duel tank system for their diesel fuel: dyed for off-road and clear for onroad,
an estimated 30 percent must continue to use clear diesel for off-road uses. We think it is more
equitable for the state excise tax to only be due on the amount fuel actually used on the road and with the
more detailed records being kept to justify the claim for refund for the federal excise tax, the state need
not require 100 percent of the tax up front. Thank you to the Farm Team members that responded to our
action request on AB 674.

Legislation to add three public members to the Delta Protection Commission (DPC) and request a study of
how the law could be improved to better protect the Delta islands that stalled just before the Fall interim
may be on the move again. AB 797 (Lois Wolk, D-Davis) has been amended to delete the proposed study
by the California Research Bureau as well as some hostile amendments that would have prohibited the
expansion of cities into the Deltaís primary zone and require any new residential development in the Delta
to be protected by levees that are certified by the state Reclamation Board as being in compliance with
Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines for at least 100-year flood protection. These added
provisions turned out to be a poison pill for the bill because the author refused to have it considered
without their removal. As amended, AB 797 would add four new public members to the DPC: the public
member of the California Bay-Delta Authority who represents the delta region as well as public members
representing agricultural, environmental, and recreational interests. The bill also would allow the
Williamson Actís easement exchange program to be implemented on across the five county lines in the
delta region.

The Assembly passed AB 1147 (Mark Leno, D-San Francisco), which would legalize production of hemp
in California on a 41 to 30 vote. It was heartwarming to hear about how much our legislators care about
the plight of family farmers and believe that hemp will be the crop that saves our stateís agricultural
industry. CFBF has not taken a position on this bill, despite numerous requests from Assembly Member
Leno and co-author Assembly Member Chuck Devore (R-Irvine).

Following the introduction of the Governorís water supply and flood control bond proposals, the
Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife Committee and the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee
raised several questions during hearings regarding the proposals. In the area of water supply, legislators
from both parties questioned why the proposal included funding for unidentified projects. In the flood
control area, committee members expressed concern that funds be spent on actual levee improvements
rather than regulatory permitting costs. In response to these questions, the Director of the Department of

Water Resources testified that most of the permitting and regulatory delays that slow down flood control
maintenance are derived from the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Both committees will have further hearings to fully examine the Governorís proposals and other proposals
being circulated by the legislature in the coming weeks. Farm Bureau will continue to monitor the
development of these proposals to ensure that rural Californians obtain fair benefits from any water bonds,
especially in the area of flood control.

 
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