Legislative Update – November 2018

Budget talks. On November 1, Governor Hickenlooper will submit his final budget to fund state activities for the coming fiscal year. He will explain that proposal to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) on November 16. Of course, by that time a new governor will have been elected who might have different priorities. Nevertheless, this will be the budget the JBC considers as it moves forward hearing from the various state agencies. JBC staff analysts will appear before the six-member panel to review agency requests and make recommendations for any change to those requests, followed in subsequent weeks by hearings with agency directors and key staff. The third step is figure setting, when the JBC sets appropriations levels for state agencies and their various divisions. Once the JBC has agreed on numbers, the budget (known as the Long Appropriations Bill, or “the Long Bill”) goes before the full legislature for approval. The full process takes approximately four to five months. CMA closely follows budgets for the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Environmental Divisions, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Other agency budgets including the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and Department of Law (Office of the Attorney General) may also be monitored, depending on Executive Branch policies and initiatives. Staff briefings for CDPHE Environmental Divisions are scheduled for November 26, with briefings for DNR planned for November 28 and December 17.

New Legislators Training. Newly elected legislators will have little opportunity to rest following hectic (and sometimes vicious) campaigns. The first phase of a three-step process of Orientation for new legislators is scheduled to begin November 9, with the second and third phases scheduled for December 3 and December 17. Orientation topics usually include legislative procedure, role of non-partisan staff, and sexual harassment (following last year’s drama over allegations of improper behavior and the expulsion of one House member). CMA will provide information on newly elected legislators following the election.

Zero Emissions Vehicles. As the Air Quality Control Commission moves ahead with its November hearing to adopt California standards requiring auto dealers to sell low emissions vehicles (LEV), a separate proposal to mandate similar requirements for Zero Emissions Vehicles (electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered) has been under discussion by a stakeholder group. The Commission ordered the Air Division staff to develop and present the ZEV proposal for consideration at the December meeting. If the Commission decides at that time to move forward with a ZEV mandate as well, the formal hearing on the rule would likely be scheduled for the March Commission meeting.

Stationary Source Efficiency Stakeholders. Joint meetings between the Air Pollution Control Division and multiple industries will complete the first phase of scoping issues at their November 5 meeting. At that time the two groups will compare a list of priorities and determine which ones should be prioritized for further action.  CMA has been an active participant in that effort which is targeted toward reducing the time and future costs of permitting (or at the least limit future cost increases).