CASA Connects Newsletter for March 20, 2017

Please forward this newsletter to anyone who may be interested.                             March 20, 2017

Potable Reuse Legislation Tops CASA Priority List for 2017 California Legislative Session

CASA will work closely with WateReuse California to seek passage of AB 574 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk from Hayward.  WateReuse California is sponsoring AB 574, which would change the definitions of different types of potable water reuse and set a deadline for the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its regulations for potable reuse for raw water augmentation.  The bill is co-sponsored by the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and is an important step towards advancing water recycling in California.

The bill has been double referred to policy committees in the Assembly.  It will first be heard on April 4th in the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, and if passed, will be heard later in April in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee.  CASA member agencies are encouraged to send letters of support of the bill prior to the committee hearings.  CASA’s letter of support and a template support letter is available on our website.

CASA Works to Save Tax Exempt Bonds

CASA is part of a group of California water and wastewater agencies and associations that have signaled support for maintaining the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds. The DRAFT coalition letter focuses on the importance of municipal bonds and the harmful impacts on local government’s ability to fund much needed infrastructure projects if their tax-exempt status were called into question.

A similar effort by the National Association of Counties (NACo) took the form of a “dear colleague” letter, which featured more than 150 members of Congress signing on in support of protecting tax-exempt municipal bonds. Similar letters were sent in 2015, and with a renewed emphasis in Washington, D.C. on both infrastructure reform and tax reform, the issue is once again up for debate.

State Legislative Committee Recommends Action on 60 Bills

Of the 100+ bills CASA is tracking this year, the State Legislative Committee has established an active position on about 60, meaning we are closely following, advocating for changes, or expressing support or opposition to these bills.  In addition to the active bills, many bills were introduced as placeholder or “spot” bills, which have little substance but are introduced in order to hold a “spot,” with the intention of being amended at a later time.  We are actively watching a couple dozen spot bills in key code sections in case they are amended to relate to an issue of interest to CASA.  The State Legislative Committee also identified several priority bills for the year that are of significant interest to the wastewater community.  [more…]

Local Government Partnerships Leverage Our Influence

As a complement to the standard bill list, this year we’ve created a Local Government Bills List that shows all of the bills CASA is working on in conjunction with the larger local government community.  CASA’s legislative advocates participate in coalitions of representatives from the League of Cities, the California State Association of Counties, the California Special Districts Association, the Association of California Water Agencies, and other groups interested in legislation impacting local government activities.

Interested in Policymaking? Get Involved!

On Wednesday, April 19th CASA and WateReuse California are hosting a join Public Policy Forum in Sacramento.  The one-day event features a morning program where participants will hear from prominent speakers and receive a policy briefing, followed by pre-arranged visits with legislators at the State Capitol in the afternoon.  Make sure to check out the preliminary program on our website to see what we have planned for this exciting event.

The Public Policy Forum affords a great opportunity for members to advocate on behalf of their agencies and help promote the CASA and WateReuse policy priorities.

Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) To Introduce Water Infrastructure Assistance Legislation

As the debate over the future of America’s infrastructure continues, Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) intends to reintroduce water infrastructure assistance legislation in the coming weeks. A number of other members are expected to cosponsor the measure. CASA endorsed similar legislation last year. The bill provides funding and prioritization for the State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program as well as other important changes. Specifically, the bill would: [more…]

Mixed Bag

  • Governor Jerry Brown has filled two positions on the 5-member State Water Resources Control Board.  He appointed Joaquin Esquivel, a former staffer for Senator Barbara Boxer, to the seat formerly held by Fran Spivy Weber.  He also re-appointed Tam Doduc to the engineering seat.  Both positions require Senate confirmation. Read more.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) held a press event March 9 to release its Infrastructure Report Card for the nation. The report card, issued every four years, and is widely reported in the press. This year, wastewater was given a D+.  Read more.
  • To help broaden understanding of how public-private and public-public partnerships (“P3”) and performance based infrastructure project delivery models can be used by communities to develop water infrastructure projects, USEPA and the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange provided assistance under a cooperative agreement to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Environmental Finance Center to perform an in-depth examination of nine projects where communities used these alternative project delivery models. UNC’s report “The Financial Impact of Alternative Water Project Delivery Models,” provides detailed case studies for each of the communities highlighting outcomes of the models including how the project was developed and procured, how risks were allocated, and the financial structure and features. Read more.
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2017 Dates
March 19-21 WateReuse CA
Annual Conference
San Diego
March 19-25 Water Week Water Week Washington, D.C.
March 27-28 Bioenergy Association of CA Member Meeting & Lobby Day Sacramento
April 19 CASA/WateReuse
Public Policy Forum
April 25-28 CWEA Palm Springs
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