ITEM: ACTION ITEMS
14. DISCUSS SENATE BILL 149 OR RELATED LEGISLATION AFFECTING MPWMD
Meeting Date: February 19, 2004 Budgeted: N/A
Program/Line Item No.: N/A
Staff Contact: Fran Farina Cost Estimate: N/A
General Counsel Approval: N/A
Committee Recommendation: N/A
SUMMARY: The Board will discuss recent developments regarding Senate Bill (SB) 149, which was originally proposed by State Senator Bruce McPherson in early 2003, but was not approved by the legislature in its last session. The original bill amends the state law that created the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and changes how the agency would be governed. An overview of the bill’s history in 2003 is provided under “Background” below, and also appears on the District website: www.mpwmd.dst.ca.us. According to recent newspaper reports in the Carmel Pine Cone and Monterey County Herald (Exhibits 14-A and 14-B), Senator McPherson has met with Directors Foy and Knight regarding various concepts to include in a new 2004 version of the bill, either using SB 149 or another spot bill which the Senator has. No updated version has been submitted to date. No action has been taken by Assemblymember John Laird at this time.
An e-mail from Kris Kristensen of Shannon Executive Search (Exhibit 14-C) confirms that Senator McPherson intends to move forward with the bill in some form. Mr. Kristensen expressed concern about the impact of such a bill on the efforts to recruit a new General Manager for MPWMD. Several dozen candidates have applied to date, but were not advised about SB 149 in recruitment literature, based on the action of the Legislature last year. Uncertainty about the future of the District could result in withdrawal of applications.
BACKGROUND: On February 7, 2003, State Senator Bruce McPherson (R, Santa Cruz) introduced Senate Bill 149 (SB 149) that amends the state law that created the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and changes how the agency would be governed. The text of the bill continues to change, so check the State Senate website www.senate.ca.gov or the State Assembly website www.assembly.ca.gov for the most recent version.
Significant amendments were made to the bill in the Assembly Local Government Committee on July 2, 2003. The current text reflects the most recent amended version. As of July 10, 2003, key aspects of the bill include:
Ø The name of the agency remains the same. [It previously had been changed.]
Ø The current governance of five directly elected board members from five voter divisions and two appointed board members (a mayor and supervisor who must live within the District) would remain. [This is a significant change from previous versions.]
Ø There would no longer be a requirement for a public vote to approve an MPWMD- sponsored water project, but a public hearing must be held.
Ø There would no longer be a requirement for a public vote to approve revenue bonds issued by MPWMD to construct a water project. However, the revenue bond must be approved by ordinance, which entails a public hearing.
Ø The revenue bond ordinance is subject to a referendum by voters in accordance with State Election Code. The ordinance requirement does not pertain to other types of financing.
Ø The Board of the MPWMD shall be dissolved on January 1, 2007 if an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a water supply that produces more than 10,700 acre-feet of water per year has not been prepared and approved before that date.
Ø The need for affordable housing is critical within the boundaries of the MPWMD, and construction of affordable housing within the District is a top priority for the Legislature.
At the May 2, 2003 MPWMD public meeting, the MPWMD Board adopted Resolution 2003-01 (Exhibit 14-D) authorizing the Chairperson or his designee to take appropriate action to oppose SB 149 as it existed at that time. Examples of action include communication with and education of legislators, political consultant assistance, and making presentations at various types of meetings. The Resolution describes the reasons for opposing SB 149, which relate primarily to diminished or eliminated voting rights.
Many groups and individuals have written to legislators or spoken at hearings in favor or against various versions of SB 149. These are listed on the District website.
SB 149 was first introduced in February 2003 without much detail. Substantive text was prepared in late April, and amended on May 5, May 13, June 19, and July 10, 2003. SB 149 was heard before the Senate Local Government Committee on May 7, 2003 and was approved by a vote of 6-0. An amended version passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 19 as a consent item due to minimal fiscal effect. It passed on the Senate Floor on May 22, 2003 on a vote of 21-2 (23 of 40 senators were present).
To track SB 149 through the Senate or Assembly, go to the Senate or Assembly websites: www.senate.ca.gov or www.assembly.ca.gov. Click on “Legislation.” Then fill out information for the website to search for the bill as follows: For “House”, click on “Senate” because that is where the bill originated. Then, enter the bill number “SB 149” and “McPherson” as the author, and click on “search.” When the new screen comes up, click on “SB 149.” There will be a variety of information on the bill from that point. Click on “Status” to learn where the bill currently is in the legislative process and the date of the next scheduled action. Click on “History” to see a listing of changes and action over time. Click on “Text” for a complete printout of the version you select. Note that the bill number could change in 2004 to something other than SB 149.