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. In addition to the potable reuse bill, AB 574, these are:
- AB 967 (Gloria) – Biocremation
Assembly Member Todd Gloria from San Diego introduced AB 967 this year, which attempts to create a licensing and regulatory scheme for commercial “biocremation” facilities. Biocremation is a process that utilizes heat and pressure to dispose of human remains and is marketed as a “green” alternative to traditional crematoriums. The bill is quite comprehensive and relates almost entirely to funeral and mortuary issues.
Unlike previous bills that have attempted to do the same thing, AB 967 has a blanket prohibition for disposing of residual “hydrolase” in a municipal sewer system, and instead requires a medical waste hauler to take the remnant materials and inject them directly into an anaerobic digester at a water treatment facility that generates bioenergy.
CASA has taken a “work with author” position on the bill and formed a subcommittee of the State Legislative Committee and some other technical staff to draft some clarifying amendments that we will suggest to the author. AB 967 has been referred to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and will be heard in April.
- SB 229 (Wieckowski) – Accessory Dwelling Units
Last year the Legislature passed and Governor signed SB 1069 (Wieckowski), which made significant changes in the way local agencies can assess connection fees for accessory dwelling units. CASA was very involved in drafting compromise language to the bill that allows a local agency to charge a fee for units meeting certain specifications.
SB 229, also authored by Senator Wieckowski, has been introduced as “cleanup” legislation to SB 1069. In particular it expands the bill’s application to special districts, which was the intent of the bill last year. Special districts were inadvertently excluded as they don’t fall under the statutory definition of “local agency.” Additionally, Senator Wieckowski would like to expand a provision from last year that allows cities to adopt more lenient accessory dwelling unit ordinances if they so desire.
CASA has a “work with author” position on SB 229, and we have been in close contact with the Senator and his staff regarding some of our desired clarifications to the bill. Additionally, a subcommittee of CASA attorneys is working with us to craft some proposed amendments to the bill language. SB 229 has been double referred to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, and will be heard in the next several weeks.
- Other Bills of Interest & Bill Lists
In addition to the priority bills, CASA is utilizing our subject matter experts from the Energy & Climate Change Workgroup and the Attorneys Committee to assist us in analyzing several other bills. For the full list of bills CASA is following this year, please visit our website.