The following update on legislation impacting California’s rural counties was provided to PublicCEO by the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC).

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Sunday, October 11, 2015, marked the deadline for Governor Brown to act on legislation passed during this legislative cycle.  While there are still several bills pending in the Special Sessions dedicated to Transportation and Health Care, action has occurred on a handful of bills of interest to California’s rural counties.  

Late last week Governor Brown signed three bills into law which provide a medical marijuana regulatory framework.  This package of three bills, including Senate Bill 643 (McGuire), Assembly Bill 243 (Wood), and Assembly Bill 266 (Bonta) addresses a number of rural county priorities, including preserving local land-use control; providing explicit county taxing authority, creating a strict licensing system; and addressing environmental impacts caused by inappropriate cultivation.

While home-to-school transportation, Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, and reforms to the regulations governing surface mining were worked on throughout the year, resolution was not reached on any of these issues prior to the end of this legislative year, and negotiations will continue into the second half of the legislative term. Additionally, the Special Session on Health Care has only so far addressed physician-assisted suicide, an issue it wasn’t slated to address at all; and seeks to address a new Managed Care Organization tax and likely other ways of funding the Affordable Care Act, Medi-Cal, reimbursement rates and other health care costs in California including possibly new tobacco taxes among others.