May 2018 Report
• SB 897 – Residential property insurance: wildfires passed through the Senate Insurance Committee last week!
o Senator McGuire’s SB 897 would waive inventory claim form requirements (an itemized contents list) during a governor-declared state of emergency, allowing homeowners the option of foregoing the itemization and instead automatically collecting at least 80 percent of the policy limit. Without the itemized lists, some insurance companies will provide as little as 30 percent payoff.
• SB 833 – Emergency Alert Legislation passed the first Senate Committee Hearing with bipartisan support.
• SB 1453 – Illegal Conversions just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The bill would extend statute of limitation for illegal conversions of timberland from one year to three years in order to go after illegal cannabis operations. Additionally, this proposal would allow the cause of action to accrue upon discovery of the violation.
• SB 929 – Special Districts Transparency Act passed the Senate Governance & Finance Committee with bipartisan support.
o The bill will require every independent special district to create and consistently maintain a website with specific and detailed information including meeting agendas, clear information on the district’s budget and expenditures, compensation reports, information on how to contact representatives of the district and more.
• SB 1029 – the Great Redwood Trail Act Updates:
o Senator Mike McGuire’s bill that will create the Great Redwood Trail from the San Francisco Bay to the Humboldt Bay is one step closer to reality after it was approved with a unanimous, bipartisan 9-0 vote in the Senate Natural Resources and Water committee.
o The Great Redwood Trail will be a significant economic driver for the rural North Coast communities it would wind through. California outdoor recreation is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Golden State’s economy. It generates over $92 billion a year here in California, is responsible for nearly 700,000 jobs with over $30 billion in wages, and brings over $6 billion in tax revenues back to state and local communities. The trail will attract hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike to hike this spectacular landscape and inject needed funds into the small, rural economies that would neighbor the potential future trail.
o The North Coast Rail Authority will be dissolved through SB 1029, and the 300 mile long right-of-way will be segmented roughly at the halfway point. The Northern Segment – from Arcata to Willits – will be temporarily transferred to the state Department of Transportation, who is charged with beginning the “railbanking” process, cataloging property easements and advancing environmental work. The Great Redwood Trail Agency would then take over to start building the actual trail. The legislation supports freight where it is currently existing and supports rail around Humboldt Bay.
o While there are years of planning, community meetings and work ahead, the Great Redwood Trail is gaining momentum. SB 1029 will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in May.
• Senator McGuire’s advanced a critical state budget request to fund enhanced screening and counseling for opioid and meth addiction.
o Senator Mike McGuire is fighting to secure millions that would allow California to implement a successful enhanced drug screening program, which has been proven to help combat drug addiction in other states. The funding would be focused on screening of opioid and methamphetamine addiction when patients see their doctors.
o The funding will allow for all Medi-Cal patients to receive screening from their providers, which would ask them about any potential drug use. This results-driven practice is not currently deployed in California for the state’s more than 7 million Medi-Cal patients, 21 and older.
o If this funding is secured, when a patient goes to their doctor for a regular visit, they would receive a questionnaire asking if they use any opioid prescriptions or illicit drugs to help them sleep, relax, calm down, feel better, or lose weight. Their answers could lead to additional drug screening, counseling and substance abuse treatment.
o Senator McGuire has officially requested that the budget committee advance an allocation from the state’s General Fund to cover the costs of this data-driven screening program. This would include allocating $8.4 million ($2.58 million from the State General Fund/$5.82 million in matching dollars from the Federal Financial Participation).
o The screening dollars, if secured, would be invested with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to expand the Medi-Cal benefit for Alcohol Misuse, Screening and Counseling (AMSC) to include screening for overuse of opioids and other illicit drugs.
o Routine screenings for excessive alcohol use in California, followed by brief intervention or counseling and referral to treatment has helped countless Californians get the help they need to combat their addiction. The program, Screening Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT), has been in place in emergency rooms, public hospitals and federally qualified health centers across California for 15 years focused solely on alcohol. Now, Senator McGuire wants to take the same results driven process and apply it to opioid use and methamphetamine.
• The Senator spoke at a Middletown Area Town Hall in April discussing legislation updates and all things fire recovery.
• Senator McGuire & First 5 hosted a town hall on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Humboldt last Friday. The forum discussed community response and initiatives that have been launched to positively change the lives of some of Humboldt’s most vulnerable kids. Humboldt County has some of the highest rates of ACEs in California. The town hall featured presentations from community leaders on trauma informed care programs and community action teams, as well as an update from the county on reforms taking place following the Attorney General’s report on Humboldt County Child Welfare.
• Legislature’s Wine Committee held a hearing in April in Healdsburg to talk fire recovery, ag tourism, and water supply.
o Senators Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry united their respective Select Committees on Wine for a hearing in Sonoma County’s Wine Country to discuss wildfire recovery following the devastating North Bay Firestorm and receive a report on water supply issues.