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AB-1252 Environmental Justice Small Grant Program: advance payments.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/02/2019 09:00 PM
AB1252:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 02, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1252


Introduced by Assembly Member Robert Rivas
(Coauthor: Senator Durazo)

February 21, 2019


An act to amend Section 71116 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental protection.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1252, as amended, Robert Rivas. Environmental Justice Small Grant Program: advance payments.
Existing law establishes the Environmental Justice Small Grant Program and authorizes the California Environmental Protection Agency to award grants to eligible community groups, including a nonprofit entity, as defined, and a federally recognized tribal government, located in areas adversely affected by environmental pollution and hazards that work to address environmental justice issues.
This bill would additionally authorize the agency to award grants to a nonfederally recognized California Native American tribe, as specified, located in an area adversely affected by environmental pollution and hazards that works to address environmental justice issues.

This

The bill also would authorize the agency to distribute advance payments payments, as specified, from a grant awarded under the program to a nonprofit entity or a federally recognized tribal government for projects providing service to or benefitting disadvantaged or low-income communities.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 71116 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

71116.
 (a) The Environmental Justice Small Grant Program is hereby established under the jurisdiction of the California Environmental Protection Agency. The California Environmental Protection Agency shall adopt regulations for the implementation of this section. These regulations shall include, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) Specific criteria and procedures for the implementation of the program.
(2) A requirement that each grant recipient submit a written report to the agency documenting its expenditures of the grant funds and the results of the funded project.
(3) Provisions promoting the equitable distribution of grant funds in a variety of areas throughout the state, with the goal of making grants available to organizations that will attempt to address environmental justice issues.
(b) The purpose of the program is to provide grants to eligible community groups, including, but not limited to, community-based, grassroots nonprofit organizations organizations, that are located in areas adversely affected by environmental pollution and hazards and that are involved in work to address environmental justice issues.
(c) (1) Both All of the following are eligible to receive moneys from the program:
(A) A nonprofit entity.
(B) A federally recognized tribal government.
(C) A nonfederally recognized California Native American tribe listed on the California Tribal Consultation List maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission.
(2) For purposes of this section, “nonprofit entity” means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization that meets all of the following criteria:
(A) Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or other similar purposes in the public interest.
(B) Is not organized primarily for profit.
(C) Uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand, or any combination thereof, its operations.
(D) Is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code or is able to provide evidence to the agency that the state recognizes the organization as a nonprofit entity.
(3) For purposes of this section, “nonprofit entity” specifically excludes an organization that is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(4) of the federal Internal Revenue Code.
(d) Individuals shall not receive grant moneys from the program.
(e) Grant recipients shall use the grant award to fund only the project described in the recipient’s application. Recipients shall not use the grant funding to shift moneys from existing or proposed projects to activities for which grant funding is prohibited under subdivision (g).
(f) Grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that are based in communities with the most significant exposure to pollution. Grants shall be limited to any of the following purposes and no other purposes:
(1) Resolve environmental problems through the distribution of information.
(2) Identify improvements in communication and coordination among agencies and stakeholders in order to address the most significant exposure to pollution.
(3) Expand the understanding of a community about the environmental issues that affect their community.
(4) Develop guidance on the relative significance of various environmental risks.
(5) Promote community involvement in the decisionmaking process that affects the environment of the community.
(6) Present environmental data for the purposes of enhancing community understanding of environmental information systems and environmental information.
(g) (1) The California Environmental Protection Agency shall not award grants for, and grant funding shall not be used for, any of the following:
(A) Other state grant programs.
(B) Lobbying or advocacy activities relating to any federal, state, regional, or local legislative, quasi-legislative, adjudicatory, or quasi-judicial proceeding involving the development or adoption of statutes, guidelines, rules, regulations, plans, or any other governmental proposal, or involving decisions concerning the siting, permitting, licensing, or any other governmental action.
(C) Litigation, administrative challenges, enforcement actions, or any type of adjudicatory proceeding.
(D) Funding of a lawsuit against any governmental entity.
(E) Funding of a lawsuit against a business or a project owned by a business.
(F) Matching state or federal funding.
(G) Performance of any technical assessment for the purposes of opposing or contradicting a technical assessment prepared by a public agency.
(2) An organization’s use of funds from a grant awarded under this section to educate a community regarding an environmental justice issue or a governmental process does not preclude that organization from subsequent lobbying or advocacy concerning that same issue or governmental process, as long as the lobbying or advocacy is not funded by a grant awarded under this section.
(h) The California Environmental Protection Agency shall review, evaluate, and select grant recipients and screen grant applications to ensure that they meet the requirements of this section.
(i) The maximum amount of a grant provided pursuant to this section may not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
(j) For purposes of this section, “environmental justice” has the same meaning as defined in Section 65040.12 of the Government Code.
(k) The Secretary for Environmental Protection may expend up to one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) per year for the purposes of this section.
(l) Boards, departments, and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency may allocate funds from various special funds, settlements, and penalties to implement this program.
(m) (1) The California Environmental Protection Agency may distribute advance payments from a grant awarded under this section to a nonprofit entity or federally recognized tribal government for projects providing service to or benefitting disadvantaged or low-income communities.
(2) The first advance payment may equal up to 50 percent of the total award and shall be spent within eight months of the date of receipt unless the California Environmental Protection Agency establishes a different requirement.
(3) The final advance payment may be disbursed before the completion of the project and shall be spent within eight months of the date of receipt unless the California Environmental Protection Agency establishes a different requirement.
(4) Recipients of an advance payment shall place the moneys in a noninterest-bearing account until the moneys are expended.
(5) The California Environmental Protection Agency may request an accountability report or impose any other requirements regarding the use of the advance payment to ensure the moneys are used properly.