Today's Law As Amended

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AB-11 Climate change: regional climate change authorities.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California communities are already experiencing the harmful effects of climate change, such as increased air pollution, increasing sea level rise, coastal degradation, extreme drought, extreme heat, extreme weather events, flooding, and wildfires, which threaten public health and safety, economic stability, and the resources and ecosystem services that Californians rely upon.
(b) Due to the scale of climate change, landscape-level interventions and effective regional coordination across jurisdictional boundaries, sectors, and disciplines are critical and necessary to safeguard California communities from the worsening impacts of climate change.
(c) The rapidly evolving and uncertain nature of climate change, as well as limited resources and local government staff capacity to advance climate change adaptation and mitigation, requires ongoing efforts and mechanisms for education, best practice sharing, research, coordination, and technical assistance to support the identification and implementation of adaptation and mitigation plans and projects.
(d) Regional adaptation collaboratives have already formed across the state, including collaboratives participating in the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, to bring local governments and stakeholders together to share information, coordinate climate adaptation activities in their regions, and to share best practices and coordinate with other regions due to varying priorities for each region of the state.
(e) The state can play an important role in helping local governments address the current and future impacts of climate change by leveraging existing regional adaptation collaboratives to establish regional climate change authorities that will align, support, and accelerate local and regional efforts to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

SEC. 2.

 Part 3.6.5 (commencing with Section 71140) is added to Division 34 of the Public Resources Code, to read:

PART 3.6.5. Regional Climate Change Authorities

 For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Council” means the Strategic Growth Council.
(b) “Local agency” means a county, city whether general law or chartered, city and county, town, school district, municipal corporation, district, political subdivision, or any board, commission, or agency of those entities, or other local public agency.
(c) “Stakeholder” includes, but is not limited to, community-based organizations, nonprofits, foundations, research institutions, hospitals, professional associations, and businesses.
 (a) By January 1, 2023, the council shall establish up to 12 regional climate change authorities that will coordinate climate adaptation and mitigation activities in their regions and coordinate with other regional climate adaptation authorities, state agencies, and other relevant stakeholders. In establishing regional climate change authorities, the council shall do all of the following activities:
(1) Adopt guidelines that define regional climate change authorities. The guidelines shall account for differences in regional needs and priorities, ensure applicability and relevance to all regions throughout California, including underresourced communities, and provide guidance to stakeholders for determining the structure of the regional climate change authority in their region.
(2) Include in the guidelines a stakeholder-driven process for establishing regional climate change authorities in regions that are not currently served by regional adaptation collaboratives, networks, and programs.
(3) Post the guidelines developed pursuant to this section on the council’s internet website and solicit public comment for at least 60 days.
(4) In establishing regional climate change authorities, the council shall give priority to existing regional adaptation collaboratives, networks, and programs, where possible.
(5) Consult with the Office of Planning and Research and other relevant state agencies in developing the guidelines pursuant to this section.
(b) Upon the establishment of the regional climate change authorities, the council shall award annual grants as moneys are appropriated by the Legislature to the council for the purposes of this part where each authority receives a minimum of 5 percent of total available funds each year.
(c) A regional climate change authority, in cooperation with local agencies and regional stakeholders that elect to participate, may perform coordination, capacity-building, and technical assistance activities within their boundaries, to promote regional alignment and to assist local agencies in creating and implementing plans developed pursuant to Section 65302 of the Government Code, other federal or state mandates, and programs designed to address climate change impacts and risks.
(d) A regional climate change authority may engage in activities to address climate change that include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
(1) Supporting the development of and updates to regional adaptation and mitigation plans, strategies, and programs, including performing qualitative and quantitative research, compiling and hosting relevant data and resources, developing tools, and providing technical assistance.
(2) Supporting the implementation of regional adaptation and mitigation plans, strategies, and programs, including evaluating funding and financing mechanisms, monitoring and evaluating progress, and providing technical assistance.
(3) Facilitating the exchange of adaptation and mitigation best practices, policies, projects, and strategies among participating local agencies and stakeholders.
(4) Conducting activities to support ongoing coordination and capacity building among participating local agencies and stakeholders, including convening working groups, organizing training opportunities, and creating mechanisms for collaboration.
(5) Conducting educational activities for local agencies, decisionmakers, key stakeholders, and the general public to increase their understanding of climate change risks and adaptation and mitigation solutions.
(6) Administering grants to local agencies and eligible stakeholders.
(e) Regional climate change authorities have, and may exercise, all powers, expressed or implied, that are necessary to carry out the intent and purposes of this part, including, but not limited to, the power to do all of the following:
(1) Apply for and receive grants from federal and state agencies.
(2) Enter into and perform all necessary contracts.
(3) Enter into joint power agreements pursuant to the Joint Exercise of Powers Act (Chapter 5 (commending with Section 6500) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(4) Hire staff, define their qualifications and duties, and provide a schedule of compensation for the performance of their duties.
(f) A regional climate change authority may establish distinct governance procedures and policies that acknowledge regional conditions and accommodate regional needs to administer activities pursuant to this section. Governance procedures and policies shall include processes for local elected officials and community-based organizations to participate.
(g) Regional climate change authorities shall submit to the council an annual report that includes, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) The participating local agencies and stakeholders of the regional climate change authority.
(2) An outline of all activities conducted and the outcome of each activity.
(3) Meetings and actions taken by the regional climate change authority.
(4) An accounting of the administration of and expenditures made by the regional climate change authority.
(5) Recommendations to state agencies on opportunities to support regional climate adaptation and mitigation planning, investment, and implementation.
(h) A regional climate change authority shall adopt rules for its proceedings consistent with law.