May Update:
Advocacy & Government Affairs

Stacy Corless

Stacy Corless

Government & Community Affairs Director

Our Government Affairs team has been closely monitoring how developments in Sacramento will impact the Sierra Nevada. We’ve also been representing SBC and the Sierra region at various events in Sacramento and beyond this spring. Read on to learn more.  

State Budget 

Earlier this month, Governor Newsom released his May revision to the January 2023 budget proposal. The budget shortfall that was estimated at $22.5 billion at the start of the year has grown to $31.5, as was projected by the Department of Finance’s predicted trends in revenue growth and collections. In responding to the growing revenue deficit, Governor Newsom’s plan looks at several ways to close the gap, including: 

  • $7.5 Billion in Fund Shifts from General Fund to Other Sources (such as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund)
  • $6.7 Billion in Spending Reductions
  • $8.1 Billion in Spending Delays
  • $4.9 Billion in Borrowing
  • $3.9 Billion in Trigger Reductions (Materializes if revenues continue to slide throughout the FY).
  • $450 Million Reserve Withdrawal (Reserves exceed $23 billion)

As for climate and resources-related investments, Governor Newsom generally kept to the January 2023 proposal which reduced General Fund spending in this space from $54 billion to $48 billion. This reduction did impact many programs that SBC supports and much of our advocacy efforts have been focused on preventing further cuts. 

Governor Newsom reiterated his January pronouncement to work with the legislature on a climate/resources bond, and his revised budget calls for a $1.1 billion dollar shift from the General Fund to future bond expenditures.

The Governor’s “May Revise” is laced with a cautionary tone that underscores the fragile nature of the state and national economies and while a recession is not anticipated, recessionary trends may persist. The state budget scenario could worsen as the year goes on. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the governor’s revenue projections are overly optimistic and puts income from the state’s three largest taxes at another $11 billion lower. 

There are a few weeks before the constitutional deadline for the legislature to pass a balanced budget bill on June 15. The governor has already rejected a proposal from the state senate for a tax increase to boost revenue. 

Sierra Business Council's Government Affairs team in front of the California State Capitol.
Sierra Business Council's Government Affairs team in front of the California State Capitol.

Bond Measure Development and Support

Two climate and natural resources bond proposal bills, AB 1567 and SB 867, are working their way through the legislative process. Both bills propose approximately $15 billion for a general obligation bond to fund wildfire and climate resilience, land, water and wildlife conservation, nature-based solutions/30×30 implementation, drought, flood and extreme heat response, park creation, outdoor access and recreation, and more. The Newsom administration has not released a framework for a climate bond proposal and is expected to work with the legislature to craft and pass legislation to place the bond on the ballot in 2024, most likely November.

Through Sierra Consortium lobbyist Doug Houston, and Californians for Water, Natural Resources and Parks, and other coalitions and connections, SBC has been deeply engaged in bond discussions and is assuring that adequate resources are included for the Sierra Nevada.

As was the case with the successful Prop 68 in 2018, SBC will lead efforts in the region to support passage of the statewide bond measure in 2024.

Legislative Update

The legislative session started with significant turnover–approximately 30% of this session’s members are new legislators, including a new state senator for much of the Sierra, Marie Alvardo-Gil. Outreach and education are more important than ever this year, and SBC has engaged in a robust schedule of advocacy, awareness and relationship building. Steve and Stacy started the year off with a series of meetings in Sacramento to discuss the budget, bond proposals and generally to introduce SBC and our priorities to legislators and committee staff. Efforts continued monthly (and more), even in white-out conditions and circuitous routes to the state capitol. 

SBC is closely monitoring legislation as many bills look to move beyond a major hurdle in their house of origin this week. Bill issues include prevailing wage in the forestry sector; biomass infrastructure; block grant funding for wildfire resilience; 30×30 goals; and trails funding.  

Sacramento and Regional Events organized/attended by SBC

  • March 1: Sierra Nevada Conservancy Watershed Improvement Program Summit
    SBC hosted a reception after the WIP Summit in Sacramento at the Stanford Mansion. The event was well attended by state leaders, legislative staff and partner organizations (even though most SBC staff were unable to attend due to a winter storm closure on I-80…have we mentioned how tough it was to get to Sacramento this winter!?). 
  • March 15: Sierra Consortium Lobby Day
    SBC organized and led the Consortium’s lobby day in Sacramento (and via Zoom, given extreme winter weather travel challenges). Meetings included discussion of AB 1567/climate bond with Asm. Garcia’s staff, senate and assembly natural resources committee staff, Senator and Assemblymember Dahle, Wildlife Conservation Board Interim Director Rebecca Fris, Dept of Conservation Deputy Director Keali’i Bright, and staff from the offices of Sen. McGuire and Assemblymember Connolly. 
  • April 18-19: Sierra Day at the Capitol and Power in Nature Protect California Events
    Some 50 participants came to Sacramento for a day of advocacy and education last month when SBC, Sierra Nevada Alliance, The Sierra Fund and League to Save Lake Tahoe partnered on the first Sierra Day event since 2019. We coordinated Sierra Day with Power in Nature, a statewide coalition supporting 30×30, that held events on April 18. Participants teamed up for 20 legislative meetings, after an educational morning briefing including CNRA Deputy Secretary Jessica Morse, Department of Conservation Director David Shabazian, Sierra Nevada Conservancy Officer Angela Avery, Tahoe Conservancy Director Jason Vasques and Marie Liu, Senior Consultant to Assembly Speaker Rendon. 
  • April 27: Sierra Nevada 30×30 Meeting with California Natural Resources Agency leadership in Truckee and Quincy
    Sierra Nevada Alliance and Outdoor Alliance invited SBC to co-host a community meeting with CNRA Secretary Wade Crowfoot and Deputy Secretaries Katherine Toy and Jennifer Norris to discuss 30×30 implementation in the region. It was a productive discussion about how we can advance our conservation and resilience priorities in the region and about what the state can do to better support its on-the-ground partners. 
    From Truckee, SBC traveled north to Quincy with Outdoor Alliance and the CNRA leadership team to learn from the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship about their innovative Connected Communities trail program. 
  • May 9: California Outdoor Recreation Partnership Sacramento Summit
    Stacy attended the CORP event and had meetings and conversations with Asm Steve Bennett (who chairs an important budget committee), Asm. Megan Dahle, State Parks Director Armando Quintero, and staff from the offices of Senator Angelique Ashby and Assemblymembers Lori Wilson and Wendy Carrillo.
Sierra Day at the Capitol Attendees in front of the new CNRA building.
Sierra Day at the Capitol Attendees in front of the new CNRA building.

Government Affairs Coalition and Partnership Activities

Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force

SBC continues to actively support and engage in the work of the state’s wildfire task force. Steve is co-chairing the task force’s wood utilization work group and Stacy is assisting with the task force’s workforce development work group. Steve participated in a portion of the recent convening of the task force in Santa Cruz, along with some 400 state leaders and regional stakeholders. The Wood Utilization workgroup (which SBC co-chairs) recommendations are nearing completion. View details of the meeting at 

In March, Stacy testified in support of the task force’s work at a Senate Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on wildfire funding. 

Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California Tahoe Conservancy

The GA team meets regularly with Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Tahoe Conservancy staff to exchange information, provide feedback on conservancy programs and to assure that SBC’s advocacy aligns with the conservancies’ goals. One major initiative of SNC that SBC actively supports is the Landscape Investment Strategy that aligns multiple state funding sources in one grant program. 

Mountain Housing Council

SBC (Steve) continues to lead a state policy working group focused on advancing the goals of the Mountain Housing Council. This working group convenes a unique array of housing parties, including real estate, local governments, and community members. 

SBC convenes monthly Policy Working Group meetings and presents updates at quarterly Mountain Housing Council meetings. Advocacy efforts to maintain the Governor’s historic 2021-2022 $10.3 housing commitment and secure a similar commitment for 2022-2023 were mostly successful. 

SBC hosted a second MHC day in the capitol on March 16th with 2 teams of MHC members. Steve also testified in support of SB 440 (Skinner), a bill that would authorize creation of regional housing finance authorities, allowing local governments to create JPAs to fund community housing.

Resilient Forest Caucus

SBC continues to participate in this coalition of forest health and conservation stakeholders working on state and federal wildfire and forest health policy. 

Sierra Nevada conservation leaders meet with CNRA leadership in Truckee.
Sierra Nevada conservation leaders meet with CNRA leadership in Truckee.

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