California Institute LogoThe California Institute for Federal Policy Research
419 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
voice: 202-546-3700   fax: 202-546-2390 ransdell@calinst.org   http://www.calinst.org
California Capitol Hill Bulletin



Volume 7, Bulletin 33 -- October 19, 2000    [or see pdf version]

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:

Congress Passes Another CR to Carry Federal Funding Through Wednesday, October 25

Congress Passes VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations; Institute Analysis Available

Senate Passes Agriculture Appropriations; President Expected to Sign; California Institute Analysis Available on Website

House Passes Water Resources Development Act

Administration Further Eases Encryption Export Controls

House Passes Bill Naming Courthouse For Former Rep. George Brown

Diamond Lake Interpretive Center Bill Passes House

Senate Passes Radanovich Bill to Assist Hmong Veterans

Battles Continues Over BPA Power

Smart Growth Briefing

Report Calls For a Reassessment of State Response to the Integration of Immigrants

Crime Rate Declines in California and the Nation

Census City/Metro Population Estimates Last Before 2000 Data Release


To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic faxed bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill which directly impacts our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. The e-mail edition is made possible in part by in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and IBM Corp.

Congress Passes Another CR to Carry Federal Funding Through Wednesday, October 25

On the evening of Thursday, October 19, the House approved, 262-136, H.J.Res 114, a fourth continuing appropriations resolution to maintain funding for the federal government through midnight on Wednesday, October 25. The Senate also passed the measure. Federal agencies other than those funded by the three appropriations measures which have to date been enacted into law (defense, military construction, and interior) are temporarily operating at FY2000 funding levels until work on the FY2001 bills is complete.

 

Congress Passes VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations; Institute Analysis Available

On Thursday, October 19, the House passed the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2001 Veterans' Administration, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Independent Agencies by a vote of 386-24. The Senate also approved the bill on Thursday afternoon by an 85-8 margin. The report number is H. Rept. 106-988.

The $107.3 billion bill includes $30.5 billion in funding for HUD, an increase of $4.6 billion over FY00, and an additional $638 million for NASA, raising the total appropriations to $14.3 billion. Funding for the National Science Foundation is also increased under the bill by $529 million, for a total of $4.4 billion.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is funded at $2.2 billion for disaster relief, of which $1.3 billion are emergency funds. The conference report also includes the following language on disaster insurance for public and non-profit buildings:

The conferees are not in agreement with regard to the issue of insurance requirements for public and non-profit buildings. While the goal of reducing Federal costs associated with natural disasters is shared by the conferees, there is not agreement on the best way to achieve that goal. The House continues to believe that FEMA must ensure that the concerns of all interested parties are taken into consideration and that a detailed cost-benefit analysis must be completed prior to finalizing any rule in this regard. The Senate continues to believe that all relevant information is in hand and that a final rule should be promulgated expeditiously. The conferees acknowledge their inability to resolve this issue and urge the Congress to address this issue as part of a comprehensive legislative package.

This language comports with the decision reached by Congress in the Disaster Mitigation Act (H.R.707/S.1691) not to include language requiring FEMA to change the rules regarding public assistance insurance. The absence of language in the Disaster Mitigation Act was a great victory for California public interests, including state and local governments, hospitals, elementary and secondary schools, and higher education institutions. See, Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 31 (10/05/00).

The bill also includes the amended text of FY01 Energy and Water Appropriations, which had been vetoed earlier by the President. The conferees dropped controversial provisions relating to the Missouri River in order to ensure that the bill would be signed.

A detailed analysis of the California-related matters in the VA-HUD bill is available on the California Institute website at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/vahapp01.htm . It is also available in Adobe Acrobat ("pdf") form on the website at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/vahapp01.pdf .

 

Senate Passes Agriculture Appropriations; President Expected to Sign; California Institute Analysis Available on Website

The Senate, on Wednesday, October 18, passed the conference report for the FY01 Agriculture Appropriations (H.Rpt. 106-948) by a vote of 86-8. The House passed the bill (340-75) on October 11 (see, Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 32 (10/11/00)), and the President is expected to sign it. The $78.1 billion measure includes $3.6 billion in emergency assistance. At least $22 million of that has been earmarked for California to compensate growers for the Mexican fruit fly quarantine, the citrus freeze, and the failure of the Tri-Valley Growers Cooperative.

The bill also includes language that will allow U.S.-made prescription drugs to be reimported into the United States by wholesalers and pharmacies. The bill would require reimporters to meet quality standards for shipment and storage and impose Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight on testing and record-keeping. The provisions would not go into effect until FDA has promulgated final rules and would sunset five years thereafter.

Sanctions on the export of food and medicine to Cuba are also eased under the legislation. However, U.S. banks and government institutions would be prevented from financing the exports.

A detailed analysis of the California-related matters in the agriculture appropriations bill is available on our website at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/agapp01.htm . It is also available in Adobe Acrobat ("pdf") form on the website at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/agapp01.pdf .

 

House Passes Water Resources Development Act

By a vote of 394-14, the House passed S. 2796 on Thursday, October 19, to reauthorize numerous water resources projects and programs. The bill, among other things, authorizes $25 million to clean up a polluted aquifer in the San Gabriel basin. The project has been championed by Rep. David Dreier (San Dimas), who had introduced a separate bill on the issue, H.R. 910. The appropriations for the project have already been included in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. Under the bill $9.65 million in non-federal funds will be available for the Whitewater River Basin Flood Damage Reduction project.

The bill authorizes several studies affecting California waterways, including: flood control in Cache Creek Basin, California; the storm drainage system of the city of Woodland, California, flood control measures in the Estudillo Canal watershed, San Leandro, California, and the Laguna Creek watershed, Fremont, California, to provide a 100-year level of flood protection.

Another study is authorized to examine plans to mitigate for the erosion and other impacts caused by the construction of Camp Pendleton Harbor, Oceanside, as a wartime measure; and to restore beach conditions along the affected public and private shores to the conditions that existed before that harbor construction. A watershed study for the San Jacinto watershed is also authorized.

The Senate passed its bill in September by a vote of 85-1. Conference resolution on disagreements between the two versions is hoped to be completed before Congress adjourns.

 

Administration Further Eases Encryption Export Controls

The Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) of the Department of Commerce announced new changes to its encryption export control regulations on Thursday, October 19. The major change will allow U.S. exporters to export and reexport all encryption items, except cryptanalytic products and their related technology, immediately to the 15 EU member states and Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and Switzerland without a license (i.e., under a license exception). Exports to worldwide offices of firms, organizations and governments headquartered in these nations and Canada are also permitted. U.S. exporters can ship their products under this new policy immediately after submitting a commodity classification request to BXA, rather than waiting for the review and classification to be completed.

A detailed summary of the rule changes, as well as the full text of the regulation, can be obtained at BXA's website at: http://www.bxa.doc.gov/Encryption .

 

House Passes Bill Naming Courthouse For Former Rep. George Brown

On Tuesday, October 17, the House passed H.R. 5110 under suspension of the rules without objection. It designates the U.S. Courthouse located at 3470 12th Street in Riverside the "George E. Brown, Jr. United States Courthouse, in honor of the late former Chair of the California Democratic Congressional delegation. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona) and co-sponsored by Reps. Jerry Lewis (Redlands), Ron Packard (Oceanside), Mary Bono (Palm Springs), Joe Baca (Rialto), and Gary Miller (Diamond Bar). In applauding passage of the bill, Rep. Calvert stated: "In the House of Representatives, George served 18 terms as an unselfish public servant - he was the longest serving member of the House or Senate in the history of California." Rep. Brown died on July 15, 1999.

 

Diamond Lake Interpretive Center Bill Passes House

The House passed under suspension of the rules, H.R. 4187 on Tuesday, October 17. The bill authorizes federal cost-sharing dollars to establish an interpretive center and museum at Diamond Valley Lake to protect and interpret the paleontology discoveries made at the lake. Under the bill, the U.S. Department of the Interior will work in conjunction with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the University of California, Riverside on the project. A trail system around the lake will also be developed. The bill permits a federal commitment of $14 million, or 25 percent, of the project's total estimated cost. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona).

 

Senate Passes Radanovich Bill to Assist Hmong Veterans

On Thursday, October 19, the Senate cleared HR 5234, the Hmong Veterans' Naturalization Act of 2000, which would expand a program to assist Hmong veterans who fought alongside American soldiers during the Vietnam War. The existing program provides translators for use by Hmong veterans and their spouses during U.S. citizenship tests. The measure would expand the program to offer assistance to widows of Hmong veterans. The bill, sponsored by Rep. George Radanovich and cosponsored by a bipartisan cross-section of California members, passed the House of Representatives in September. California is home to a significant concentration of Hmong immigrants and their families.

 

Battles Continues Over BPA Power

Last week's Bulletin (Vol. 7, No. 32) noted Rep. George Miller (Vallejo) and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were asking that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) be prevented from signing electric contracts in the Pacific Northwest that exclude California customers, tracking with Northeastern state representatives who have asked GAO to investigate BPA's profiteering sales into the tight California market. This week, controversies continued, with BPA responding by emphasizing their linkages with the Pacific Northwest, Northwestern states Representatives circulating a letter expressing their opposition to any changes, and the governor of Washington state objecting to California's "taking Northwest power."

On Tuesday, October 16, Rep. Bob Franks (NJ) wrote to House colleagues urging reform of BPA, noting that the GAO has stated, "Congress has the option of requiring the PMAs to sell their power at market rates. This would better ensure the full recovery of the appropriated and other debt of about $22 billion through the PMAs' power sales. This would also lead to more efficient management of the taxpayers' assets." Franks comments in his letter, "Rather than accept GAO's recommendation, BPA and its beneficiaries want to perpetuate their multi-billion-dollar benefit. Specifically, they want certain Northwest utilities and aluminum companies to obtain federal power at well below market rates, and even below the government's cost - for a very appealing 2 cents/kilowatt-hour. At the same time, they want BPA to be able to profit enormously by selling into the California market at some 22 cents/kWh. Yet they don't want U.S. taxpayers, who built the dams and transmission lines, to see any of these profits; the benefits, they argue, should flow only to preference utility and aluminum customers in the Northwest so they can continue to enjoy cheap electricity." Paraphrasing Rep. Brian Bilbray (San Diego), Franks poses the question that "if it's okay for BPA to sell federal power 'at cost' in the Northwest, why shouldn't it sell that same power 'at cost' in California or other states?"

Responding to the California Congressional letter, BPA suggested that any delay in their contracts could threaten the utility's repayments to the Treasury. Critics counter, however, that the agency's true motivation is to lock in the power subsidy for the Northwest for another 5-10 years before Congress can step in. BPA spokeman Ed Mosey, commenting on the California lawmakers' suggestion, last week reportedly stated, "The [Northwest] region really needs to come together in support of federal power benefits because this is only going to get rougher over the next year. Regional preference should not be taken for granted. It's time for us to get sober and quit fighting [among ourselves], get our contracts signed, and our rates in place." See Bulletin, Vol 7, No. 32 (10/12/00) and No. 31 (10/5/00).

 

Smart Growth Briefing

The Senate Smart Growth Task Force, the House Livable Communities Task Force and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosted a briefing on Tuesday, October 17 on the public demand for solutions to sprawl. The briefing consisted of speakers representing Smart Growth America, a national coalition of organizations concerned about sprawl.

The speakers included: Mr. Don Chen, Director of Smart Growth America; Mr. Ralph Grossi, President of American Farmland Trust; Ms. Meg Maguire, President of Scenic America; Ms. Jacky Grimshaw, Transportation and Air Quality Coordinator at the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Ms. Kristin Siglin, Vice President of The Enterprise Foundation. Each speaker discussed their respective organization and its efforts toward the goal of smart growth. The discussion also focused on a recently released report and poll from Smart Growth of America entitled Americans Want Smarter Growth: Here's How to Get There.

The report outlines the attitudes of Americans toward growth and change, based on a September 2000 poll. The poll results indicate Americans support the following: increased coordinated efforts among towns to plan for growth; establishing zones for green space, farming and forests outside existing cities and suburbs that would be off limits to developers; having governments provide tax credits and low-interest loans for people to revitalize cities, suburbs and rural communities; having state governments give priority to maintaining services, such as school and roads, in existing communities rather than encouraging new development in the countryside.

The report also outlines the goals of smart growth policies, provides examples of how smart growth is working in America and outlines specific state and federal actions needed to achieve smart growth goals. The report and the poll data may be viewed at http://www.smartgrowthamerica.com .

Report Calls For a Reassessment of State Response to the Integration of Immigrants

A recently released report by the California Policy Research Center at the University of California examines the state's integration of immigrants into mainstream society. The report, authored by Manuel García y Griego and Philip Martin, is entitled Immigration and Immigrant Integration in California: Seeking a New Consensus.

The report states that "46 % of Californians are either immigrants or native-born residents with at least one foreign-born parent. Over half of our children have at least one immigrant parent. One-third of all U.S. immigrants live in California, and since 1990 immigration has accounted for a third of the state's annual population growth. No longer is any one group a majority of the state's population." The authors recommend adopting several new proposals, including "explicit and fair state policies based on long-term benefits; developing new initiatives related to the economy, health care, and programs to improve English literacy for adults and children; and seeking a new state-federal partnership that would allow for more state input into federal immigration policy and provide more funding for immigrant impact assistance."

A summary of the report and information on purchasing a copy can be obtained through the Center's website at: http://www.ucop.edu/cprc .

 

Crime Rate Declines in California and the Nation

According to a recently released report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the crime rate, including both property and violent crime declined, both nationally and in the state of California. The report, entitled Crime in the United States 1999, provides statistics collected and tabulated through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program and indicates the crime rate dropped nationally by 7.6% from 1998 to 1999.

While the crime rate has declined significantly in the nation, California has experienced an even greater decline at 12.4% between 1998 and 1999. In 1998, California experienced 4,342.8 crimes per 100,000 residents compared to 3,805 per 100,000 in 1999. Between 1998 and 1999, the actual number of crimes reported dropped by 11.1% in California, from 1,418,674 to 1,261,164. The number of violent crimes dropped 9.6% and the number of property crimes dropped 11.4%. The report also indicates that several of the metropolitan areas in California have crimes rates below the national rate of 4,266.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The report which includes statistics tabulated for the nation, each region, each state, and metropolitan areas within each state can be viewed in its entirety at the FBI website: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr.htm .

 

Census City/Metro Population Estimates Last Before 2000 Data Release

On Friday, October 20, the Census Bureau is expected to release 1999 population figures for the nation's cities and metro areas. The figures show continued growth in California's population. However, there is a considerable difference of opinion regarding the accuracy of these data -- the California State Census Data Center at the state's Department of Finance in Sacramento also tracks population figures, and its estimates of the state's population tend to be significantly higher.

It is important to note that these figures represent the final estimates which are still based on the 1990 census and not the new 2000 census; corresponding data from the actual 2000 decennial census counts are scheduled for release at the end of this year.

For metropolitan area population figures from the Census Bureau, see

http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metropop.html or for city-by-city figures, go to http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/citypop.html .

For your convenience, the California Institute has broken out a 6-page listing of the populations of 342 California cities and towns with more than 10,000 residents. The list is available on the Institute's website at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/city0799.htm or in Adobe Acrobat ("pdf") at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/city0799.pdf .

 

Click here to return to the California Institute home page.  Or click here to e-mail.