County of San Mateo

2011 State Legislative Session Program

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors

Carole Groom, President

Vacant, District 1
Don Horsely, District 3

Rose Jacobs Gibson, District 4

Adrienne J. Tissier, District 5


January 2011



The mission of the San Mateo County Legislative Program is to sponsor legislative proposals and to influence the State budget process and legislation that relates to the people, places, prosperity and partnerships of our community. The 2011 State Legislative Session Program reflects San Mateo County’s commitment to our Shared Vision 2025.

The overarching goal of the San Mateo County Legislative Program is to identify legislation that could impact San Mateo County and to attempt to influence the outcome of such legislation. In this effort, the Legislative Committee with the support of County staff will assess the impact of legislation and refine and represent the Board’s positions on the range of proposals, priorities and policies found in this document. The goal of the Legislative Program also includes legislative ideas that originate from County staff and Board members. This document, the 2011 State Legislative Session Program, is intended to provide a basic policy framework in which San Mateo County can work toward this goal. Divided into two general categories (priorities, and policies), the program asserts some of the key issues and general positions for issues of concern to San Mateo County.

While this document attempts to cover the breadth and depth of legislative issues that may have an impact on San Mateo County, it is not comprehensive, complete or final. The Legislative Committee will review policy positions related to legislation and make recommendations to the full Board. All legislation, on which the County takes a position, will be tracked through the legislative process and reported on to the Board, the County Manager, Department Heads, and relevant County staff via the County’s monthly Legislative Activity Report. For issues of greatest concern, County staff or consultants will prepare position letters for relevant legislators and committees, deliver testimony at hearings, conduct other advocacy roles, and provide regular status reports to the Legislative Committee and the Board. Some issues may require heightened advocacy. As a result, Board members may be asked to testify or meet with relevant legislators. Members of the Legislative Committee and County staff will also conduct two annual visits to Sacramento to advocate on behalf of County interests. With the approval of the Director of Intergovernmental and Public Affairs and the Board President, staff will utilize the authority found in the 2011 Legislative Session Program in lieu of an official Board position to advocate on particular legislation or issues that conform to adopted policy positions.


This section highlights the most important 2011 Legislative Session issues that could significantly affect San Mateo County. While San Mateo County will not actively pursue legislation in the following areas, the following priorities will receive heightened scrutiny and may warrant significant involvement on the part of County staff or Board members. The County may request amendments that conform to the general goals and objectives of the below priorities to legislation in these priority areas.

A. State Budget—Protecting County Revenues and Operations

San Mateo County has had a long-standing policy relating to timely and full funding for State-mandated and partnership programs, increased flexibility and the elimination of programs not properly funded by State and/or Federal funds (2001-2002). The County generally supports the principle and related legislation that guarantees local governments including schools, cities, special districts and counties reliable, predictable and equitable funding. This support includes the proper allocation of existing tax revenues. The County supported the passage of Proposition 1A in November 2004. San Mateo County opposes State program reductions that have the effect of increasing reliance on county “safety net” services. In light of the ongoing State Budget crisis, the County’s highest priority in the 2009-2010 Legislative Session will be to protect funding for current safety net programs, to prevent further loss of local revenues, cost shifts to local governments, and reductions to County programs without a corresponding change in service responsibility.

Should timely and full funding for programs not be maintained with the current budget revenue and expenditure levels, the County would support increases in alcohol taxes as well as changes in the State government’s business practices that lead to greater economies and improved program outcomes.

Not mutually exclusive to increases in revenues, the County supports, in concept, the reduction in funding for various programs and activities only when the concomitant requirement to provide such programs and activities is relieved. The Board has not considered what specific programs would be acceptable for reductions in funding and expressly reserves its ability to take a position on this issue should (as) it arises during the next legislative session and any pertinent special sessions.

The County supports restoration of historic reductions in local government funding and increased flexibility in implementing and administering services. Providing local governments with greater flexibility to provide services to local communities ensures that services match local needs and greater efficiencies for limited resources. The County also supports the preservation and increase of funding for health and human services “realigned” to counties in the early 1990s. The County opposes any effort to alter the existing Realignment funding allocation formula if it will result in a reduction of funds to San Mateo County. It also opposes any changes to and/or the elimination of the transfer of revenues to cities and counties from the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF).

For programs, like trial courts, no longer operated by counties, the County supports the elimination of maintenance of effort requirements and equitable transition of responsibilities and facilities to the State.

B. Restructuring/Realignment

Given the severity of the State’s budget crisis, the County understands the need to restructure public safety, health and human service programs to local governments, which are better able to provide services more effectively and at less cost. However, the County strongly believes that it is critically important that any realigned programs be fully funded with a logical, dedicated, stable and ongoing revenue source. The transfer of program responsibility must be accompanied with a transfer of authority from the State for program design and delivery. For discretionary programs, the County believes it should have the maximum flexibility to manage the programs and design services for new populations transferred to county responsibility within the revenue base made available, including the flexibility to transfer funds between programs. For entitlement programs, the County believes it must have maximum flexibility over the design of service delivery and administration, to the extent allowable under federal law. There must also be a mechanism to protect against entitlement program costs consuming non-entitlement program funding. Federal maintenance of effort requirements, as well as federal penalties and sanctions, must remain the responsibility of the State.

C. VLF Funding for Public Safety

The County supports the continuation of the temporary increase in the Vehicle License Fee (VLF), which supports a number of local public safety programs formerly supported by the State General Fund. In San Mateo County, this funding supports a variety of prevention and early intervention programs for juvenile offenders, as well as important law enforcement services provided by the Sheriff’s Office. The County supports a permanent extension of the current VLF rate. It is important that the Legislature take action on the VLF extension early in 2011 so as to ensure continuity of funding to these programs before the expiration date of June 30, 2011.

D. Fostering Prevention and Healthy Communities

The County supports the development and sustainability of communities through changes in the social and physical environments that promote health. We support changes that maximize opportunities for every day physical activity, for improved nutrition, reduced violence, reduced access to alcohol and other drugs, increased social connections, and for smoke-free environments. To reduce health inequities driven by wealth disparity and a history of discrimination, the County supports stable incomes and housing, opportunities for wealth creation, educational attainment and economic development particularly in under resourced communities. In order to protect our natural resources for future generations, the County supports measures that protect and improve our air and water quality and mitigate land toxicity.

Specifically, the County supports systems that prioritize more active and sustainable transportation modes such as walking, biking and public transit; improving access to fruits and vegetables, especially locally-grown produce; reducing the availability of high calorie and low nutrient foods. The county also supports reducing access to tobacco and the abuse of alcohol, especially by youth; measures that reduce waste and pollution that threaten the quality of the environment around us.

E. Support Health Care Reform Efforts and Strengthen the Finances of Existing Programs

The County supports the creation and funding of health insurance to all San Mateo County residents regardless of their ability to pay. The historic passage of the federal Affordable Care Act and California’s action to achieve successful implementation and a “bridge to reform” under the State’s Medi-Cal 1115 Waiver open new opportunities for sustaining and improving access to health care for low-income and vulnerable San Mateo County populations. Successful implementation of health reform must support adequate medical, dental, and behavioral health care and community-based supportive services capacity for the covered population. Given the prominent role of key safety net providers in serving the Medi-Cal population, it is critical for these providers to remain financially sustainable to serve an expanded Medi-Cal and subsidized population and to serve those not included in the federal reform law’s provisions.

The County supports the continuation of our highly successful universal health insurance coverage of children, regardless of documentation status, which will require continued investment at the local level to sustain coverage for undocumented children. The County will seek opportunities to maximize leverage of Federal and State resources available for the functions that support administration of universal health coverage by local health departments, health plans, provider systems, community-based organizations and others.

The County supports the provision of more intensive services to families with minor children, including home visiting and other case management services, particularly those who are at risk of needing higher levels of service. The County also supports the provision of long-term care for elderly and disabled residents in the least restrictive setting possible. Finally, the County supports State efforts to adequately fund existing public health programs.

F. Use of County-specific Cost of Doing Business in State Funding Allocations

While the cost of doing business varies widely by county, most State allocations of funding to the counties do not account for such differences. The County supports adjustments to county human service fund allocations that account for the cost differences among California counties of providing services.

The State must fully fund social service programs to eliminate the Human Services Funding Deficit. Counties provide essential services to low-income residents, including Child Welfare Services, Food Stamp Administration, In-Home Supportive Services Administration, and Adult Protective Services. Yet Counties are not fully compensated by the State for the costs of these services. Funding for these services is frozen at 2001 cost levels. The prolonged funding shortfall has resulted in service reductions that have negatively impacted clients. State funding for mandated programs to Counties must be aligned with programs and priorities.

I. Mandate Reimbursement—Improvements to the SB 90 Claims Process

Senate Bill 90 (Statutes of 1972, Chapter 1406) outlines the State’s requirements to reimburse local government for the cost of certain mandated services. However, the process is a complicated and lengthy one, resulting in years of delay for payments to local governments. Furthermore, counties (in many cases) are still required to provide the service even without receiving reimbursement. In recent years, suspending mandate reimbursement has become a common practice by the State as a cost shifting measure to locals. The County supports improvements to the mandate reimbursement process that simplify the claiming requirements, expedite the process, and provide sufficient reimbursement to counties. The County also opposes the practice of mandate suspension as a State budget solution. Local governments should be provided the opportunity to comment on proposals to suspend mandates and then be provided adequate time to end program services.


This section describes San Mateo County’s standing policy positions. While the policies are broken down into five general categories (Administration and Finance, Human Services, Health Services and Hospitals, Public Safety and Justice, and Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation many of the policies bridge more than one category. Every effort has been made to properly place each of the policies.

A. Administration and Finance

B. Human Services

The County supports:

C. Child Support

D. Promoting Health and Providing Health Care Services

E. Public Safety and Justice

The County supports:

F. Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation

The County supports: