March California Policy Update

We are pleased to provide our March 2022 California Policy Update. This issue includes updates on Governor Newsom’s State of the State Address, the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (currently being circulated for signatures for potential inclusion on the November 2022 Statewide ballot), and legislation by topic area that is currently going through the legislative process.

On March 8, Governor Gavin Newsom delivered his annual State of the State Address, going through a rundown of California’s successes and touting additional plans in furtherance of those accomplishments. Although distinct from his 2022-23 budget presentation, there was not much new information shared, and the speech felt akin to a pep talk or comparative analysis of California versus the nation with California coming out on top.

This update covers highlights from the Governor’s State of the State Address by topic.

Read the full California March Policy Update here.

Treasury Releases Final ARPA Rule Providing Clearer Rules & More Flexibility

Common top of mind initiatives for state and local governments often includes modernizing technology, streamlining operations, and improving services for citizens. Of course, each of these initiatives requires funds…which may have just arrived.

On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) released the Final Rule for the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). More than $245 billion has been distributed to governments since the ARPA was signed into law in March 2021.

This rule provides additional clarity to states and localities, including tribal and territorial governments, on what they can do with the substantial federal resources made available to them through the ARPA.

The ruling, effective April 1, 2022,
provides additional clarity
and flexibility on uses, including:
  • Capital expenditures.
  • Expanding public sector
    hiring and capacity.
  • Premium pay for essential works.
  • Broadening eligible broadband,
    water and sewer infrastructure.

Funds can be used to “address administrative needs caused or exacerbated by the pandemic, including addressing backlogs caused by shutdowns, increased repair or maintenance needs, and technology infrastructure to adapt government operations to the pandemic (e.g., video-conferencing software, data and case management systems.”

Additionally, the Treasury is also giving governments the option to put up to $10 million of their relief payments towards revenue losses, enabling them to spend the money on a broad range of general government expenses without jumping through administrative hoops outlined in an earlier version of the rule.

It’s important to remember that today’s citizens have the expectation for their governments to have modern and online services available to them. Avenu is helping 100s of local and state governments modernize their technology to web-based applications and use the Recovery Funds towards:

  • Digitizing Records to increase remote access to documents while safeguarding history
  • Simplifying the Tax & License Administration process (for all tax types) to increase compliance by providing citizens with a way to accurately pay their fees online
  • Automating jury selection and to streamline operations and improve the juror’s experience through Jury Administration
  • Providing instant access to records for Recorders, Clerks and Stakeholders through Records Management
  • IT Managed Solutions & Cybersecurity by utilizing program management options to secure high caliber talent that is up-to-date on the latest technologies

This is certainly a partial list of what can be accomplished with the funds but one that meets the challenges that so many jurisdictions across the country are facing.

The Final Rule will go into effect on April 1, 2022. However, state and local governments can choose to take advantage of the Final Rule’s new flexibilities and simplifications now, even ahead of the effective date.

Keep abreast regarding changes and updates to the Recovery Fund by signing up for official updates from the U.S. Treasurer.

January California Budget Update

Governor Gavin Newsom submitted his 2022-23 State Budget proposal to the Legislature on January 10, 2022 – a $286 billion spending plan that estimates a $45.7 billion surplus, of which $20.6 billion is discretionary, $16.1 billion is mandated by Proposition 98 for K-14 education, and $9 billion is set aside for reserve and supplemental pension payments. The State Appropriations Limit (Gann Limit) is likely to be exceeded in both 2020-21 and 202122 by a total of $2.6 billion, which will require additional funding to be directed to schools and taxpayer rebates. The administration will update the State Appropriations Limit numbers as part of the May Revision.

The January budget update contains a detailed review of the budget proposals for nearly a dozen items that are important to jurisdictions across California.

Read the full January Budget Update here.

December California Policy and Capitol Update

We are anticipating another busy legislative and budget year in 2022, with the Legislature reconvening to begin their work for 2022 on January 3rd. As the second year in a two-year session, legislation introduced in 2021 that has not yet moved to the second house must move forward in January or will die, with exceptions for measures requiring a ⅔ vote. This means that in January there will be a rush of policy and fiscal committee hearings in addition to the release of the governor’s 2022-23 budget proposal on or by January 10.

Read the full report for key January deadlines, budget updates, and key legislative proposals.

CA Legislative Update December 2021

September California Legislative Update

On September 10, 2021 at 9:00PM, the Senate and Assembly adjourned session for the year and are not scheduled to return to the Capitol until January 3, 2022. This end of session was far less exciting than in prior years, partially because of the 72-hour in print rule, and partially because some issues were punted to next year, including highspeed rail.

A high-profile proposal from Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) mandating employee vaccinations and requiring proof of vaccination in indoor public places such as restaurants and movie theaters was quickly introduced and shelved, and several controversial public safety measures were put off until 2022.

Below is a summary of key legislation moving through the California State Legislature

CA Legislative Update September 2021

How Monroe County Executed Its Paperless Initiative

Monroe County was established in 1821 and the amount of papers that was accumulating from the span of 200 years was exponential…leading the County to embark on the Paperless Initiative. Today we’re going to discuss what drove the county to venture towards this initiative and the steps they’re taking to achieve it.

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As the County Archivist, Kelly Smith , is responsible for managing the long-term storage and preservation of official records and ensuring that the public has access to them.

Together we discussed:

  • The situation storing 200 years worth of paper.
  • Top factors to consider when looking for a vendor to help go paperless.
  • Understanding state record retention rules
  • Workflow for digitizing a large collection of records
  • Changes in storing, and retrieving documents.

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

COVID Impact on Tourism Leads to Investment Opportunity

If you work in government in a tourism town, the pandemic was a nightmare come true.

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But what happens when the tourists don’t stop coming?

That’s exactly the situation Jess Knudson, a City Manager from Lake Havasu, AZ, found himself in last year. He joined the show to share how he tackled the issue.

We discuss:

  • The initial dropoff and later surge of tourism in Lake Havasu
  • How Jess helped navigate budgeting and allocating resources to tackle the problem
  • The challenge of navigating government financial support in the wake of the pandemic
This discussion with Jess Knudson was taken from our show Local Government Insights: Modernizing Government Leadership. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


If you don’t use Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you can find every episode here.

How Florence, Alabama Found Millions in Sales Tax Revenue

With just over 40,000 residents, Florence is Alabama’s 11th largest city. Home to the University of North Alabama, this vibrant and welcoming town also hosts the state’s most popular renaissance festival, held annually each October.

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Bob Leyde, beloved City Clerk for the City of Florence, Alabama, is a pillar of the local community as well as a talented and innovative administrator. He wisely utilized Avenu’s vast capabilities to generate up-to-the-minute analytics for more accurate projections of sales tax revenue during the COVID pandemic and increase the efficiency of his administration staff.
Here’s a sneak peek:
  • Detailed reporting helped Bob overcome budgeting challenges and increase compliance.
  • Accurate and real-time information about current business opportunities and revenue collection is crucial to his decision-making process.
  • Avenu streamlined the city’s tax administration with a laser-focused audit process.
  • Bob encourages leaders of cities of any size to see how Avenu’s technology can optimize operations and maximize revenue generation.

This discussion was taken from our show Local Government Insights. If you want to hear more episodes like this one, check us out on Apple, and all your other favorite podcast platforms. Take a moment listen on your favorite platform. We would appreciate your reviews and feedback as we continue to release upcoming episodes.

July California Legislative Update

In recent weeks, the state legislature has been working actively on their state budget proposals and to meet the statutory deadlines to move bills from their house of origin to the other house by the June 4th deadline. On May 19th, the Speaker Pro Tempore Toni Atkins announced that each legislator would be limited to sending 12 bills to the opposite house. Some bills may be excluded from this requirement if they are being proposed to be implemented immediately. Below is a summary of key legislation moving through the California State Legislature

Read the full July Legislative Update here.

July California Budget Update

The Administration and Legislature are nearing final agreement on the Budget Act of 2021. The Legislature sent SB 129 to the governor on June 29 amending the Budget Act of 2021 (AB 128). AB 128 contains the Legislature’s Budget which the governor signed; however, the bulk of the final budget agreement is contained in SB 129. This is the first time in ten years that the actual budget agreement was not signed on or by June 30.

Read the full July Budget Update here.