A bill making its way through the Legislature reclassifying tree removal projects as public works projects and requiring prevailing wage was amended last week, significantly narrowing the scope of the measure, and effectively excluding tree mortality and wildfire prevention projects. Following weeks of discussion between the author and various stakeholders, including RCRC, Assembly Bill 1066 by Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) was amended to limit the scope to tree removal activities done in conjunction with existing public works projects.
Chief among the concerns was that the bill would drive up costs for counties currently aiding low-income residents with removal of dead and dying trees from their property using state grant and disaster assistance funding – funds which are already at a premium.
The author amended the bill to specifically address concerns with out-of-state tree removal companies taking work from local contractors in areas where tree removal is necessary as part of a demolition or construction project, as was the case in the wake of the 2015 Valley Fire in Lake County. The bill is set for hearing on July 12, 2017 in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.