The California-Mexico border region has long-standing interconnection and interdependence. In order to enhance collaboration, legislation enacted in 1982 established the Office of California-Mexico Affairs within the California Technology, Trade, and Commerce Agency. However, Assembly Bill 1757 (Committee on Budget, Statutes of 2003) ended the agency in 2003, and the duties of the agency were reassigned to other state entities. In 2004, the California Research Bureau released a report that listed more than 100 California-Mexico programs operating across state agencies, with no organizing entity to coordinate interagency cooperation. Thus, in 2006, Assembly Bill 3021 (Núñez, Statutes of 2006) was enacted. It created the California-Mexico Border Relations Council, which serves as the central organizing body that coordinates cross-border programs, initiatives, projects and partnerships. The Secretary for Environmental Protection serves as the Chair of the California-Mexico Border Relations Council.
The California-Mexico Border Relations Council is mandated to:
- Coordinate activities of state agencies that are related to cross-border programs, initiatives, projects, and partnerships that exist within state government, to improve the effectiveness of state and local efforts that are of concern between California and Mexico.
- Invite representatives of the State of Baja California and the Mexican government to participate in meetings.
- Establish policies to coordinate the collection and sharing of data related to cross-border issues among agencies.
- Establish the Border Region Solid Waste Working Group to develop and coordinate long-term solutions to address and remediate problems associated with waste tires, solid waste, and excessive sedimentation along the border that cause the degradation of valuable estuarine and riparian habitats, and threaten water quality and public health in the state.
- Identify and recommend to the Legislature changes in law needed to achieve the goals of Section 99523.
- Submit an Annual Report to the Legislature on the council’s activities.
The council is comprised of eight state secretaries or directors of: the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA); the California Health and Human Services Agency; the California Natural Resources Agency; the California State Transportation Agency; the California Department of Food and Agriculture; the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services; the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency; the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is an ex-officio member.