Priority Legislation to See Action in the Final Month of 2021 Legislative Session
CDA’s government affairs program is executing a final advocacy push on this year’s major legislative priorities, which focus on economic recovery and revitalization of downtowns. Below is an overview of some of the key priority bills for the California Downtown Association in the 2021 legislative session.
AB 61 (Gabriel, D-Los Angeles) – SUPPORT
As small restaurants across the state struggle to stay open, action is needed to help facilitate more outdoor dining and expanded take-out and delivery options. This bill would empower local jurisdictions and the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to provide much-needed regulatory flexibility to support struggling restaurants. This bill builds on initiatives restaurants and local governments took, at the outset of the pandemic, to expand critical outdoor dining spaces. These partnerships resulted in reinvented outdoor dining spaces and expansions in city after city, and streamlined requirements and approvals for outdoor dining on sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. Many local governments eased the process for restaurants to set up tents outside, to build parklets, and to increase the number of sidewalk tables. These local programs have been a tremendous success and have proven to be incredibly valuable for so many community restaurants throughout the state.
Bill is in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 314 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – SUPPORT
This bill will help the hospitality industry bounce back from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, enacting common sense reforms, restructuring outdated laws, and allowing businesses more opportunities to recover. This legislation will help California’s events, restaurants, and bars recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by creating more flexibility in how they can serve alcohol, including where they can serve alcohol, how they can share spaces with other businesses, and how frequently a catering permit can be used. The bill also implements a one-year grace period after the emergency order is lifted for businesses to continue expanded outdoor dining operations on their premises that locals have enjoyed throughout the pandemic.
Bill is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 389 (Dodd, D-Napa) – SUPPORT
The ability to include alcoholic drinks with to-go orders has been helpful for many restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the state opens up, there are still a large number of consumers who prefer to have their mixed drink delivered rather than having to gather in an enclosed space. SB 389 establishes the consumer delivery service permit which would require third party delivery companies that deliver alcoholic beverages to obtain a permit from the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) in order to deliver alcoholic beverages to consumers. This bill would allow the holder of a retail on-sale license or a licensed beer manufacturer, licensed wine manufacturer, or craft distiller that operates a bona fide public eating place to sell alcoholic beverages for off-sale consumption for which their license permits on-sale consumption.
Bill is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 361 (Rivas, D-Salinas) – SUPPORT
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, local agency boards struggled to conduct their meetings in compliance with the Brown Act’s requirements while still abiding by stay-at-home orders. As a result, Governor Newsom issued an executive order (EO) to grant local agencies the flexibility to meet remotely during the pandemic. However, once the Governor’s EO expires, these flexibilities will not apply to future emergencies like wildfires, floods, toxic leaks, or other events that make in-person gatherings dangerous. Local agencies will again struggle to provide essential services like water, power, and fire protection at a time when constituents will need those services the most. AB 361 will guarantee that local boards do not have to rely on an executive order from the Governor to serve their communities remotely during future emergencies. This bill will also provide the opportunity for public to join via telephone or video conference to ensure that all members of the public can participate safely
This bill is intended to create a statutory regime for when, and how, local legislative bodies may suspend certain Brown Act teleconferencing requirements during proclaimed state of emergencies, so that local legislative bodies can act quickly in emergencies rather than having to wait for an executive order. Specifically, the bill will allow local legislative bodies to conduct meetings via teleconferencing without (1) providing a teleconferencing location accessible to the public, (2) having at least a quorum of members participating within the jurisdiction, and (3) providing an opportunity for the public to address the legislative body at each teleconference location (e.g., the locations from which the members are calling in). These emergency provisions will apply when a legislative body holds a meeting during a proclaimed state of emergency in which certain officials have determined that an in-person meeting would be detrimental to public health or safety.
Bill is on the Senate Floor awaiting a vote.
Bryant Government Affairs