CDA Priority Legislation to See Major Action as Legislature Returns from Summer Recess
With the Legislature adjourned for the annual summer recess, CDA’s government affairs program is pushing ahead on the organization’s major legislative priorities for 2019. Each year, California’s Legislative Session takes a 4 week hiatus giving legislators, legislative staff, policy committees a break before the final month of session begins on August 12th.
That final month of session takes on a sprint-to-the-finish-line feel as bill author’s, staff and advocacy organizations like CDA make a final push to advance – or defeat – major legislative priorities. Meanwhile, during this summer recess, the CDA policy team remains very active on our legislative strategy – working within our advocacy coalitions, meeting with staff and committee consultants to ensure we achieve our goals.
During the final month of session there is one major legislative deadline that will have a greater impact on the outcome of nearly every major piece of legislation over any other. That deadline is the final fiscal committee deadline referred to as the “Appropriations Suspense File” hearing. Faced with the reality that the state’s general fund cannot support every bill that is advancing through the legislative process, the Assembly & Senate Appropriations Committees are charged with prioritizing all of the remaining “fiscal” bills. It’s during this final “Suspense File” hearing in late-August where the fate of most bills, including many of CDA’s priorities listed below, will be determined.
Priority Legislation for CDA:
SB 34 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) SUPPORT
In an effort to reduce burglary rates, this bill clarifies that the unlawful entry of a vehicle with the intent to commit theft establishes the crime of auto burglary. Under current law, to secure a conviction when an auto burglar is arrested, one of the elements prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the vehicle was locked. Unfortunately, the fact that a victim’s window was broken does not, by itself, establish that the vehicle was locked. This evidence is especially challenging to obtain, particularly in cases where the victim is unavailable or unknown which is prevalent amongst victims who are tourists since they are unable to return to the jurisdiction where the crime was committed to verify the crime occurred. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will be heard in August.
AB 1184 (Gloria, D-San Diego) OPPOSED
The legislation would place a new mandate on all public agencies, including BIDs, to require storage of every transmitted email for at least 2 years. As written, the bill creates no new disclosures or exemptions of any records, but still requires all emails to be saved, regardless if the email is a public record or not. CDA believes there is no value to saving inconsequential emails – particularly if they are not required to be released. CDA is helping to lead a coalition of public agencies including the California Special Districts Association and the League of California Cities who oppose the bill. As was expected, the bill was approved by the Assembly and is now in the Senate and will be heard in the Appropriations Committee on August 12th.
SB 518 (Wieckowski, D-Fremont) OPPOSED
Working with a broad coalition including the California Special Districts Association, the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties, and the Rural County Representatives of California, CDA is opposed to the bill because it removes an important tool that reduces excessive litigation, court costs and attorney’s fees in disputes involving the CPRA. Specifically, the bill eliminate the utility of the “Section 998 settlement” offer in lawsuits between parties where a public agency is involved. A “Section 998 settlement” allows a plaintiff or defense to make an offer to settle a dispute before proceeding to trial. If an offer is presented but not accepted, the litigating party is not entitled to post-offer costs and attorney’s fees should a litigant fail to receive a better result than the offer made. The “Section 998 settlement” encourages settlements of disputes and avoids unnecessary attorney’s fees and court costs. The bill was approved by the Senate and is now in the Assembly and has been placed on the Assembly Appropriations “Suspense File” where it will be heard in late-August.
AB 516 (Chiu, D-San Francisco) OPPOSE
While we appreciate the policy objective of reducing impacts to vehicle ownership for lower-income Californians, this bill would have negative impacts California’s downtowns and business districts. The bill would allow vehicles to be parked in excess of 72 hours on public streets without the ability for law enforcement to remove the vehicle. Vehicles could be stored in business districts for 5 business days, taking parking spaces away from residents, customers and those conducting commerce in our downtowns. CDA’s members throughout the state manage and promote special events in our downtowns – from cultural events, art exhibits, entertainment and other community enhancing attractions. Often these events require areas to be pedestrian only for a period of time to ensure the safety of the participants and attendees. Vehicles that are parked for a significant period of time without the ability to remove a vehicle poses safety and security risks for those who are managing the events and the residents and visitors who participate. AB 516 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be heard on August 12.
SB 50 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) SUPPORT
The bill would have allowed denser housing around public transit and job centers by prohibiting a local jurisdiction from restricting zoning to only single-family homes. SB 50 cleared a key policy committee after the author and the Chair of the Committee reached agreement to amend the bill to exempt cities of less than 600,000 residents as well providing protections for communities near the state’s coastline. It was assumed the amendments made to SB 50 will broaden the bill’s support in the Legislature, however, in a surprise move, the Senate Appropriations Committee “held” the bill in Committee and is considered a 2-year bill. Although SB 50 may be dead for the year, increasing supply of affordable housing is a hallmark issue for Governor Newsom and many policymakers and we could see additional movement on this issue later this year through the legislative process.
Bryant Government Affairs
July 2019 Legislative Update