CDA Priority Legislation to See Action During the Final Month of Legislative Session
With the Legislature reconvened after an extended recess due to concerns about virus spread inside the State Capitol after a number of lawmakers and staff tested positive for COVID-19, CDA’s government affairs program is pushing ahead on this year’s major legislative priorities for the Association. The final month of session takes on a sprint-to-the-finish-line feel as bill author’s, staff and advocacy organizations make their final push to advance – or defeat – major legislative proposals.
One of the most critical deadlines of the year comes at this final month of session as the Legislature’s fiscal committees consider legislation that will have a fiscal impact to the state’s general fund. The Assembly and Senate’s “Appropriations Suspense File” hearing is an up-or-down vote on most of the remaining proposals. Faced with the reality that the state’s general fund cannot support all of the proposals moving through the process currently, these fiscal committees will prioritize the remaining fiscal bills.
Below is an overview of the key priority bills for the California Downtown Association this year:
SB 902 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – SUPPORT
This bill would help relieve the existing housing shortage and affordability crisis and encouraging people to live closer to job centers which are often found in our downtowns. This legislation would create a baseline zoning for the state which, over time, will substantially increase housing supplies. Specifically, the bill would allow construction of duplex, triplex and fourplex residential units without additional local government approval in single-family neighborhoods using the “by-right” provisions within current state law. The number of units that could be build would depend on the size of the city. The legislation would provide incentives for higher-density rezoning by providing an exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
SB 1135 (Caballero, D-Salinas) “The Neighborhood Homes Act” – SUPPORT
This bill would authorize residential development on existing lots currently zoned for commercial office and retail spaces such as strip malls or large “big box” retail spaces. The bill requires the development of residential units be at a minimum density to accommodate affordable housing, abide by existing local planning and development ordinances and establishes financing for public infrastructure.
The bill will “upzone” commercial and retail properties to allow residential uses at densities that are deemed affordable by design under existing law. These underutilized or vacant commercial spaces are often prime land, close to public transportation and have the acreage that could be used for new housing and mixed-use projects. The bill provides valuable incentives to encourage new development that fits the needs of the community.
AB 1976 (Eggman, D-Stockton) “Laura’s Law” – SUPPORT
The bill further implements “Laura’s Law” on a statewide basis and it retains key provisions to protect local control. The bill would allow a county or group of counties to implement an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program under Laura’s Law and would allow counties to opt-out, if desired.
To date, Assisted Outpatient Treatment has been implemented by 24 counties and is designed to assist individuals who as a result of a severe mental illness, unable to access community mental health services voluntarily. Under current law, the AOT program is an “opt-in” program which requires an unnecessary step that has reduced participation. Easing and expanding AOT implementation will ensure that those at the highest risk for hospitalization can obtain the necessary treatment services to keep that person supported.
Laura’s Law is designed to provide participating counties with tools for early intervention. It allows for family members, relatives, cohabitants, treatment providers, or peace officers to initiate the AOT process with a petition to the county behavioral health director or designee. The health director must then determine how to proceed. If the individual is found to meet the AOT eligibility requirements, an individual preliminary care plan is developed to meet that person’s needs.
AB 828 (Ting, D-San Francisco) – OPPOSE
Recognizing that we are in unprecedented times, CDA understands that tenants who have been truly affected by the COVID-19 virus need protections. In fact, they have already been granted extensive protections under existing state proclamations, judicial court rules, and local laws, including federal, state, and local financial assistance. AB 828, however, would unconstitutionally force a 25 percent reduction in rents and prohibit a court or sheriff from accepting for filing or taking any action in an unlawful detainer case while a state or local state of emergency related to the COVID-19 virus is in effect, except as narrowly provided in the bill. The bill is a one-sided, unreasonable proposal that will harm both good tenants and responsible property owners. AB 828 is not a fair and balanced approach in these unprecedented times.
AB 1436 (Chiu, D-San Francisco) – OPPOSE
The bill would prohibit a rental property owner from collecting unpaid rent for an indefinite and likely multi-year period. The bill is a one-sided, unreasonable, and unconstitutional proposal that will devastate the rental housing industry. It is not a fair and balanced approach for rental property owners and tenants in these unprecedented times. The bill does not provide for - nor is it tied to - any funding to help tenants and landlords with the unpaid rent.
Many rental property owners will not be able to keep their buildings from foreclosure if AB 1436 were to become law.
Bryant Government Affairs
July 2020 Legislative Update