Government Affairs Report by Jason Bryant
Governor Signs CDA Priority Legislation into Law
As the 2023 Legislative Session comes to a close, the CDA Board is pleased to report that the Governor has signed a number of legislative priorities that the CDA championed this year.
AB 2890 (Bloom, D-Santa Monica) – Business Improvement District Renewal – SPONSOR/SUPPORT.
SIGNED INTO LAW.
As CDA’s sponsored bill this year, AB 2890 is needed to ensure PBIDs can continue to be a viable, successful financing tool for the economic engines powering our cities forward. In 1996, Proposition 218 changed the requirements for PBID assessments, and the law now requires a professional engineer to prepare a report stipulating that “special benefits” be separated from “general benefits” relative to the services or improvements paid by assessments for the assessment to be approved. However, there is no implementation guidance for how engineers are to identify and separate the two benefits. This ambiguity has made it difficult for PBIDs to determine what assessments can be charged and has led to an increasing number of unwarranted lawsuits against them challenging their calculations. AB 2890 provides the necessary details to help parties comply with the benefit separation requirement.
Specifically, AB 2890 clarifies the special benefit of the programs, which will help PBID assessments avoid unnecessary and costly legal challenges. Litigation arising from this lack of clarity threatens the viability of all of California’s PBIDs and the employment, public health and safety, and economic development benefits they foster. As businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, PBIDs continue to be an especially important tool helping finance improvements and services that positively energize California’s commercial areas, and AB 2890 is needed to ensure that PBIDs continue provide the best experience for our residents, employees, visitors, and tourists.
SB 1338 (Umberg, D-Santa Ana) – CARE Court / Mental Health Treatment Program – SUPPORT. SIGNED INTO LAW.
SB 1338 would establish the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court Program, which would authorize specified persons to petition a civil court to create a CARE plan and implement services for individuals suffering from specified mental health disorders. If the court determines the individual is eligible for the CARE Court Program, the court would order the implementation of a CARE plan, as devised by the relevant county behavioral services agency, and would oversee the individual’s participation in the plan.
All people should have the right to make their own decisions about medical treatment, but there are individuals with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, who at times, due to their illness, lack insight or good judgment about their need for medical treatment. In cases like this, a higher level of care may be necessary, but must be the last resort. It is inhumane to leave struggling Californians with mental health or substance abuse challenges without lifesaving care and too often on the streets.
CARE Court would allow people like family members to refer individuals with severe mental illness or substance abuse disorders who are often homeless to be both prioritized and required to participate in treatment through a court ordered CARE plan. Under CARE Court local government will be held accountable for providing services including treatment and housing, and participants will be held accountable to following their treatment plan through court orders.
AB 2097 (Friedman, D-Glendale) – Parking Requirements for Residential & Commercial Development – SUPPORT.
SIGNED INTO LAW.
AB 2097 will reduce the cost of housing while slashing the pollution that causes climate change by eliminating expensive parking mandates for homes and commercial buildings near transit, or in neighborhoods with low rates of car use.
Parking mandates, which require parking for cars to be included in new housing, are common in cities throughout California and can add $40,000 or more to the cost of construction per parking spot, while also increasing climate pollution. Eliminating these costly parking mandates will give Californians more choices about whether they want to pay for parking, or have lower-cost housing in walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods.
California cities are currently over-producing parking — Los Angeles alone has 200 square miles of parking — largely because of rules that require the construction of parking with each new home or business, even when there is no need for additional parking. AB 2097 increases housing choice and will make it easier to provide lower-cost, walkable- and transit-accessible housing across the state.
SB 922 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) – CEQA Exemption for Transit-Related Projects – SUPPORT. SIGNED INTO LAW.
SB 922 will help transit agencies and local governments build the active and sustainable transportation projects that will result in a safer, healthier, and more equitable future for all Californians. In 2020, recognizing that CEQA is often used by project opponents to stop or delay clean transportation projects, the Legislature passed, and Governor Newsom signed into law, SB 288 (Wiener), temporarily exempting from CEQA certain clean transportation projects. Under current law, these CEQA exemptions sunset on January 1, 2023.
SB 922 would eliminate the sunset and provide greater clarity about how to use the exemption and which types of projects are exempt. SB 922 will streamline CEQA with targeted statutory exemptions for transit and active transportation projects that significantly advance the state’s climate, safety and health goals, including projects that would:
- Make streets safer for walking and biking;
- Speed up bus service on streets and improve its on-time performance;
- Construct infrastructure or facilities to refuel zero-emissions transit vehicles;
- Expand carpooling;
- Run faster bus service on highways;
- Modernize and build new bus and light rail stations and terminals;
- Support parking policies that reduce drive-alone trips and congestion;
- Improve wayfinding for people using transit, biking or walking.
Bryant Government Affairs