A Strong Year for CDA’s Government Affairs Program
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and a year that brought significant economic harm to so many of our members, CDA’s government affairs program excelled on a number of fronts. CDA’s efforts, under the leadership of our board of directors, delivered on three major victories on legislative priorities that will improve our downtowns and our associations moving forward.
AB 1976 (Eggman) – Laura’s Law – CDA SUPPPORT
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR ON 9/25/20
The bill further implements “Laura’s Law” on a statewide basis and 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.
SB 288 (Wiener) CEQA Exemptions for Transit Projects – CDA SUPPORT
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR ON 9/28/20
The legislation will accelerate the construction of new transportation projects including, pedestrian safety projects, bike lanes, new bus lines, rapid transit and light rail. SB 288 gives more certainty to these projects, reducing costs and potential construction delays.
This legislation comes at a time when our urban areas need economic stimulus as our members continue to experience the severe impact COVID-19 has had on our downtowns. As people begin to go back to work, visit restaurants, cafes and take advantage of the cultural opportunities California’s urban centers provide, we need a transportation infrastructure that can meet the demands of our residents and visitors.
CDA believes the policy contained in SB 288 will increase the availability of a verity of transit options for those who live, work and visit in our urban centers. The California Downtown Association represents thousands of diversified businesses throughout California within its network of downtown associations, cities and business districts.
AB 1436 (Chiu) – Rental Payment Default: State of Emergency – CDA OPPOSE
BILL WAS HELD IN SENATE RULES COMMITTEE BEFORE SESSION ADJOURNED FOR THE YEAR
Recognizing that we are in unprecedented times, we understand that tenants who have been truly affected by the COVID-19 virus – and the government response to it – need protections. In fact, they have already been granted extensive protections under federal law, state executive orders, judicial rules, and local laws, not to mention the countless number of owners who have deferred and reduced rent to help their tenants without a legal requirement to do so. The bill does not provide for – nor is it tied to – any funding to help tenants and landlords with the unpaid rent. There is no way many rental property owners will be able to keep their buildings from foreclosure if AB 1436 were to become law. Here’s why:
Under AB 1436, rental property owners will go for an extended period of time with no rent payments – because AB 1436 is linked to the state proclamation, a rental property owner will likely receive no rent for more than 1 year. With no rent payments to cover the mortgage and other expenses at the property, including employee salaries, there is no question that rental property owners will lose their single-family rentals and multifamily buildings to foreclosure – notwithstanding the forbearance language. In many cases, the rent payments are an owner’s only source of income. Without a source of funding to help tenants and landlords, it is highly unlikely that tenants will be able to pay the back rent that is owed.
Bryant Government Affairs
September 2020 Legislative Update