Council-Sponsored Legislation Advancing
The Bay Area Council’s biggest package of legislation in recent memory crossed an important milestone last week when 10 of our 11 sponsored bills made it out of their first policy committees in either the Senate or Assembly. It was no easy feat, reflecting both the substance and merit of the legislation and the Council’s influence in Sacramento. Most of the bills now await hearings in their respective Appropriations Committees before they can advance to the other chamber.
The Council’s 10 bills include AB 1114 (Haney, San Francisco), which would eliminate excessive public appeals of new housing that has already won approval; AB 1633 (Ting, San Francisco), which would end an abusive local practice of stopping new housing by failing to complete required environmental reviews; SB 76 (Wiener, San Francisco), which would create new entertainment zones removing barriers to bars and restaurants that block them from participating in outdoor events like festivals and street fairs; SB 634 (Becker, Silicon Valley), which would streamline construction of temporary, modular housing or “opportunity homes” on vacant land, providing immediate shelter for thousands of unsheltered homeless individuals; and, AB 1464 (Connolly, San Rafael), which would ease eastbound morning commute traffic on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge while preserving bicycle access. For a complete list of the Council’s bill package, see here.
The Council was also instrumental this legislative session in stalling or killing two harmful and misguided bills. AB 68 (Ward, San Diego) would have put severe restrictions on building housing outside our urban core. While the Council prioritizes supporting infill housing near transit and jobs, this bill represented a major overreach and would only worsen the state’s already historic housing shortage and affordability crisis. We worked with the California Building Industry Association and California Chamber of Commerce to halt the bill from advancing this year, but it still could return next year and we will be monitoring it closely.
The Council also worked with the California Business Properties Association to put the hammer to AB 1000 (Reyes, San Bernardino), which for all practical purposes would have blocked or severely restricted construction of critical logistical facilities that are integral to the state’s economy. Special thanks to Assemblymember Lori Wilson for her help in defeating this bill.
In addition to our legislation, the Council is preparing for the release of Gov. Newsom’s May budget revision ahead of its scheduled adoption in June. As the Governor and Legislature negotiate over how to address a yawning budget deficit, the Council is working to support our priorities, including addressing the pending fiscal cliff for transit operators, supporting affordable housing and enforcement of existing housing law, and confronting ongoing challenges with water supply.
The Council submitted a budget letter to the Governor and his administration in January and looks forward to the May revision to provide additional feedback as the budget process moves along.