council urges governor’s signature on key bills

It ain’t over until Gov. Brown signs, but the Bay Area Council this week was still cheering one of its most successful legislative campaigns in recent memory. Three bills the Council sponsored and a number of others that were a high priority for us have all cleared the legislature and now await the Governor’s final decision. Housing, which was the Council’s major focus heading into this year’s legislative session, was also a big winner. Two bills the Council sponsored—SB 1227 (Skinner) and SB 828 (Wiener)—will expand affordable student housing and increase accountability on cities to meet their housing obligations, respectively. A third bill the Council strongly supported (AB 2923, Chiu and Grayson) will allow BART to develop up to an estimated 20,000 units of housing on land it owns or controls near its rail stations.

“It’s starting to sink in that California has a devastating housing crisis,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We applaud the legislature for approving these bills and we strongly encourage Gov. Brown to sign them. While this represents a good step forward in addressing a problem that is hurting millions of Californians and threatening our economy, we really need a big leap forward to remove the myriad regulatory and other barriers that are a huge obstacle to building the millions of new housing units we need. We’re not done, yet.”

The Council hailed the passage of AB 2596 (Cooley), a bill the Council co-sponsored with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council that authorizes the creation of a statewide economic development strategy. It would help improve the state’s economic competitiveness, bolster California’s resilience to an economic downturn and expand economic opportunity.

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