April Legislative Update

As April came to end, so too did the busy committee hearing season. Friday marked the last day for policy committees to hear and vote on legislation keyed fiscal. Those measures that made it out of committee now head to the appropriations committees before they head to the floor of their respective houses and start the process all over again.

Despite NIMBY, local government, and some labor opposition, critical housing bills made it out of relevant policy committee hearings. The Senate’s housing package received bipartisan support; SB 6 (Caballero) streamlining the conversion of commercial properties to residential, SB 7 (Atkins) exempting large scale projects from CEQA, SB 8 (Skinner) extending the Housing Crisis Act (SB 330) to facilitate development, SB 9 (Atkins) providing a streamlined split lot process, and SB 10 (Wiener) giving local governments tools to upzone up to 10 units are all moving forward. In addition to those in the package, SB 728 (Hertzberg), a Habitat-sponsored bill, improving the state’s Density Bonus law to allow nonprofits, like Habitat to purchase DBL units for low-income families, made it out of committee on consent. Each of these measures provides incentives and additional tools to expedite housing development and limit NIMBY opposition.

In the Assembly, a number of key pieces of legislation, sponsored or supported by Habitat, passed out of the Local Government and Housing and Community Development committees. AB 1095 (Cooley) directing the Strategic Growth Council to adopt guidelines that benefit homeownership projects in addition to rental. AB 215 (Chiu) adding enforcement mechanisms against cities not meeting their RHNA goals, AB 1401 (Friedman) eliminating parking minimums within a ½ mile of high-quality transit, AB 561 (Ting) creating financing tools for ADU development, AB 1322 (R.Rivas) giving local governments tools to override local measures out of compliance with state law, and AB 602 (Grayson) creating transparency and clarity in impact fee exactions at the local level.

Once these measures make their way through the appropriations committees, they will head to the Senate or Assembly floors for full vote before beginning the policy committee process all over again in the second house.