State Bills in Brief: May 29-June 6

May 29, 2024

A weekly primer on the bills and committee hearings that have a direct impact on cities

By Brian Hendershot, Cal Cities Advocate managing editor. Additional contributions by the Cal Cities Advocacy Team

The second half of the 2024 legislative session has just started, and Cal Cities has already notched a major win. Lawmakers on Friday voted down SB 1494 (Glazer) on the Senate floor — a rarity in California politics. The measure would have prohibited cities from entering new sales tax rebate agreements with retailers starting Jan. 1, 2024, and voided all existing agreements on Jan. 1, 2030.

In 2022, Cal Cities formed a working group of city managers to examine local taxation issues, including sales tax rebate agreements. Although members hold a variety of perspectives and experiences about the merits or flaws of sales tax rebate agreements, the group ultimately focused on ways to preserve sales tax rebate agreements as an economic incentive tool while establishing parameters that reduce competition and create a fairer environment.

Speaking of money: The Legislative Analyst’s Office last week noted that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to slash state operations runs the risk of creating a larger budget challenge and eroding state services. “It seems highly unlikely to us that permanently reducing roughly $1 in every $10 spent on state operations would have no effect on services,” the office noted.

The same can be said for the Governor's proposed cuts to housing and homeless programs, which could cause the state to lose out on 13,000 new housing units and supportive services for an estimated 120,000 people. Several high-profile lawmakers have pushed back against these cuts, including Asm. Sharon Quirk-Silva.

“It’s one thing to make investments, billions of dollars,” Quirk-Silva told The Sacramento Bee. “It’s another thing to pull the rug out and kind of say, well, sorry, in this budget, we really can’t do these things.”

For information about bills scheduled for a committee hearing through June 6, keep reading. To learn what each section means — or to access a previous State Bills in Brief — visit the archive page.

Hot bills

Cal Cities moved a potential unfunded mandate to the top of its priority list.

Another unfunded mandate foisted on cities

  • What would the bill do? AB 1725 (McCarty) would require cities to post information about major use-of-force settlements and judgments on their websites. Cal Cities opposes the measure. 
  • Why it matters. Cal Cities supports increased accountability. However, most such cases are settled outside of court for economic reasons. Posting this information would create an inaccurate picture of law enforcement interactions and conduct.
  •  When is the hearing? June 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Remote meeting flexibility

  • What’s good for the goose. AB 817 (Pacheco) would allow members of local advisory bodies, boards, and commissions to participate in online public meetings without posting their location and without allowing the public into the private location — like their state counterparts. Cal Cities is co-sponsoring the measure.
  • Equitable access. Local advisory bodies, boards, and commissions face ongoing recruitment and retention challenges, with challenges like meeting locations and childcare frequently cited as the top barriers to participation. Making it easier for people could bolster participation and provide much-needed diversity.
  • When is the hearing? June 5 at 9:30 a.m. in the Senate Local Government Committee.

Priority bills

Lawmakers are considering a handful of measures through June 6, most notably two public safety measures.

Rooting out illegal cannabis

  • More potent enforcement. AB 491 (Wallis) would make it easier for cities to reduce unlicensed cannabis activities. The penalties for selling illicit cannabis are relatively light and primarily designed for zoning violations. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • A thriving market. Communities throughout the state, particularly in rural and remote areas, are struggling to deter illegal cannabis activity, which is undermining the health and safety of residents, as well as regulated cannabis businesses.
  • When was the hearing? May 29 at 9:30 a.m. in the Senate Local Government Committee.

More resources for organized retail theft

  • What would the bill do? SB 1381 (McGuire) would add the sale of stolen goods as a property crime to the Regional Property Crimes Task Force’s purview. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • More resources. The task force has been an important resource for many local law enforcement agencies. As one police spokesperson quipped earlier this month: “No one wants to go steal in a place when they know they’re going to get caught.”
  • When is the hearing? June 4 at 9 a.m. in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Cal Cities is also engaged on AB 1782 (Ta) and AB 2922 (Garcia), both of which are set for hearings. The bills would make it easier for cities to reduce homelessness and attract manufacturing respectively. AB 2708 (Patterson, Jim) — also up for a hearing — would beef up a report on the state’s broadband construction efforts. Cal Cities supports all three measures.

View all tracked bill hearings >>