What’s next for Cal Cities’ recovery housing reform bills?

May 29, 2024

Two sponsored bills are still moving forward

By Caroline Grinder, legislative affairs lobbyist 

Lawmakers have dealt blows to two of Cal Cities’ four recovery home bills: SB 913 (Umberg) and AB 2121 (Dixon). It’s the latest move in a decades-long trend of policymakers failing to pass comprehensive reform that protects residents and holds bad actors accountable.

As a columnist for The Orange County Register, Teri Sforza, bluntly noted: “The death of Senate Bill 913 is tragic, but not at all surprising.”

SB 913 would have allowed cities to partner with the state to enforce existing state licensing laws. The bill received fierce opposition as it moved through the legislative process but passed through the Senate Health Committee (10-0) and the Senate Judiciary Committee (11-0). It then died in the dreaded suspense file.

AB 2121 died earlier this year after the Assembly Health Committee did not set it for a hearing. This measure would have required the state to notify cities when it approves a license within their jurisdiction and implement distance requirements consistent with other group homes.

What’s next?

Cities can still take action on this critical issue. Two other bills have crossed houses and are moving forward, including AB 2081 (Davies). Co-sponsored by Cal Cities, the measure would require licensed treatment facilities to share resources about their licensure status with potential patients.

The Cal Cities-sponsored AB 2574 (Valencia) is also headed to the Senate. It would expand reporting requirements to improve the state's oversight of sober living homes operating as an integral part of a licensed treatment facility located elsewhere in the community.

Asm. Diane Dixon requested an audit of facilities licensed and regulated by the Department of Health Care Services last year. Cal Cities anticipates the audit's results will be released in the coming months. This data should provide critical data on the state’s efforts to regulate these facilities and drive future attempts at reform.