State Bills in Brief: April 19-27

Apr 19, 2023

If you saw an indistinguishable blur during last week’s City Leaders Summit, it was probably one of Cal Cities’ seven lobbyists. Lawmakers in each house have until April 28 to get their bills through their respective fiscal committees. Legislators introduced well over 2,600 bills this session, so expect this report to grow even longer next week.  

It is a busy month for all involved, to say the least. Speaking of which: The Cal Cities Board of Directors last week adopted positions for seven bills. Of particular note is SB 4 (Wiener), which would allow schools and churches to build certain housing projects on their properties by right. Cal Cities will issue a support if amended position and is seeking changes that allow cities to maintain their height and parking standards.

The Board directed Cal Cities to not take a position on SB 769 (Gonzalez), but you should keep your eyes on the measure. The bill would create a new fiscal training requirement for some members of all local legislative bodies. SB 769 will be amended to apply only to cities that are deemed ‘high risk’ by the state auditor or cities that knowingly submitted a false annual transaction report or did not submit the report in a timely fashion.

Cal Cities also scored a significant legislative win this week. With Cal Cities co-leading the opposition with the California School Board Association, SB 251 (Newman) failed to pass out of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. The bill was overly broad and a solution in search of a problem. It received just two votes.

SB 251 would have prohibited most future elected officers from being employed by any other elected officer with the same constituency. While SB 251 was intended to address conflict of interest and ethical issues, there is no evidence of this arrangement resulting in unethical behavior. Moreover, existing law already governs these types of issues.

To learn more about bills scheduled for committee hearings through April 27, keep reading. To learn what each section means — or to access a previous State Bills in Brief — visit the archive page.

Bills to act on

Sample letters are available for two measures in this section, SB 423 (Wiener) and AB 972 (Maienschein).

Lawmakers mull more changes to the behavioral health care system

  • What are the changes? SB 43 and SB 363 — both by Sen. Eggman — would make it easier to provide behavioral health care. SB 43 would update the definition of “gravely disabled” and SB 363 would create a real-time dashboard of available beds in psychiatric and substance abuse facilities respectively. Cal Cities supports both measures.
  • Why it matters. For unsheltered individuals with severe behavioral health needs, access to care can be essential to addressing their homelessness.
  • When are the hearings? SB 43 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 25. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear SB 363 on April 24.

SB 423 continues the trend of the state overriding its own mandated housing plans

  • What now? SB 423 (Wiener) would expand SB 35 (Wiener, 2017) to nearly all cities, allow the state to approve housing developments on its own property, and eliminate SB 35’s sunset date. Cal Cities opposes SB 423
  • SB 35 sounds familiar. The 2017 legislation is one of the highest-profile housing laws in recent memory. SB 35 forces cities to approve certain multifamily housing sites. The law’s many requirements and exemptions are detailed on page six of a 2018 Cal Cities publication.
  • When is the advocacy opportunity? Lawmakers will discuss the bill on April 26 in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. A sample letter is available in the Action Center.

Sample letter now available for streamlined local assistance bill

  • What would this bill do? AB 972 (Maienschein) would create a statewide, cross-agency workgroup to coordinate, align, and streamline local government assistance resources. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • Why this matters. Nearly all state grant programs have unique and widely varied procedures for their grant programs. Cities often lack the resources, staff capacity, or expertise needed to apply for competitive funding, especially for the programs this measure would impact.
  • When is the next advocacy opportunity? The Assembly Local Government Committee will hear AB 972 on April 26. A sample letter of support is available.

Other bills with major impacts

Four key waste measures are scheduled for hearings between now and April 25, along with three water bond bills.

Cal Cities to adopt support if amended positions for water bond bills

  • What are the bills? SB 867 (Allen), SB 638 (Eggman), and AB 1567 (E. Garcia) collectively propose $20 billion in bonds for safe drinking water, wildfire prevention, drought preparation, flood protection, and extreme heat mitigation.
  • What changes is Cal Cities seeking? Cal Cities is seeking amendments that increase the available investments for local governments.
  • When are the hearings? The Senate Governance and Finance Committee will hear SB 638 on April 19 and SB 867 on April 26. The remaining measure, AB 1567, was last heard in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee on April 18.

Another potential manufacturer-funded waste overhaul

  • What changes are being proposed? SB 615 (Allen), among other things, would require all electric vehicle traction batteries to be recovered and reused, repurposed, remanufactured, or recycled at the end of their useful life.
  • What is Cal Cities’ position? Cal Cities supports SB 615 in concept. Notably, manufacturers, dealers, and dismantlers would be responsible for end-of-life management.
  • When is the hearing scheduled? SB 615 will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on April 25.

Even more trash talk

  • Three bills to watch. SB 560 (Laird) would create an end-of-life management program for covered gas cylinders — such as propane cylinders under 20 pounds. AB 2 (Ward) would create a similar program for solar photovoltaic panels. AB 1526 (Committee on Natural Resources) intends to provide additional clarity on SB 54’s cost recovery mechanism. Cal Cities supports all three measures in concept.
  • SB 54 sounds very familiar. The 2022 law by Sen. Allen was one of Cal Cities’ biggest advocacy wins in 2022. The law requires all packaging in the state to be recyclable or compostable by 2032 and 65% of all single-use plastic packaging to be recycled in the same timeframe.
  • When are the hearings? SB 560 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary on April 25. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee will hear AB 2 and AB 1526 on April 24.

Bills to follow

Lawmakers are still hammering out the exact details of some bills. Cal Cities does not have a position on the bills below at this time.  

CEQA document requests

  • What would the bill do? SB 69 (Cortese) would require local agencies to provide any subsequent revised or amended copy of CEQA documents upon request by mail or email and to submit the documents to the state clearinghouse.
  • What time is the hearing? The Senate Appropriations Committee will discuss the measure during the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 24.

Two energy bills to watch

  • One is a possible mandate. Current law prescribes and limits permit fees for residential and commercial solar energy systems, which expire on Jan. 1, 2025. AB 1132 (Freidman) would extend that repeal date to Jan. 1, 2034.
  • The other could speed up utility interconnections. AB 50 (Ward) seeks to address delays connecting projects to the grid, including housing projects.
  • When is the hearing? Lawmakers will review AB 1132 on April 19 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 50 will be heard on April 26 in the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.

Bill mandates region-wide seal level rise plan for San Francisco Bay cities

  • What does it do? In addition to mandating a local coastal program, SB 272 (Laird) would require cities that receive approval for sea level rise planning and adaptation to be prioritized for related funding for the implementation of projects in their approved sea level rise adaptation plan.
  • What day is the hearing? Lawmakers will discuss the bill on April 26 in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

View all bills to act on

View all tracked bill hearings