State Bills in Brief: May 3-11

May 3, 2023

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

It’s a deceptively quiet period for the Legislature. Many critical bills are already awaiting their (potential) final fate in their respective appropriations committees, with dozens more headed that way this week. But for the past week, Capitol insiders were focused on what’s not happening in appropriations. The California Air Resources Board approved the final Advanced Clean Fleet rule and four fentanyl-related bills passed out of a special hearing.

There are plenty of other issues to keep other lawmakers and the League of California Cities busy too. Also, up for discussion in the coming weeks: funding — or lack thereof — for a proposed .gov website mandate and affordable housing.

AB 1637 (Irwin) would require local agencies to use a .gov domain by 2026. Although well-intended, the measure is an unfunded mandate that would create a ripple effect of escalating costs and few, if any, security benefits. Agencies would need to spend potentially millions of dollars to migrate existing sites, services, and rebrand products.

Cal Cities secured an amendment pushing the proposed date back to 2026. However, the author has proved unwilling to make any additional amendments at this time. Cal Cities remains opposed unless amended to the measure.

On a more positive note, Asm. Buffy Wicks and Robert Rivas are advancing a $10 billion affordable housing bond, AB 1657 (Wicks). This particular measure — part of a larger suite of proposed housing bonds — would provide funding for multifamily housing, supportive housing, the preservation of existing affordable housing, and homeownership programs.

The state’s housing affordability crisis is a long-term problem that requires long-term solutions and long-term funding. Although funding like AB 1657 would kickstart construction, ongoing state funding would keep cities and developers on the right track. Cal Cities previously had a support in concept position for AB 1657 but will move to a support position. 

To learn more about bills scheduled for committee hearings through May 11, 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

Lawmakers will debate one of Cal Cities’ priority bills this week.

Updating the definition of “gravely disabled” could increase access to behavioral health care

  • What are the changes? SB 43 (Eggman) would expand the term “gravely disabled” to include conditions that result in a substantial risk of serious harm to a person's physical or mental health. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • Why this helps. This measure would increase access to early intervention and prevention services and prioritize placements in the least restrictive environments.
  • When are the hearings? Lawmakers will debate the bill on May 8 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Other bills with major impacts

Cal Cities updated its position for a homelessness accountability measure and labor dispute bill this week.

Proposed point-in-time reporting requirement needs a funding mechanism

  • Another unfunded mandate? AB 550 (Schiavo) would require cities to hold a public hearing on point-in-time counts and present plans to reduce homelessness. Local governments would also have to publish the result of the count on their websites. Cal Cities has concerns about the measure.
  • Why this bill is concerning. While this measure is well-intended, cities need ongoing funding to follow through on any identified or proposed actions. 
  • When is the hearing scheduled? Lawmakers discussed the bill on May 3 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 573 would increase flexibility for organic waste procurement

  • What sort of flexibility is being proposed? It’s narrow but important. AB 573 (Garcia) would allow some cities to send organic waste to out-of-state compost facilities to meet their SB 1383 (Lara, 2016) procurement requirements. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • Why do cities need this? Some cities, especially rural and border cities, must buy and deliver compost hundreds of miles to comply with the law. This drives up both greenhouse gas emissions and ratepayer costs. The state needs 50-100 new facilities for SB 1383 to be successful, which are several years away from becoming a reality.
  • When is the hearing? The Assembly Appropriations Committee heard AB 573 on May 3.

Two potential manufacturer-funded waste overhauls

  • One for gas cylinders. SB 560 (Laird) would create an end-of-life management program for covered gas cylinders — such as propane cylinders under 20 pounds. Cal Cities supports the measure in concept.
  • And another for electric vehicle batteries. 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. Cal Cities supports the measure in concept.
  • When are the hearings? Both bills will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 8.

An act of the Legislature to change “Act of God” clauses

  • What does the measure do? SB 751 (Padilla) would prohibit municipalities from entering into an exclusive franchise agreement for waste hauling services that contains a force majeure provision that can be triggered by a labor impasse. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • A force what? Sometimes known as an “Act of God,” a force majeure frees organizations from obligations due to extraordinary circumstances, such as a natural disaster.
  • When will the bill be heard? Lawmakers discussed the measure on May 3 in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

Bills to follow

Cal Cities does not yet have a position on this week’s solitary bill to follow.

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.
  • When was the bill heard? Lawmakers will discuss the bill on May 8 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

View all bills to act on

View all tracked bill hearings