State Bills in Brief: May 10-18
A weekly primer on the bills and committee hearings that have a direct impact on cities
It’s the calm before the storm this week in the Capitol — metaphorically, not meteorologically, this time. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to unveil a much more austere state budget proposal this Friday. The state’s budget deficit has only grown since the Governor’s January budget proposal. Also, most Californians have until October to file their taxes, making the job of predicting a $3 trillion economy even harder than usual.
Senate Democrats and the Governor are already divided on how to fill the state’s multibillion budget hole. Senate Democrats proposed tax hikes for major corporations. The Newsom administration roundly rejected the idea. Assembly Democrats have yet to unveil their plan, but all signs point to internal division among the party’s progressive and moderate wings.
Expect another grueling budget fight this year, as lawmakers haggle over spending cuts and trigger reductions — cuts that could be reversed later — to many of the state’s biggest priorities, including climate programs and public transportation. You can also expect a city-focused analysis of the latest budget blueprint from the League of California Cities this Friday.
To learn more about bills scheduled for committee hearings through May 18, 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’ top priority bills next week.
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 hearing? Lawmakers will review the bill on May 15 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Other bills with major impacts
Several key housing, homelessness, and environmental bills are scheduled for hearings.
Utility bill could energize housing and economic development
- Here’s what the bill would do. AB 50 (Ward) would decrease the time it takes to connect new projects to the electrical grid and improve information sharing between utility companies and local officials. Cal Cities supports AB 50.
- You’re saying this could increase housing production? Not just housing! Many local governments have been told it will take anywhere from two to seven years to improve electrical grids. These excessive delays have resulted in delays to housing, economic development, electric vehicle, and decarbonization projects.
- When was the bill heard? Lawmakers debated AB 2 on May 10 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Lawmakers mull accountability measure for state homeless funding
- What are lawmakers proposing? AB 799 (Rivas, Luz) would require the creation of regional plans to address homelessness and create new accountability requirements for local governments accessing state homelessness funding. Cal Cities has a concern position for AB 799.
- This sounds familiar. Last year, the Governor temporarily withheld state funding, citing the need for “more substantial results.”
- When was the bill heard? AB 799 was heard on May 10 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
There’s nothing wasteful about these trash bills
- Spare me the puns; tell me about the bills. AB 2 (Ward) would require producers to create an end-of-life management plan for solar photovoltaic panels. AB 1526 (Committee on Natural Resources) provides additional clarity on SB 54’s cost recovery mechanism. Cal Cities supports AB 2 in concept and supports AB 1526.
- When were the bills heard? Both bills were heard on May 10 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Lawmakers propose $20 billion in climate action and environmental quality bonds
- 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 is Cal Cities’ position? Cal Cities has a support if amended position for the bills and is seeking changes that increase the available investments for local governments.
- When are the hearings? SB 867 and SB 638 already cleared their respective, pre-suspense file committee hearings. AB 1567 was heard on May 10 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Funding for the most polluted river in the U.S.
- Which river? AB 1597 (Alvarez) would provide funding for two rivers, the New River and the Tijuana River. The New River is the most polluted river in the U.S., thanks to a potent combination of raw sewage, pathogens, trash, and industrial activities. The Tijuana River is often contaminated by raw sewage. Both rivers flow through the U.S.–Mexico border. Cal Cities supports the measure.
- How much funding? AB 1597 would provide $50 million in funding, upon appropriation by the Legislature. Historically, funding has been in short supply for these rivers. Even a modest investment could have a substantial environmental impact and create savings for related health and disaster costs.
- When is the next hearing? The bill was heard on May 10 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
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? The Senate Appropriations Committee will debate the bill on May 15.
Proposed prohibition on potable water for nonfunctional turf irrigation
- What is the bill number? AB 1572 (Friedman) would prohibit the use of potable water for irrigation of nonfunctional turf on specified properties. Cal Cities opposes the measure unless it is amended.
- When would this take effect? It depends on the type of property. Commercial, industrial, municipal, and institutional properties would need to comply by Jan. 1, 2027.
- When was the hearing? The Assembly Appropriations Committee heard the bill on May 10.