State Bills in Brief: June 7-15

Jun 7, 2023

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

The first half of the 2023 legislative year is officially over. Lawmakers had until June 2 to get their measures through their respective houses of origin. Now, it’s time to repeat that process — just in a different chamber.

The June 2 deadline passed with little fanfare, in part because 2023 is the first part of the state's two-year legislative cycle. Any bills that didn’t pass may resurface next year. However, Cal Cities did notch an important short-term legislative victory.

AB 742 (Jackson) passed off suspense with amendments but failed to muster enough votes on the Assembly floor. The Cal Cities-opposed measure would have prohibited the use of police canines when apprehending and arresting suspects. Asm. Jackson told CalMatters he’ll bring the bill back again next year.

Legislators have until July 14 to get their bills through a second round of policy committee hearings. And of course, there is that pesky state budget deficit that lawmakers must vote on by June 15. Even when the state’s coffers are flush, those details are usually hammered out through “budget trailer bills” — budget-specific measures that bypass much of the normal legislative process.

To learn more about bills scheduled for a committee hearing through June 15, 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

In recent years, voters and city officials rank housing affordability and homelessness as the top issues facing the state. So too has Cal Cities.

Proposed dashboard would increase access to behavioral health care

  • What would this dashboard do? SB 363 (Eggman) would create a real-time dashboard of available beds in psychiatric and substance abuse facilities. It would also include related data, such as the appropriate age range for the bed and provided services. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • How would this bill help? Mental illness and substance abuse are best treated early and with appropriate support, just like any other health condition. SB 363 would also cut down on extended emergency room stays by quickly connecting people with care.
  • When is the next advocacy opportunity? Lawmakers will discuss SB 363 in the Assembly Health Committee on June 13.

Other bills with major impacts

Two bills sponsored by Cal Cities are up for hearings this week, along with an important clarification to last year’s single-use plastics law.

Did you know the design-build procurement process has a sunset date?

  • This sounds very wonky. It is! The very short version is the design-build procurement process provides more flexibility for contractors, encourages greater collaboration among stakeholders, and keeps costs low.
  • This sounds great. It is — especially given the billions of dollars in infrastructure funding flowing to cities. AB 400 (Rubio, Blanca) would eliminate the existing 2025 sunset date governing the use of the process. Cal Cities is sponsoring the measure.
  • When is the next hearing? The Senate Governance and Finance Committee will hear the bill on June 14.

An ambiguous ethics law is driving up project costs. This bill could change that

  • A well-intended law. A conflict-of-interest law inadvertently precludes independent contractors from bidding on successive phases of public works projects. AB 334 (Rubio, Blanca) would clarify that those professionals are not subject to that law, in part because of case law. Cal Cities supports the bill.
  • Why it matters. The public is at great risk if the most qualified consultants and contractors are prohibited from working on certain phases of infrastructure projects. The law would also help lower costs: Cities are currently forced to spend more money on training and site visits as new design professionals are brought on for each stage of the project.
  • When was the hearing? Lawmakers heard the bill on June 6 in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.

Lawmakers move to eliminate the sunset provisions in AB 361

  • Refresh my memory on AB 361. A major Cal Cities victory, AB 361 (Robert Rivas, 2021) allows cities to meet remotely during proclaimed states of emergency under modified Brown Act requirements.
  • What does this new bill do? AB 557 (Hart) would remove the law’s sunset provisions and provide greater flexibility for agencies that meet on a fixed date every month. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • When was the hearing? The Senate Governance and Finance Committee heard the bill on June 7.

AB 1526 clarifies how cities would be reimbursed under last year's single-use plastics law

  • What does SB 54 (Allen, 2022) do? The landmark law established a program for collecting, managing, and recycling single-use packaging and single-use plastic food service ware.
  • Why do we need a second bill? SB 54 was the result of years of negotiations between multiple stakeholders, including Cal Cities. Timing and scheduling constraints prevented agreed-upon language from making it into the final bill. AB 1526 (Committee on Natural Resources) both clarifies the funding process and provides some flexibility around curbside collection. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • When is the next hearing? The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee will debate the bill on June 13.

Bill would allow general law cities to adjust council member pay for inflation

  • Just how low is this pay? The Legislature has not raised the base pay for general law city council members since 1984. Depending on their population, these city councils can raise their compensation from $300 per month to $1,000 per month. SB 329 (Dodd) would allow city councils to increase their salaries to catch up with inflation. Cal Cities is sponsoring the measure.
  • Why this matters. Serving on a city council is often a full-time commitment with part-time pay. This discourages low-income residents, single parents, people of color, and young people from running for public office.
  • When was the hearing? Legislators heard the bill on June 7 in the Assembly Local Government Committee.

View all bills to act on

View all tracked bill hearings