State Bills in Brief: June 15-22

Jun 14, 2023

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

The Legislature published a state budget bill late on Sunday. The deal would restore some of the public transit, climate change, and child care funding that Gov. Gavin Newsom axed in his May budget revise. There’s even extra money for one of the state's biggest homelessness programs and local rail infrastructure.

One thing that is noticeably missing from the legislative budget proposal? New funding for the state’s affordable housing programs, which the Governor proposed cutting to the tune of nearly a billion dollars. Lawmakers also failed to include ongoing funding to address homelessness and boost affordable housing.

So, what does the Governor think? That’s anyone’s guess. The Newsom Administration is keeping its cards close on the budget.

Regardless, legislators must pass a placeholder budget by June 15 if they want to get paid. This means negotiations will continue through June 30, after which the Governor must sign a budget. The exact contours of the budget will likely get hammered out through trailer bills — budget-specific measures that bypass much of the normal legislative process.

Cal Cities will issue a media statement once the budget bill is passed tomorrow and provide updates as budget negotiations move forward. To learn more about bills scheduled for a committee hearing through June 22, 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

A bill prohibiting the use of facial recognition technology in police cameras has been elevated to the top of Cal Cities’ priority bill list.

Legislators could renew ban on facial recognition technology

  • What is the bill? AB 1034 (Wilson) would prohibit the use of facial recognition in police cameras until January 2034. Cal Cities opposes the measure.
  • Why it matters. Cal Cities supports accountability when it comes to police technology. However, banning facial recognition technology only makes it harder for law enforcement to protect their communities by removing a source of possible investigative leads.
  • When is the next advocacy opportunity? The Senate Public Safety Committee will take up the measure on June 20.

Other bills with major impacts

Lawmakers are considering a broad range of measures related to supportive services, affordable housing, the fentanyl crisis, transportation, and children’s camps.

Bonta bill would boost families out of poverty

An integrated system of solutions. AB 1321 (Bonta) would create a competitive grant program that funds academic, occupational, and other "cradle-to-career" services in Promise Neighborhoods. Cal Cities supports the bill.

  • A simmering crisis. Despite strong economic growth, California has high rates of child poverty: 16.2% of children under 18 are living at, or below, the federal poverty threshold. AB 1321 would expand California’s capacity to mitigate disparities and provide support for children and families.
  • When is the next hearing? The Senate Human Services Committee will hear the bill on June 19.

More money for homelessness and affordable housing?

  • Where is this money coming from? AB 531 (Irwin) is one of the three bills that would collectively provide over $25 billion in bonds for affordable housing and supportive services. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • Why it matters. Long-term problems require long-term solutions. If voters approved all three bonds, the measures would provide twice the funding included in the 2022 State Budget for similar programs.
  • When is the next hearing? Lawmakers will discuss the bill on June 20 in the Senate Housing Committee.

Well-intended adaptive reuse bill would still create traffic problems

  • What does the bill do? AB 1490 (Lee) would require cities to give certain concessions to 100% affordable adaptative reuse projects. Cal Cities has an oppose unless amended position for the bill.
  • What’s the issue? The author changed AB 1490 to give cities greater discretion over certain projects. However, it still limits their ability to enforce maximum density and parking rules, which could create considerable problems for developments that are not well served by public transit.
  • When is the next hearing? The measure will be heard in the Senate Housing Committee on June 20. 

Proposed state housing construction agency could bypass state housing laws and local standards

  • What is the bill number? AB 309 (Lee) would create a state agency that could construct and lease affordable housing. Although the intent is laudable, Cal Cities opposes the measure unless it is amended.
  • What changes is Cal Cities seeking? Like many recent housing laws, the bill disregards the state’s own mandated housing planning process and laws. Cal Cities is seeking amendments that would require the agency to follow all local zoning and objective development standards.
  • When is the next hearing? The next hearing is on June 20 in the Senate Housing Committee.

Bill seeks to reduce drug-related recidivism

  • A voluntary program. AB 1360 (McCarty) would create a pilot program that would help people suffering from substance use disorders from cycling in and out of the criminal justice system with no clear path to treatment. Cal Cities supports AB 1360.
  • Why it matters. According to the National Institute of Health and the National Institute for Drug Abuse, an estimated 65% of people in U.S. prisons and jails have an active substance use disorder (SUD). Another 20% did not meet the official criteria for a SUD but were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime.
  • When is the next hearing? Legislators will discuss AB 1360 on June 20 in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Naloxone Distribution Project expansion heads to the Assembly

  • What is the bill number? SB 641 (Roth) would expand the state’s naloxone distribution program. Cal Cities supports the bill.
  • How would this help the state’s fentanyl crisis? Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, making it the deadliest drug in the U.S. according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. When administered quickly, naloxone can reverse an otherwise fatal overdose.
  • When is the next hearing? Legislators will debate the bill on June 20 in the Assembly Health Committee.

Proposed fentanyl task force focuses on strengthening state and local partnerships

  • Multipronged strategies are the key to stopping the fentanyl crisis. SB 19 (Seyarto) would ensure cities are part of a multisector fentanyl task force. Cal Cities supports the measure.
  • What would the task force do? The task force would focus on collecting data, increasing access to overdose-reversing drugs, improving substance use disorder treatments, and crafting strategies that reduce the availability of illicit fentanyl.
  • When is the next hearing? The bill’s next hearing is on June 20 in the Assembly Health Committee.

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 21.

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? 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 AB 1526.
  • When is the next hearing? Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee will discuss the bill on June 22.

Cal Cities to work with stakeholders on new children’s camps regulations

  • What is the bill number? AB 262 (Holden) would convene a stakeholder group focused on improving safety at children’s camps. Cal Cities supports the bill.
  • This sounds familiar. Asm. Holden introduced a similar measure in the last session, which was ultimately held. Cal Cities has worked closely with the author’s office to ensure that any new requirements do not adversely impact cities’ ability to provide educational opportunities at little or no cost to residents.
  • When is the next hearing? Lawmakers will discuss AB 262 on June 19 in the Senate Human Services Committee.

Bills to follow

Cal Cities is reconsidering its position on a homelessness accountability bill and adopted a new position for a sea level rise measure.

New accountability measure for state homeless funding could be coming

  • What are lawmakers proposing? AB 799 (Rivas, Luz) would create new accountability requirements for cities that access state funding through the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program. Cal Cities’ position for AB 799 is pending.
  • How does Cal Cities feel about the measure in concept? Cal Cities is not opposed to new accountability requirements. However, they must be paired with increased funding — which this bill does not provide — so that cities are not set up to fail.
  • When was the bill heard? Legislators will debate on measure in the Senate Human Services Committee on June 19.

Bill mandates regionwide seal level rise planning for coastal cities

  • What does it do? SB 272 (Laird) would require all coastal cities to implement sea level rise planning and adaptation plans by 2034. The bill would also require state agencies to establish guidelines for the preparation of that planning and adaptation by 2024. Cal Cities has concerns position about SB 272. 
  • This sounds like a lot. It would also be very expensive and time-consuming. Currently, it takes at least five years for cities to obtain final approval for their local coastal programs.
  • When is the next hearing? The Assembly Natural Resources Committee will debate the bill on June 19.

View all bills to act on

View all tracked bill hearings