PCL Insider – November 2019

With a new administration, and a lot of hefty ideas on housing, climate, equity and the environment in the legislature, it was another busy year in the Capitol. There were some big wins and some big losses, and many questions left to be answered in 2020. You can see our full online watchlist here, and read a more detailed recap in our Winter 2019-2020 Newsletter, but below is a summary of highlights of PCL’s engagement in 2019.

Some wins:

SB 200: Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (Support): after years of effort from many partners, SB 200 finally establishes a fund to address the needs of 1 million Californians that live without safe drinking water.
AB 1482: Tenant Protection Act (Support): provides a baseline of anti-rent gouging and just-cause eviction protections for vulnerable renters statewide. Read more here on why tenant protection is smart growth policy.
SB 330: Housing Crisis Act (Support): applies a wide range of reforms to accelerate housing permit approvals and to preserve jurisdictions’ zoning capacity for housing.
AB 285: California Transportation Plan and GHG reduction (Support): updates the California Transportation Plan requirements to address achievement of 40% GHG reduction from 1990 levels by 2030.
AB 65: Coastal protection and climate adaption (Support): applies forward-thinking specifications for how Prop 68 (2018) funds are to be used to address climate adaptation in coastal communities.
Governor’s budget: PCL, with many partners, worked with the administration to ensure new housing incentive funds would be directed to equitable compact development, resulting in a $500 million expansion of the Infill Infrastructure Grant program. PCL also worked with our affiliate National Wildlife Federation and others to extend California’s existing Habitat Conservation Fund until 2030.

Some losses:

SB 1: California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act (Support): would have encoded portions of the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and basic workplace safety laws that are not currently in California state law. Vetoed.
AB 430: Camp Fire Housing Assistance Act (Oppose): PCL has the utmost concern for the victims of the Camp Fire, as we do for all of the communities across California that have been struck by the increasingly devastating fires of recent years. However, AB 430, now signed, sets a bad precedent for disaster recovery. Read more here.
SB 127: Complete streets on state highways (Support): would have mandated improved requirements for safety and access to facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users on all State Highways. Vetoed.

Bills that stalled in 2019 but may move in 2020:

AB 1788: California Ecosystems Protection Act (Support): would expand common-sense restrictions on the use of anticoagulants and other damaging pesticides.
SB 25: Expedited judicial review for Opportunity Zone and publicly funded projects (Oppose): 
the farthest-reaching of many 2019 proposals, SB 25 would extend “expedited judicial review” to a broad range of publicly funded projects.
SB 50: Planning and zoning, permit streamlining and incentives: among many details, SB 50 proposes maximizing housing densities in all applicable “transit-rich” and “jobs-rich” areas statewide.
SB 5: Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program: the furthest a proposal has gotten to reinstate (something like) Redevelopment in California. The governor vetoed it, but we suspect it will not be the last proposal along these lines.
SB 526: State Mobility Action Plan for Healthy Communities, (Support): proposes a new level of inter-agency transportation planning that would be more accountable to California’s climate and equity goals, and provide greater discretion to the California Transportation Commission to prioritize VMT-reducing projects in jurisdictions that are not meeting their GHG reduction targets.