California’s housing crisis is dire and it’s hitting poor and working class families the hardest. Over half of CA renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent and nearly half spend more than 50%. The outdated and extreme limits established by Costa Hawkins are constraining the ability of local communities to adopt even modest expansions of their rent stabilization laws. AB 36 provides reasonable updates to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act by allowing local jurisdictions to apply rent stabilization measures to rental units that are more than 10 years old and single family rentals and condos, with an exemption for small landlords.
In 2012, California became the first state to enact the Human Right to Water law, statutorily recognizing that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” Unfortunately, far too many Californians lack access to such water and millions depend on contaminated water. As a result, there is a movement to create a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water fund to address the needs of communities around the state. This bill requires funding for a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to be displayed in the annual Governor’s Budget and requires the LAO to provide an assessment on the effectiveness of expenditures from the fund every five years.
California currently faces a public health crisis of obesity and diabetes. Over half of all Californians are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Individuals who are diabetic are more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or a number of other health outcomes. Health outcomes are especially dire in low-income communities and communities of color. Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet and play an especially significant role in this crisis. AB 138 levies a 2cent/fluid ounce fee on sugary drinks, the revenues of which will be used to address the health and economic impacts of diabetes and obesity.
Existing California law requires animal blood banks to collect blood exclusively from so-called “closed colonies” – which confine donor animals to cages and kennels for months or years. By contrast, other states allow blood banks to collect animal blood in a community-based, voluntary setting. These programs don’t rely on confined animals and lead to greater access and reduced waiting times, which can be critical in emergency situations. AB 366 phases out closed colonies and allows the commercial sale of dog blood collected only through volunteer donor programs.
In California, health insurance plans and policies are not required to cover hearing aids for children. As a result, most families on privately funded plans do not have coverage and are either forced to forego hearing aids for their child or pay the steep costs out-of-pocket. A child’s ability to hear should not be determined by their family’s income. AB 598 will ensure that it no longer is by requiring insurance companies to cover children’s’ hearing aids.
Los Angeles County is facing a tremendous homelessness crisis as a result of increasing rents and stagnating incomes. For more than 10 years the West Los Angeles Armory has served as a winter shelter. In April 2017, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors moved to examine all winter shelters in the County to determine if they could better serve the growing homeless population by becoming year-round bridge housing. However, in order to enter into a lease, the Legislature must approve the lease of the property. AB 653 authorizes the Director of General Services, with the approval of the Adjutant General, to lease a portion of the West LA Armory to LA County to build a year-round bridge housing program.
Gamete banks have been essential in helping thousands of couples create their families, particularly LGBT+ couples. Federal laws require gamete banks to collect identifying information from donors. However, there is a lack of uniformity for the collection and reporting processes across the hundreds of gamete banks in California. AB 785 streamlines the transition of donor information from one bank to another by requiring gamete banks receiving donors’ gametes to maintain the contact information of the gamete bank from which the samples were received. The measure also clarifies health code regulations to include oocyte and embryo donors.
In 2016, the State Legislature passed AB 801 (Bloom), which mandated academic and financial support for certain homeless students attending a public state institution. The statute provided homeless youth with priority enrollment and a designated liaison to help navigate the financial aid process and other available support services for students. Unfortunately, the statute will “sunset” (or come to an end) on January 1, 2020. AB 806 eliminates this sunset and expands the eligible population to include currently homeless youth or youth that are at risk of becoming homeless.
California is currently 44th in the nation in access to occupational therapists. With an aging population and a growing need for occupational therapists, Californians are looking towards the California State University (CSU) to meet those demands. Recently, the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education shifted the minimum requirement for certification from a Masters to a Doctorate degree. AB 829 authorizes the CSU to award Doctorate degrees in Occupational Therapy to comply with changing professional standards. With this authority, the CSU will be able to continue its essential community partnerships and provide an accessible path to a career in occupational therapy.
In 2016, the California State Legislature passed AB 2299 (Bloom), which created a standard, ministerial approval process for ADUs. This was meant to reduce the barriers and lengthy permitting processes that local jurisdictions had implemented to reduce ADU construction. Since the passage of that measure, thousands of units have been permitted. However, ambiguities in ADU statute still exist and some cities, resistant to the creation of new housing, continue to find loopholes in the statute. AB 881 updates and clarifies state ADU law.
AB 1176 allows the treasurer to invest in bonds, notes, debentures, or other similar obligations of a foreign government, providing the treasurer with additional investment options that can provide higher returns.
Removing land use barriers to equitable and inclusive development in high-resource areas is an essential part of addressing California’s housing crisis and increasing choice and opportunity for low-income families. AB 1279 identifies high-resource areas with strong indicators of exclusionary patterns and subjects these areas to zoning overrides to encourage the production of both small-scale market-rate housing projects and larger-scale mixed-income affordable projects.
The Ellis Act gives rental property owners the right to exit the rental housing market, but also places conditions and restrictions on landlords who evict tenants in order to exit the market. As the housing crisis has driven up the market rate for rental units, landlords are increasingly subverting the Ellis Act and using it to evict tenants living in rent control units. AB 1399 clarifies that the Ellis Act is only to be used by a landlord who intends to go out of the rental business permanently. The measure also clarifies that landlords cannot then return units to the market in a piecemeal fashion.
The Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification provides certain children - specifically those who have been subject to state juvenile court proceedings related to abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc - the ability to seek lawful permanent residence in the United States. Under existing law, requests for SIJS can only be filed within family law petitions. AB 1412 creates a standalone, fast-track Special Immigrant Juvenile Status proceeding that is separate from the following family law petitions: divorce, legal separation, petition for custody and support, or parentage.
AB 1465 remedies a discrepancy between state regulations and local ordinances regarding the licensing and operation of cannabis consumption cafes/lounges. Proposition 64 (the Adult Use Marijuana Act, AUMA, approved by voters in 2016) allows cities to permit cannabis consumption cafes/lounges if they wish; however, current State regulations do not include a separate license for cannabis consumption cafes/lounges. This is problematic because cities must mold their cannabis consumption cafe/lounge regulations to conform with State regulations for adult-use cannabis retail businesses, even though cannabis consumption cafes/lounges are more closely aligned with hospitality based businesses than retail ones. Hospitality based businesses have different business models than cannabis retail businesses; requiring cannabis consumption cafes/lounges to conform to retail regulations significantly hampers their ability to effectively operate. AB 1465 mitigates the discrepancy by adding a separate license category for cannabis consumption cafes/lounges that include several different operating standards.
AB 1511 amends current law to recognize the State Coastal Conservancy as the state agency that administers the affairs of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission in lieu of the State Water Resources Control Board. This bill also specifies the priorities of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, which are to promote, support, and help achieve restoration and enhancement of Santa Monica Bay and its watershed.
AB 1610 establishes a special statute for the Hollywood Central Park project in the City of Los Angeles. The bill requires the California Department of Transportation to provide the City of Los Angeles with the necessary permits for the construction and operation of the park as well as the right to take ownership of the airspace over the U.S. 101 freeway and park structure. This bill also requires the Department to review and approve within a 60-day time period the necessary design, environmental, or construction documents for the park. The Department cannot require the preparation of a project study report for the park. Finally, the bill prohibits any person from bringing an action or proceeding under the California Environmental Quality Act to set aside or annul the Environmental Impact Report to be prepared for the park.
California needs more than 1.8 million additional homes by 2025 to meet demand and projected growth. A challenge of meeting the housing demand includes the lack of stable funding for affordable home development. AB 1659 will amend the existing law to allow nonprofit public benefit corporations, including the proposed LA HFC, to issue bonds that are exempt from California state income tax. The tax exemption will allow the LA HFC will help incentivize developers to build affordable housing.
AB 1672 requires manufacturers of nonwoven wipes products to conspicuously label both flushable (wipes intended to be disposed in the toilet) and non-flushable wipes products (diaper wipes and cleaning wipes) in order to provide clear consumer information about the proper disposal methods for different types of disposable wet wipes. This will help keep wipes - which regularly contribute to blockages when they rag together with other wipes, fats oils and grease, and tree roots – out of the system.
AB 1703 brings together California’s leading experts in a variety of relevant fields to explore how emerging brain research can transform and improve k-12 educational outcomes for all types of learners throughout CA and will help create new teaching standards reflecting that research. The bill will authorize collaboration between UCLA and UCSF to identify and develop the links between brain research and classroom practice and allow UCLA to fund leadership of the California Collaborative Development of model approaches in 8 to 10 schools throughout the state.
Affordable housing development projects are crucial to meeting the state’s growing demand for low-income housing and reducing homelessness. The costs associated with building and maintaining housing properties, however, continue to increase as well. AB 1743 will exempt affordable housing projects from the Special Tax to reduce the cost of building housing, incentivize developers, and remove the potential financial burden placed on renters.
AB 1766 would require the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) to collect data on the number of individuals living with severe mental illness (SMI) who are currently residing in licensed Adult Residential Facilities (ARF). In addition, it would require CCLD to set a standard of care for facilities that house this vulnerable population.
Regulations enacted in 2014 by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to minimize harm from one subset of rodenticides—Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides—have proven ineffective as necropsy data performed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other scientists has demonstrated that unnecessary poisonings continue to pose a rampant threat to wildlife and pests. AB 1788 seeks to take stronger measures to protect children, pets, and wildlife from unintentional rodenticide poisoning by banning the use and sale of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides state wide and banning the use of first generation anticoagulant rodenticides on state lands and buildings.