News

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April 12, 2019 -- A 2016 law authored by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom that makes accessory dwelling units (ADU), or "granny flats," easier to build is headed for some updates.

On Wednesday, AB 881, which clarifies key provisions of the existing law, passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee and is headed to the Appropriations Committee.

“Accessory dwelling units are an innovative and affordable housing that can help California meet its housing needs,” Bloom said.

“Cities that have embraced ADUs have built or permitted thousands of new units, while those resistant to housing construction have pursued loopholes and erected new barriers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Several major cities are now considering a so-called “congestion” tax, on the heels of New York approving the controversial first-in-the-nation fee on downtown drivers in a bid to ease gridlock.

New York state lawmakers earlier this month approved a congestion surcharge for drivers at all Manhattan points of entry below 60th Street, the culmination of a decade-long fight that began in 2007 when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg began pushing the plan. Now supporters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle and Portland are considering following New York’s lead, in an effort to cut down on traffic and pollution and raise money for public transportation.

 
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of south Sacramento, the property looks like any other on the block: a single-story house that could use a new paint job, a large front yard that could use a little tidying, a chain-link fence surrounding the lot.

The tenants inside have no complaints—they have a good relationship with the property manager, and broken things get fixed on time. But like millions of renters in this increasingly costly state, they say that if their landlord raised the rent, they couldn’t afford to stay.

State law doesn’t do much to protect against such a scenario. Because they rent a single-family home, they wouldn’t benefit from rent control even if Sacramento votes to adopt it next year. They could be evicted without being given a specific reason why.

Monday, April 15, 2019

When Fluffy and Fido need surgery or transfusions, their humans have other worries besides where the blood comes from.

But state lawmakers are doing the worrying for them, trying to sort out exactly which canines should be allowed to donate blood and which shouldn’t.

Currently, most blood products used in veterinary medicine come from California, where dueling doggie blood bank bills have emerged to confront “closed colonies,” where animals are kept confined and bled at regular intervals before they are put up for adoption.

Many of those animals are greyhounds who’ve spent arduous years racing. They’re either “donors” or “blood slaves,” depending on one’s point of view, and the sale of their blood products is a multimillion-dollar industry that affects pet welfare nationwide.

The dueling bills in Sacramento present two options: evolution or revolution.

Revolution

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A bill to streamline construction of small backyard homes passed a key committee earlier this week.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom introduced A.B. 881, which passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee Wednesday on a 7-0 vote, to remove barriers to constructing accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Bloom has heralded ADUs as a way to solve California’s housing crisis and passed a bill in 2016 designed to ease local and statewide roadblocks to building what are sometimes called back houses or granny flats. The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“Accessory dwelling units are an innovative and affordable housing that can help California meet its housing needs,” Bloom said.

e and affordable housing that can help California meet its housing needs,” Bloom said.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

California lawmakers have shelved a measure to outlaw “Big Gulp”-style sodas to avoid dragging down the rest of a package of bills that sponsors say is aimed at reducing obesity, including a soda tax and health warning labels on sugary drinks.

Among half a dozen measures proposed in February to address health effects from sugary drinks, the large-soda ban drew some of the heaviest opposition from business groups. Hours after it was shelved, the Assembly Health Committee voted 8 to 5 on Tuesday night to approve a soda fee bill and send it on toward the Assembly floor.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April 10, 2019 -- Assemblymember Richard Bloom's bill taxing sugary drinks was approved by the Health Committee Tuesday, nearly four years after the same committee soundly defeated a similar measure by the former Santa Monica mayor.

Bloom's AB 138 -- which would levy a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks to address California’s diabetes and obesity crisis -- would be the first such state tax approved in the country.