SACRAMENTO – Two bills aimed at tackling two of California’s most pressing issues – the housing crisis and safe access to public transportation – were heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Both bills, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with solid support.
AB 721 – Addressing Vestiges of Racist and Exclusionary Language in Housing Covenants
AB 721 will provide property owners with a process to remove exclusionary language in housing deeds to allow for more affordable and supportive housing that is consistent with local zoning While court decisions and the California Legislature have made racially restrictive housing covenants unenforceable, these covenants often contain other vestiges of discrimination – such as limits on the number and size of units that can be built. Despite their discriminatory origin and clear conflict with local zoning, these restrictions remain enforceable against an affordable housing developer. As a result, threats of lawsuits over the restrictive covenants make it difficult for affordable housing developers to get title insurance coverage and funding from lenders. This is a necessary measure to promote the equitable development of affordable and supportive housing in the state. AB 721, supported by the California Apartment Association, Public Counsel and the Santa Monica Community Corporation, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee late last night and is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 917 – Safe and Reliable Access to Transit Services
AB 917 will provide public transit agencies with a tool to ensure safe and rapid bus service by allowing agencies to capture images of vehicles that violate transit-only lanes and bus stops during peak hours. The images will be sent to the local parking enforcement agency to review the images and issue citations. AB 917 is modeled after the successes of existing camera enforcement programs and aims to deter bus-lane violations and improve travel time and reliability. As public transit agencies across the state work to address declining ridership, AB 917 provides transit agencies with a cost-effective strategy to remain competitive in attracting more riders by providing reliable service. AB 917, sponsored by the California Transit Association and LA Metro, will next be heard on the Senate Floor.