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The League and Cities Gear up for Legislature’s Return on Aug. 17

Cities Encouraged to Remain Vigilant for Gut-and-Amends, Contact Legislators, Engage on Top Bills

August 14, 2015
When legislators are back in the Capitol on Monday, they will have just four weeks — until Sept. 11 — to complete their work for the first year of the two-year 2015-16 legislative session.
 
The League this week has been preparing for the end of session with the Fix Our Roads Coalition press briefing on transportation funding on Monday followed by Tuesday’s two-hour webinar with member cities on priority bills. Cities will be called upon in these final weeks to help the League advocate on a range of issues including transportation, medical marijuana, drones, redevelopment, economic development, Cap-and-Trade revenues, affordable housing funding, waste disposal, water and elections.

Be Engaged, Take Action
 
The last weeks of the session are typically extremely busy and chaotic in the Capitol. The League’s legislative staff will be lobbying on dozens of priority bills as well as any gut-and-amended bills that emerge. Cities should expect frequent updates from the League on legislative developments. The League’s grassroots regional public affairs managers will be in constant contact with city staff and CA Cities Advocate will publish multiple times a week to keep cities apprised of breaking developments from Sacramento.
 
Action alerts will be sent via the League’s grassroots public affairs managers as well as on the League’s new advocacy app. This new mobile tool enables city officials to rapidly respond to action alerts from their mobile device. This app will be especially important on the final days of session when the Legislature works late into the night. To learn more about this new tool and sign up for the app, contact your grassroots regional public affairs manager.
 
Once the session wraps up on Sept. 11, the League will issue sign/veto requests on legislation that makes it to the Governor’s desk. He has until Oct. 11 to take action on bills.
 
League staff has prepared a list of major legislation that the organization is advocating on in these weeks. Cities are encouraged to review this list of bills and contact their legislators immediately. This list is available on the League’s website.
 
To access bill text, League position letters and sample letters, please go to www.cacities.org/billsearch and plug the bill number into the search function.
 
Below are a few of the biggest issues the League is working on for the end of session. Information on other important bills is contained in both the major bill list as well as the slides from the End of Session Webinar on Aug. 11.
 
Transportation Funding
 
With transportation infrastructure funding being one of two special sessions called by Gov. Jerry Brown, a broad coalition launched on Monday with a press briefing to talk with reporters about priorities for transportation funding. To date, 22 bills and one constitutional amendment have been introduced in the special on transportation funding session. Nine bills, including SBX1 1 (Beall), are scheduled to be heard in the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Development Committee on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 9:30 a.m.
 
The Fix Our Roads Coalition believes seven priorities are crucial to fund and maintain California’s state and local transportation system. As part of this coalition, the League is advocating for a $6 billion annual funding package, split 50-50 between the state and locals. The full principles and additional information are available at www.FixCARoads.com.
 
The League is urging city officials to call their legislators in support of this proposal and email Assistant Legislative Director Jennifer Whiting lists of shovel-ready projects. Cities are also encouraged to pass a resolution in support of the coalition proposal. A sample proposal is available on the League’s website.
 
Medical Marijuana
 
The League is conditioning its continued support of AB 266 (Bonta, Cooley, Jones-Sawyer, Lackey), a bill to regulate medical marijuana businesses, on removing a provision challenging local control. Despite many other provisions protecting local control, the critical issue now is whether a provision remains in the bill that in effect states that Prop. 215 trumps local ordinances. The League is now heavily involved in negotiating its removal. 
 
AB 266 requires dual licensing, under which marijuana businesses must have both a state-issued license, and a local license or permit, in order to comply with the law. Cities are encouraged to contact their legislators to ask that they ensure that the League is satisfied with the bill’s local control provisions, before supporting AB 266. Locals must stress how crucial it is that the local control provisions remain strong in the bill during end-of-session negotiations.
 
Redevelopment Dissolution
 
AB 113 (Committee on Budget), the budget trailer bill that would reverse current redevelopment dissolution statute, remains pending in the Senate. This League-opposed bill attempts to reverse court decisions and existing incentives offered to cities in AB 1484 of 2012 as encouragement to expeditiously resolve issues and obtain a Department of Finance “finding of completion.” Now that many agencies have made the concessions necessary to obtain these findings, it is simply wrong to move the goalposts and change the rules.
 
A six-member Assembly Democrat Working Group has been established to take a more deliberate look at the measure. Nearly 100 cities and the League oppose AB 113 and the League encourages city officials to keep urging legislators to reject this Department of Finance proposal and let them know that cities have been harmed enough through the dissolution process.
 
Bills in Appropriations Committee
 
At this point during the session, the appropriations committee in each house is busy reviewing legislation. Aug. 28 is the deadline for the fiscal committees to complete their work before the final two weeks of the session when the Legislature can only hold floor sessions.
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee has a full agenda on Monday, Aug. 17 when it convenes at 10 a.m. The League will be advocating on the following bills:
  • HOT AB 2 (Alejo) Community revitalization authority. League Position: Support.
  • AB 22 (Rodriguez) Office of Emergency Services: oil-by-rail spills: firefighters. League position: Support.
  • HOT AB 35 (Chiu) Income taxes: credits: low-income housing: allocation increase. League position: Support.
  • AB 88 (Gomez) Sales and use taxes: exemption: energy or water efficient home appliances. League position: Oppose Unless Amended.
  • AB 254 (Hernandez) Election dates. League position: Oppose Unless Amended.
  • AB 259 (Dababneh) Personal information: privacy. League position: Oppose.
  • HOT AB 266 (Bonta) Medical cannabis. League position: Support.
  • AB 388 (Chang) Housing: veterans: supportive and transitional housing: reports. League position: Support.
  • HOT AB 744 (Chau) Planning and zoning: density bonuses. League position: Oppose.
  • AB 1157 (Nazarian) Property taxation: certified aircraft assessment. League position: Support.
  • AB 1222 (Bloom) Tow trucks. League position: Support.
  • AB 1236 (Chiu) Local ordinances: electric vehicle charging stations. League position: Oppose Unless Amended.
  • AB 1301 (Jones-Sawyer) Voting rights: preclearance. League position: Oppose.
  • AB 1347 (Chiu) Public contracts: claims. League position: Oppose. 
The Assembly Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 8 a.m. The League will be advocating on the following bills:
  • HOT ACA 4 (Frazier) Local government transportation projects: special taxes: voter approval. League position: Support.
  • SB 3 (Leno) Minimum wage: adjustment. League position: Oppose.
  • HOT SB 25 (Roth) Local government finance: property tax revenue allocation: vehicle license fee. League position: Support.
  • HOT SB 239 (Hertzberg) Local services: contracts: fire protection services. League position: Oppose.
  • SB 272 (Hertzberg) The California Public Records Act: local agencies: inventory. League position: Oppose Unless Amended.
  • SB 331 (Mendoza) Public contracts: local agencies: negotiations. League position: Oppose.
  • SB 533 (Pan) Cities and counties: sales and use tax agreements. League position: Support.


 
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