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Assembly Local Government Committee Votes to Remove Local Authority to Regulate People Living in Vehicles

AB 718 (Chu) Passes 7-1 and Moves to Assembly Floor

May 13, 2015
With a vast majority of legislators having a background in local government, current city officials watch to see how that local government experience bears on legislators decisions in the Capitol.
 
Often that background is on the forefront of the minds of legislators but sometimes they take action without fully analyzing the affect state policies have at the local level. The passage today of AB 718 (Chu) by the Assembly Local Government Committee is an example of well-intended legislation that is passed before there is sufficient review of local impacts.
 
Before the vote, the Assembly Local Government Committee added amendments to ensure the bill applies to charter cities and to prohibit the impounding of affected vehicles.
 
The Assembly Local Government Committee voted 7-1 with one abstention. The votes are as follows:
  • Assembly Member Marie Waldron (R-Escondido), No
  • Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), Abstention
  • Assembly Member Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), Aye
  • Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Aye
  • Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Aye
  • Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), Aye
  • Assembly Member Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Aye
  • Assembly Member Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), Aye
  • Assembly Member Eric Linder (R-Corona), Aye
The League is part of a coalition opposing the measure that includes the American Planning Association, California Chapter, California Business Properties Association, International Council of Shopping Centers, the California Law Enforcement Association of Records Supervisors and the California Police Chiefs Association, California Association of Code Enforcement Officers and California College and University Police Chiefs Association.
 
Sponsored by housing advocates and other groups, AB 718, would prohibit local agencies from enforcing laws and ordinances, or otherwise subject to civil or criminal penalties, the act of people sleeping or resting in a lawfully parked motor vehicle.
 
AB 718 is not a measure that balances the needs of all members of the community and legislators should reject this measure. It is simply not appropriate for the Legislature to attempt to remove local government authority to appropriately protect the public health, safety and welfare of their residents from issues that arise when people live outside of campgrounds in cars and trucks parked on public and private property. These are not easy issues to deal with, but they cannot responsibly be ignored.
 
Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times editorial, Homeless and living in a car: What rules should L.A. apply?, outlines the challenges the city of Los Angeles faces in crafting policy that responds to this in an appropriate manner. 
 
City officials hope that legislators, especially those sitting on Local Government Committees, would be careful with legislation that preempts local authority. The League and many other organizations and stakeholders believe that state officials can be most helpful by providing funding for affordable housing and emergency shelters. 
 
There are several major pending measures that can help restore funds for affordable housing and the May Revise is expected to yield additional state revenue. Rather than take actions to remove local authority, the League encourages legislators to support additional funding for affordable housing and homeless solutions.
 
City officials should take action to oppose this legislation and inform your legislators of the problems created when local government authority is removed. The League’s opposition and a sample oppose letter are available on the League’s website.


 
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