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Legislature Reconvenes for Year Two with Eye on Key Issues for Cities

January 6, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom will release his proposed January budget while Legislators work on two-year bills to meet the Jan. 31 deadline.
Senate and Assembly leadership is expected to remain the same with Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) as President pro Tempore of the Senate and Assembly Member Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) as Assembly Speaker. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) is expected to remain in her role along with Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).
Entering into the second year of the Newsom Administration, this legislative year again promises to feature numerous, bold policy proposals from the Administration and Legislature addressing statewide and national issues such as affordable housing, homelessness, gun control, healthcare access, and climate change.
From the outset, legislators and staff will be busy submitting bill requests to the Legislative Counsel by Jan. 24 to meet the Feb. 21 bill introduction deadline for the year. Legislative policy committees ramp up typically in March, but informational hearings begin early in the year. A tentative 2020 legislative calendar can be found in the most recent Senate Publications
Several Two-Year Priorities Await Action; Strong Budget Expected
The 2020 Legislative Session will begin with high expectations for the Legislature’s and Governor’s budget and policy priorities and at the same time calls for ‘tempered expectations’ on available funds. The tone will be set by the Governor who will unveil a budget proposal by the Jan. 10 constitutional deadline and deliver a State of the State Address to the Legislature in early 2020.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office in November issued its FY 2020-21 fiscal outlook, noting the positive condition of the state budget and additional capacity to grow budget reserves. However, the report highlights signs of weakening economic performance and advises limited spending on new on-going commitments to give the state the best chance to weather revenue shortfalls in various recession scenarios. The League will provide a comprehensive review of the budget relevant to cities shortly after its release. 
Meanwhile, Legislators will be racing to keep alive several ‘two-year’ measures of interest to cities that must pass their house of origin by Jan. 31 in order to remain eligible for action this year. Efforts include legislation to spur the construction of housing, support individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and address the growing plastic recycling market crisis.  On a parallel track, the League advocacy team expects to analyze nearly 2,000 proposals by the Feb. 21 deadline for their impacts to cities.
Two-Year Bills of Interest to Cities
SB 50 (Wiener) Planning and Zoning. Housing Development Incentives
This measure would allow developers of certain types of housing projects to override locally developed and adopted height limitations, housing densities, parking requirements, and limit design review standards. Additionally, SB 50 would create a new two-tiered process that exempts small cities in small counties from the most extreme provisions of the measure.
AB 1484 (Grayson) Mitigation Fee Act. Housing Development
This measure would make numerous changes to the Mitigation Fee Act and significantly limit how local governments impose fees to help mitigate the impacts of a housing development project. These fees are essential in order to provide the services and facilities necessary to support those living in the housing development.
SB 54 (Allen) and AB 1080 (Gonzalez) CA Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act
These measures would require Cal Recycle to adopt a comprehensive regulatory scheme that would help to reduce the waste associated with single-use packaging and products by 75 percent by 2030. Specifically, the bill would require producers to register with Cal Recycle and provide data on their single-use packaging to help source reduce to the maximum extent possible. The bill would also allow producers and retailers to work together through a product stewardship organization to help meet California’s reduction goals.
SB 266 (Leyva) Disallowed Pension Compensation
This measure would require public agencies to directly pay retirees and/or their beneficiaries disallowed retirement benefits using general fund dollars in the event that retirement benefits are calculated and administered incorrectly.
AB 418 (Kalra) Union Agent-Represented Worker Privilege
This measure would expand the current evidentiary privilege against disclosure of communications to also include union agent-represented worker communications.
AB 1356 (Ting) Local Jurisdiction: Retail Commercial Cannabis Activity
This measure requires that if more than 50 percent of the voters of a local jurisdiction voted in favor of Proposition 64, these local jurisdictions would be required to issue a minimum number of licenses authorizing retail cannabis activity within that jurisdiction. More specifically, this measure requires these cities to issue a minimum of one retail cannabis license for every four liquor licenses, or one retail cannabis license for every 10,000 residents.
League Activities in January
City officials will be in Sacramento for a number of key events in January with the opportunity to hear a summary of the Governor's recently released January budget, receive legislative updates, and meet the League's 2020 leadership.
New Mayors and Council Members Academy, Sacramento, Jan. 22-24 — The New Mayors and Council Members Academy being held Jan. 22-24 in Sacramento will cover the basic legal and practical framework in which city officials operate. The conference is designed for both newly elected officials and veterans on city councils. Register online.
Sacramento Legislative Reception — On Wednesday, Jan. 22, the League will hold its annual Legislative Reception in Sacramento, which brings together city officials, senators, assembly members, constitutional officers and others for peer-to-peer engagement. The reception will be at Mix Downtown from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
League Policy Committees — League policy committees will also meet Jan. 23–24 in Sacramento to begin discussion on key policy proposals, hear from expert speakers and receive an update on the Governor’s proposed FY 2020-21 budget. Policy committee meeting information can be found on the League’s website.

League 2020 Leadership
  • President John Dunbar, mayor, Yountville
  • First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker, council member, El Centro 
  • Second Vice President Cindy Silva, council member, Walnut Creek
  • Immediate Past President Jan Arbuckle, council member, Grass Valley 

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