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Cal Cities highlights top bills impacting cities in Spring Legislative Briefing

Cal Cities releases priority bills list to guide discussions at upcoming Legislative Action Days

May 5, 2021
More than 300 city leaders participated in a Cal Cities briefing on May 4 to learn about the most important bills in the state Legislature impacting cities this year. 
 
The briefing featured updates on a number of key bills currently moving through the Legislature and highlighted the important role city officials play in advancing Cal Cities’ advocacy efforts.

While the pandemic presented many changes to the legislative process, it certainly did not impact the amount of bills that were introduced this year. Cal Cities is actively monitoring 1,885 bill that impact cities and have designated 16 priority bills cities should consider taking action on.

Cal Cities Priority Bills
  • AB 14 (Aguiar-Curry) Communications. Broadband Services. California Advanced Services Fund. This measure would reform the existing California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) surcharge to help close the digital divide. Specifically, it would continue the collection of the CASF fund beyond its original 2022 sunset date, and make it easier for local governments to apply for these infrastructure grants. This would create a long-term sustainable funding source for cities for broadband deployment. Cal Cities Position: Support
  • AB 215 (Chiu) Housing Element: Regional Housing Need. Relative Progress Determination. This measure would require cities to have a mid-cycle housing element consultation with the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) if housing production is below the regional average; require cities to amend their laws so as to attain HCD’s “pro-housing designation” if housing production is substantially below the regional average; and allow the Attorney General to enforce violations of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (SB 330, Skinner). Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • AB 339 (Lee) Local Government. Open and Public Meetings. This measure was significantly amended on May 4 in the Assembly Local Government Committee to only require telephonic or internet based call-in options for city councils and boards of supervisors with jurisdictions larger than 250,000 people. The prior requirements related to translation and interpretation services have been moved and the amended measure now sunsets on December 31, 2023. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • AB 377 (Rivas) Water Quality. Impaired Waters. This measure would overhaul the existing regulatory system for storm water and add significant costs to local governments to pay for storm water and water quality infrastructure. Additionally, AB 377 would circumvent the regulatory discretion and permitting processes of the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and impose strict penalties on cities who are not in compliance with State Water Resources Control Board orders. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • AB 989 (Gabriel) Housing Accountability Act. Appeals. Housing Accountability Committee. This measure would establish a housing appeals committee and would establish procedures by which an applicant who proposes a housing development project pursuant to the Housing Accountability Act may appeal a local agency’s decision on the project application to the committee. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • AB 1401 (Friedman) Residential and Commercial Development. Parking Requirements. This measure would prohibit a local government from imposing a minimum parking requirement, or enforcing a minimum parking requirement, on residential, commercial, or other development if the development is located on a parcel that is within one-half mile walking distance of public transit or located within a low-vehicle miles traveled area. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 2 (Bradford) Peace Officers. Certification. Civil Rights. This measure would set standards for peace officer decertification and eliminates qualified immunity for peace officers and custodial officers, or public entities employing peace officers or custodial officers sued under the act. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 4 (Gonzalez) Communications. California Advanced Services Fund. Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program. Surcharges. This measure would reform the existing California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) surcharge to help close the digital divide. Specifically, it would continue the collection of the CASF fund beyond its original 2022 sunset date, and make it easier for local governments to apply for these infrastructure grants. This would create a long-term sustainable funding source for cities for broadband deployment. Cal Cities Position: Support
  • SB 9 (Atkins) Housing and Development. Approvals. This bill would require a local government to ministerially approve a housing development containing two residential units in single-family residential zones. Additionally, this measure would require local governments to ministerially approve urban lot splits. Cal Cities Position: Oppose Unless Amended
  • SB 16 (Skinner) Peace Officers. Release of Records. This measure would make every incident involving use of force, sustained findings of unlawful arrests and unlawful searches, and incidents where a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in conduct involving prejudice or discrimination on the basis of specified protected classes to be subject to disclosure. Additionally, SB 16 would require indefinite retention of all complaints and related reports or findings currently in the possession of a department or agency. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 210 (Wiener) Automated License Plate Recognition Systems. Use of Data. This measure would require Automated License Plate Reader data that does not match a hot list be destroyed within 24 hours. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 278 (Leyva) Public Employees’ Retirement System. Disallowed Compensation. Benefit Adjustments. This bill would require public agencies to directly pay retirees and/or their beneficiaries disallowed retirement benefits using their general fund dollars. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 555 (McGuire) Local Agencies. Transient Occupancy Taxes. Short-Term Rental Facilitator. Collection This measure would provide an opt-in program for cities to delegate short-term rental Transient Occupancy Taxes collection authority to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Cal Cities Position: Oppose Unless Amended
  • SB 556 (Dodd) Street Light Poles, Traffic Signal Poles. Small Wireless Facilities Attachments This measure would directly conflict with Federal Communications Commission's adopted regulations on wireless services deployment. It would require local governments to make space available on street light poles, traffic signal poles, utility poles, and other public infrastructure to telecommunications providers. Additionally, SB 556 would create ambiguity in the fees local governments can charge for access to their infrastructure. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 617 (Wiener) Residential Solar Energy Systems. Permitting. This measure would require every city in a county with a population of 150,000 or more, by September 2023, to implement an online, automated permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits for a residential photovoltaic solar energy system and an energy storage system paired with a residential photovoltaic solar energy system. Cal Cities Position: Oppose
  • SB 619 (Laird) Organic Waste. Reduction Regulations. This measure would seek to help local governments implement SB 1383 (Lara, 2016), and the subsequent CalRecycle organic waste regulations. Cal Cities Position: Support in Concept
As the legislative session progresses, updated and new information regarding Cal Cities priority bills can be found on our website. Cal Cities is strongest when joined by the voices of city leaders and partners, and we urge all cities to engage on these important measures.
 
2021 Legislative Action Days
 
Cal Cities is hosting one of its cornerstone advocacy events of the year, 2021 Legislative Action Days on May 12-13. Join hundreds of your fellow Cal Cities members for this two-day virtual advocacy event, and play a key role in ensuring local priorities are heard in the Legislature and Administration. This event will provide city officials a forum to advocate with key legislators on many of the priority bills highlighted above. Registration for this event is now open and is also free for Cal Cities members and League Partners.


 
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