State Legislature Kicks Off New Session

State Legislature Kicks Off New Session

California legislative leaders began the 2017-18 session with passionate words, pledging their commitment to stand up for California’s progressive values in the face of the incoming Trump Administration. 

On December 5, as newly-elected and returning members of the California State Legislature were sworn in and the legislative session was convened, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon declared California’s commitment to “defend its people and our progress” and support for “justice and dignity for all.”  

Confronting California’s housing affordability crisis will be part of these priorities, as Speaker Rendon noted that the Legislature had unfinished business left to address from the last session, namely new revenues for affordable housing and transportation.

Now, NPH and lawmakers are busy developing proposals and packages that aim to deliver on these commitments. Long-time advocates and supporters will find a mix of both new and familiar proposals coming to the table in support of action on housing.

The Senate Democrats’ “California Rebuild” package, released last Tuesday, features two bills to fund affordable housing: SB 2, the Building Homes and Jobs Act (Senator Toni Atkins) which would establish a permanent source of funding for affordable housing through a $75 fee on real estate-related documents and SB 3, Senator Jim Beall’s $3 billion statewide general obligation bond for affordable housing that could go before voters in November of 2018. (Find more details about the infrastructure proposals here.)

Additional proposals to address various aspects of our affordability crisis include:

  • Affordable homes for school employees: AB 45 by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond would create a grant program at the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) for development of school employee housing.
  • Opportunity to Build: New San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener has introduced SB 35 with intent language to streamline the local housing approval process. Assemblymember Anna Caballero’s AB 30 would authorize by-right development in “underperforming infill” areas.
  • Local funding: Assemblymember Tony Thurmond’s AB 59 would provide funds for affordable housing to cities, housing trusts, land trusts and Habitat for Humanity. NPH has already conveyed concerns to Mr. Thurmond’s office regarding some of the bill’s language to change HCD’s Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF) matching grant program.Assemblymember Chris Holden has introduced AB 56 with intent language to fund affordable housing in impoverished areas of his district in southern California.
  • Healthy homes: SB 46 by Senator Connie Leyva would make permanent the Mobilehome Parks Act that mandates health and safety inspections. 

 

Stay tuned for more NPH updates on additional affordable housing legislative proposals in the coming weeks.

All members are invited to participate in NPH’s next Legislative Issues Committee Meeting which will be held on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. RSVP here. For more information, please contact NPH’s Policy Director Michael Lane at michael@nonprofithousing.org

Alina Harway