Partners, Allies, and Friends,
Thursday, September 14th marked the final day of the 2023 legislative session. This year, Housing California, Residents United Network (RUN), and our coalition members advanced several impactful pieces of legislation, including Roadmap Home 2030 evidence-based solutions aimed at growing the supply of affordable housing, protecting renters, solving homelessness and addressing the deep racial inequities in our housing system. These legislative wins highlight that when we work together, we can find powerful solutions to the state’s toughest problems.
Two of Housing California’s sponsored bills landed on the Governor’s desk, AB 1449 (Alvarerz) and AB 1307 (Wicks). AB 1449 facilitates the development of affordable housing by exempting from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) certain 100% affordable housing projects throughout California. AB 1307 declares that noise generated by the unamplified voices of residents in a residential project cannot be considered a significant effect on the environment pursuant to CEQA. By removing these roadblocks to housing development, we will increase the supply of affordable homes throughout the state.
Housing California was thrilled to have AB 1307 signed into law September 7th by the Governor.
Some priority bills that Housing California supported this year that have reached the Governor’s desk:
- AB 84 (Ward) which will improve implementation of the welfare property tax exemption for affordable housing.
- AB 531 (Irwin) the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond which will place a $4.7 billion bond on the March 2024 ballot to finance loans or grants for the acquisition of capital assets for the conversion, rehabilitation, or new construction of permanent supportive housing for veterans and others who are homeless and meet specified criteria, and for grants for the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program.
- AB 1085 (Maienschein) which requires the Department of Healthcare Services to seek federal approval to make housing support services a Medi-Cal benefit if the independent analysis finds that the state has sufficient network capacity to meet state and federal guidelines to create a new housing support services benefit.
- AB 1386 (Gabriel) which would increase the flexibility of California’s efforts on veteran homelessness to ensure veteran-specific supportive housing quickly and expeditiously rehouses our most vulnerable veterans experiencing homelessness.
- AB 1418 (McKinnor) will prohibit cities and counties from enacting “crime-free housing” programs and policies that include provisions such as requiring landlords to evict tenants for alleged criminal activity or contact with law enforcement.
- SB 4 (Wiener) will provide a critical tool to streamline the production of new affordable housing for low-income people on faith-based land.
- SB 326 (Eggman) which places on the March ballot proposed reforms to the Mental Health Services Act including broadening the eligible population to include veterans and expands services counties can use the funds for including a 30% set aside for housing.
- SB 18 (McGuire) the Tribal Housing Reconstitution and Resiliency Act would create a first-ever Tribal Housing Grant Program.
- SB 469 (Allen) expands the list of state and federal programs and funds that are excluded from the scope of Article 34.
- SB 482 (Blakespear) requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to offer capitalized operating subsidy reserves in its Multifamily Housing Program.
- SB 567 (Durazo) which closes loopholes that allow for rampant abuse of the no-fault just causes for eviction and provides clear mechanisms for accountability and enforcement against violations of the Tenant Protection Act.
The following constitutional amendments were passed by the Legislature and will go to the 2024 ballot:
- ACA 1 (Aguiar Curry) will propose to voters a constitutional amendment to lower the necessary vote threshold from a two-thirds supermajority to 55 percent to approve local general obligation (GO) bonds and special taxes for affordable housing and public infrastructure projects. Will appear on the November 2024 ballot.
- ACA 13 (Ward) will retain and protect the majority vote, requiring any initiative that increases voter approval requirements to also be approved at the higher level, and would ensure local governments can always ask voters for their opinion on issues. Will appear on the November 2024 ballot.
The Governor now has until October 14th to sign or veto these bills. Thank you to everyone who supported our priorities over the year. We look forward to working with our partners, legislators, and the new leadership in the Legislature to craft solutions in 2024 that meet the scale of the need and move us toward a California with homes, health, and prosperity for all in thriving, sustainable communities.