CALBO In-Action: 2021 Legislative Update
As you know with a full-time state legislature, the work in Sacramento never stops. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you as I kick off my tenure at CALBO in the midst of a surprisingly busy year for legislative bills.
As way of introduction, my name is Brady Guertin and I am the new Public Affairs Manager for CALBO. I am tasked with the day-to-day governmental affairs priorities, which means, I’m working on your behalf each day in Sacramento. My work involves the direction and analysis of the CALBO Legislative Committee, the CALBO Board of Directors – and of course you – the members. Given that a new two-year legislative term just commenced in January, the CALBO Legislative Team thought a few of the pivotal measures that might impact the operations of your department might be of interest to you.
To date, we have been on top of tracking the over 2,000 bills that have been introduced in the California State Legislature this year and have narrowed down our list to 44 bills to keep an eye on through the legislative process. Of these 44 bills, CALBO has taken a formal Support or Oppose position on nine of them. Of all measures of CALBO interest, we have already provided bill position letters, offered amendments, given public comment, and in many cases, committee testimony.
CALBO’s efforts have been rewarded so far in this legislative session. As of April 23, nearly one-third of our priority bills have become two-year bills (meaning they will be acted upon next year as opposed to this year). Additionally, these bills have brought CALBO to the table as the authors look to shore up their language and move their respective bills forward next year. I’ve been working with several legislative offices and plan to keep the dialogue open in the coming months relative to CALBO bills of interest.
Without a doubt, our largest priority bill this year is SB 617 by Senator Wiener of San Francisco. This bill would mandate all local governments to develop an automated permitting process for residential solar energy systems. CALBO has engaged heavily with the bill sponsor and author’s office. Further, we have offered two-rounds of substantive amendments along with the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) but have yet to have our concerns addressed. Thus, CALBO remains opposed to SB 617. I have submitted our position letter on the bill to the respective stakeholders and have worked to keep a coalition of like-minded local government advocates working lock-step with CALBO. You can find our opposition letter here. Additionally, I have provided public comment stating CALBO’s position to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. CALBO Past President and Building Official for the City of Burbank Ron Takiguchi will be providing expert testimony on this bill to the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee on April 26. CALBO continues to be open to thoughtful and prudent efforts to address climate change; however, jeopardizing the safety of the public by circumventing the building department is not the way to achieve this goal.
The CALBO Legislative Team wanted to share a few other priority bills with you:
- AB 970 would allow automatic approval of electric vehicle charging stations after 15 business days if a building official has not made a finding that the proposed installation could harm public health or safety. CALBO is opposed to this bill and has been working with the League of California Cities, Rural County Representatives of California, California State Association of Counties, and numerous others in a joint coalition opposed to this bill. The coalition’s efforts have stalled this bill in the Assembly Committee on Local Government and the bill must be heard and passed through the committee by May 7th otherwise it will be moved to next year.
- SB 55 would limit new development in high fire hazard severity zones. You can find our opposition letter here. CALBO provided testimony in opposition to SB 55 but the measure was not voted on in committee making it a two-year bill. CALBO will be looking to meet with the author’s office later this year to discuss the bill with them before it is heard again.
- SB 736 would set new training requirements for local building officials on drowning prevention to maintain certification as a building official every three years. You can find our opposition letter here. This is a tough bill for CALBO, as we support efforts to reduce and mitigate drowning in all swimming pools and spas; yet with SB 736, onerous requirements are placed on the building department that will not work to achieve the desired goal of increased drowning prevention. CALBO has opened dialogue with the author’s office and will remain in touch, however; it does not appear that the bill is slated to move this year.
For a full listing of legislative items of interest to CALBO members, please check out our All Bills Report on the CALBO website. There are other notable measures that are of high-interest to CALBO and our stakeholders, which is why we have kept them on our radar and are actively monitoring their progress.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to continuing to advocate for our members in Sacramento and sincerely appreciate the support I have received from you all.