Capitol Corner Update
As the summer winds down and people like myself are excited for the start of football season and fall weather, CALBO’s Legislative Team has been hard at work as the legislature wraps up the final year of its two-year session. At this point in the legislative process, legislators are voting on the over 2,000 bills remaining and deciding if they should or should not be sent to Governor Newsom’s desk for a signature or veto. While the legislature is busy with floor sessions and votes, CALBO’s Legislative Team is hard at work behind the scenes getting last minute amendments into bills, while making our elected officials aware of the thoughts and concerns of our membership.
To this point, 2022 has brought a mixed bag of results for CALBO’s advocacy efforts including some major wins and other losses as is always the case in Sacramento. This year, our membership took positions on nearly 40 bills and with less than two weeks before session wraps up, less than 10 bills remain that CALBO has an interest in as they continue to move through the process. Below are some of the highlights of this year’s session and a preview of what is to come as CALBO looks towards next legislative session which will begin in January 2023.
CALBO’s most significant legislative win this year was on Senate Bill 897 by Senator Wieckowski. Due to the overwhelming number of letters sent by our departments to elected officials, CALBO was finally able to get amendments into the bill in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and remove our opposition to this piece of legislation.
As you all are aware, this bill was going to remove the ability of local building departments and enforcement agencies to designate an occupancy change in the local building code for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Because of YOUR EFFORTS, we were able to get the bill amended to where an R Occupancy is allowed to occur if based on substantial evidence the local enforcement agency can prove that an occupancy change is necessary to protect public health and safety. Additionally, CALBO was able to get language in the bill that specifies that nothing in this bill should disallow an enforcement agency from designating a residential occupancy to an uninhabitable or nonresidential building that is converted to an ADU. A big thank you to all our members who submitted a letter of concern to our legislative team, which was sent to our elected officials and their staff.
CALBO also had some big wins because of our testimony and positions on bills regarding electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EV) this year. At the beginning of this session, there were three bills on EVs that would have legislated code for Level 2 and Direct
Current Fast Charging Stations in residential units. Our partnership with the California Building Industry Association and other developer organizations paid off as two of the three bills were amended to establish these regulations through the California Building Standards Commission.
CALBO is supportive of California’s efforts to move towards a zero-emission future so long as it is done in a safe and prudent manner. CALBO’s historical legislative efforts have paid off as the California Legislature is beginning to understand how the state regulatory process is by far the best approach to adapt and respond to these new technological advancements in the built industry. As Governor Newsom and the legislature looks to move California quickly towards zero-emission vehicles such as electric vehicles and hydrogen cars, CALBO understands we will continue to have annual debates on these issues, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for our membership in Sacramento to respond to these efforts.
Despite these wins which are worth celebrating, there are also some major changes that our local building departments will have to comply with next year as the following bills will most likely become law.
- AB 2234: This bill if passed by the legislature and signed by the governor will establish a “shot clock” on permits for post-entitlement phase permits including building permits. Specifically, this bill would require local building departments to review and return a completed set of comments or a completed application for a housing development project of 25 units or fewer within 30 business days of receiving the application. It will also specify that these requirements apply for housing development projects of 26 units or more within 60 business days of receiving a building permit. Additionally, this bill requires jurisdictions to provide online 5 types of completed and approved applications for different types of residential projects including an ADU, duplex, multifamily unit, mixed use development, and townhome among others by January 1, 2024. Finally, larger jurisdictions in a county with a population of 1.1 million or greater will be required to provide an online permitting application system for post-entitlement phase permits by January 1, 2024. On the flip side, a local agency within a county with less than 1.1 million in population and a city with 75,000 or fewer will have to do this by January 1, 2028. CALBO was heavily involved in opposing this measure with our local government partners including the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities, and others in trying to compromise on the timelines and language but unfortunately were unsuccessful as the bill has been easily flying through the legislature this year. It is currently on the final reading in the California Senate and is expected to head to Governor Newsom’s desk by the end of session.
- AB 2322: This bill will require the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the next triennial code cycle to adopt specific building standards for nonresidential, critical infrastructure buildings to adopt regulations requiring Risk Category III and IV buildings to have fire ratings of four hours, three hours, and two hours in very high, high, and moderate severity zones. It also requires these standards to use the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures for these buildings. CALBO opposed this measure and was able to get some amendments in including going through the regulatory process with the SFM but still has concerns with the specific code requirements they are legislating. This bill has been passed by the legislature and is now waiting for Governor Newsom to Sign or Veto this bill. CALBO has been working with state agencies and those in the Governor’s Office so they are aware of the concerns we have with this bill, and we will see what the Governor decides on this measure.
- SB 1194: This bill authorizes a city, county, or city and county to require by ordinance or resolution that gender-neutral restrooms may be allowed in their respective jurisdiction. Originally, this bill would have required specific plumbing regulations in the local ordinance or resolution but due to CALBO’s efforts these regulations are now recommendations as opposed to regulations. As written, local jurisdictions are allowed to adopt an ordinance or resolution regarding these facilities but there are not specific requirements that must be in these local measures. As a result, CALBO moved to neutral on this bill but does still have concerns that there could be conflicting regulations should the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) adopt new regulations regarding gender-neutral restrooms during the intervening code cycle. We strongly urge our members to talk with their local government about this issue before a local measure is approved so our building officials can use their best knowledge and practices to make sure they work for your community. Additionally, please get involved in the regulatory process as CBSC and other state agencies look to adopt regulations at the state level on this issue. This bill is currently on the final reading in the California State Assembly and will be voted on in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, I hope you’ll join me on October 27th at 1 PM for an end of legislative session wrap-up. This webinar is hosted by the CALBO Legislative Team and will discuss what new laws our building departments will have to comply with that have either been enacted in 2022 or will become law in 2023. This will be an hour-long discussion about the major state law changes impacting your departments and will include time for Q and A throughout the webinar. Please check your emails as we will be announcing more details about this webinar later this year. The webinar is open to all and there is no cost to attend.
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 several notable measures 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 your continued support.