Capitol Corner Update
CALBO’s 2023 Legislative Package
As California transitions from the wet and cold winter to the welcome sights of longer, warmer spring days, the California State Legislature is continuing to heat up its efforts for the first year of the 2023-2024 Legislative Session. 2023 brings Sacramento 37 newly elected officials and the fast-moving first year of California’s two-year session. The legislature introduced just under 3,000 bills this year. At the end of March, CALBO finalized its 2023 Legislative Bill Package, where the CALBO Legislative Committee has officially deemed 21 bills as a high priority, with 13 of the bills having an official position that CALBO’s Advocacy Team is actively working on in Sacramento. CALBO members have the opportunity to participate in these efforts through CALBO’s Leadership and Advocacy Day, which will occur on May 17th in Sacramento, you can register for this free member event here. Below are some highlights of the busy spring and the major bills CALBO is continuing to give a voice to our members on in the legislature.
Events and New Resources for Members
The CALBO Legislative Team is proud to announce a new webinar series highlighting the major bills CALBO is working on in the California State Legislature. Throughout the legislative session, CALBO’s Legislative Team will host 3 free webinars to update the membership on our ongoing government affairs efforts. CALBO hosted its first legislative webinar on April 13th, which highlighted the major bills impacting local building departments currently moving through the legislative process. The event was well attended with just under 100 members participating in the webinar. If you missed the presentation, you can download a PDF version of the presentation at CALBO’s new Legislative Presentations page on our website which can be found here. CALBO will be hosting another webinar this summer to update members on the fate of our high priority bills this year. The final webinar is planned for the fall after Governor Newsom signs legislation. The goal of the final webinar is to provide information about the new laws and how they will impact your jurisdiction during the upcoming year. Please keep your eyes out for the email announcing the dates later this year.
Bills and Committee Hearings
Every March through May is a busy time in Sacramento, as committee hearings occur daily to review and give input on the bills introduced by elected officials. CALBO is actively going to the swing space or capitol to voice member thoughts and concerns for bills impacting public safety. Here are some highlights of the major bills that CALBO has been actively working on in Sacramento so far.
AB 468: This bill is sponsored by the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers (CACEO) and further increases enforcement of state housing law. The bill allows local enforcement agencies to further enforce building codes for substandard buildings regardless of zoning designation or approved use of a building if there is an impact to public health and safety for occupants of the building, nearby residents, or the public. In response to the Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in 2016 and the illegal use of trailers as a habitable space for farmworker housing in Half Moon Bay, CACEO introduced this bill to further increase enforcement of these unsafe residential units. CALBO testified as a second lead witness in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development last week and is pleased to Support this bill.
SB 356: This bill is another CACEO sponsored bill that would provide local jurisdictions a grant program for a pilot project to establish a code enforcement team in their respective jurisdictions. This bill requires code enforcement teams to include at least one code enforcement officer, one building official, city planner, health officer or comparable specialist and a representative from a community-based organization to further improve building code enforcement locally. This bill is a good bill that would provide more financial resources to local enforcement agencies to better enforce California building standards in local communities. CALBO is pleased to Support this measure to further promote public safety in the built environment.
AB 1332: This bill would require local jurisdictions to develop a program for the preapproval of accessory dwelling unit (ADU) plans by January 1, 2025. As CALBO members know, ADUs have been successful in increasing California’s housing stock to help better address the dire housing crisis the state is facing. This bill provides a good balance of local control, public safety, and prudent ADU development in local jurisdictions. Local building departments will be required to establish a catalogue of ADU floor plans, while being able to collect permit fees on these plans and promoting the highest regard for public safety through this preapproval ADU program. CALBO has been working closely with the author’s office on this bill and is pleased to have a Support If Amended position on this bill. Most jurisdictions have already started this process, but to further reduce the cost impacts to our jurisdictions CALBO has requested amendments to the bill that would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop model preapproval programs for ADUs that jurisdictions can use to comply with the law and adjust as necessary at the local level to meet the varying geographical needs of their respective community.
AB 42: This bill would prohibit local enforcement agencies from imposing or enforcing any requirement for fire sprinklers for a temporary sleeping cabin with a total floor area of less than 250 square feet. It also provides alternative fire life safety regulations instead of fire sprinklers in the bill. CALBO has significant safety concerns with the proposal as history has shown that fire sprinklers provide the highest measure of fire safety in residential units. Additionally, this bill has no definition of what “temporary” means as there is no maximum timeline these types of shelters are allowed to be up. This is concerning because shipping containers, pallet houses, or other tiny homes can be placed in a vacant lot for an unknown amount of time without regard for building code regulations necessary in habitable spaces. CALBO testified as lead opposition to this bill in committee and has been working closely with the author’s office on addressing these concerns and has made incremental improvements to the first version of the bill. Unfortunately, due to the significant fire life safety concerns with the bill, CALBO currently has an Oppose position on the bill in its current form.
AB 1490: This bill originally was going to waive all local building and permit fees for adaptive reuse projects that provided 100% affordable rental units to low-income individuals. Luckily, after CALBO had a conversation with the author and sponsor of the bill about the cost implications to local building departments, the bill now focuses on the planning process for adaptive reuse projects instead. CALBO is supportive of efforts to address California’s housing crisis through innovative and low-cost approaches to housing in the state, however this must be done in a fiscally responsible, safe, and prudent manner. As a result of the new language, CALBO moved from Oppose to Watch on the bill and will be keeping an eye on the bill as it moves through the legislative process.
These are just a few of the high priority bills CALBO has been working on in Sacramento this year, but there are numerous others. For a full listing of legislative items of interest to CALBO members, please check out our All Bills Report on the CALBO website.
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.