Capitol Corner Update
What to Expect in Year 2 of the 2023-2024 Legislative Session
As the 2023 Holiday Season approaches, CALBO’s Legislative Team would like to wish our CALBO family a happy holiday season. We hope that you and your families enjoy the time together and look fondly at the previous year. 2023 was a successful year for CALBO’s advocacy efforts as around 11 of CALBO’s 25 bills we were tracking were signed into law. However, only about 4 of the bills signed into law will have a direct impact on CALBO members. Despite these successes, more work will need to be done next year as the remaining 14 bills may come back in early January and CALBO will have about a month to act on legislation to get any necessary changes in bills that are moving forward this legislative session.
This fall there were multiple changes in Sacramento that will impact CALBO’s advocacy efforts in 2024. The State Assembly has a new speaker Assemblymember Robert Rivas from California’s Central Coast. As a result of this leadership change, the Assembly Housing and Assembly Local Government Committee received new chairs of the respective committees. Assemblymember Chris Ward from San Diego has officially been tapped as the new chair of the Assembly Housing Committee while Assemblymember Juan Carrillo from the Palmdale area is the new chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee. On the Senate side, Senator Mike McGuire from the North Coast has become the new Pro Tempore of the Senate and may impact the makeup of the Senate Housing and Senate Governance and Finance Committee in the upcoming year. Nothing has been announced officially yet, but CALBO will be keeping an eye out for any leadership changes in our relevant committees.
Although the Capitol is quieter this time of year, CALBO has been working on preparing for the upcoming year. CALBO’s Legislative Committee met in September to wrap up the year and begin discussing potential amendments for 2-year bills of concern that may come back next year. Additionally, staff has been hard at work building relationships with legislative staff to discuss policy issues impacting building departments and housing in the state. Finally, CALBO has been actively attending ICC Chapter meetings this fall so our building departments can be prepared for the upcoming changes in state law that will impact local jurisdictions on January 1st.
Taking a step back from Sacramento, CALBO has continued to increase and provide more member resources for new legislation impacting our building departments. On November 8th, CALBO hosted its third and final legislative webinar for 2023 where CALBO’s Legislative Team discussed the new bills that will become law in 2024. If you missed the event, you may find the presentation on CALBO’s Legislative Presentation page. Additionally, CALBO has published its first two installments of the 2024 Guide to Changes in State Law articles, where we provide a summary of major legislation that will impact local governments in the upcoming year and how to understand and comply with the new requirements on building departments. Please follow us along this winter as we will post the rest of the articles before the New Year begins.
In terms of what to expect for the upcoming year, CALBO has been having discussions this fall with potential authors of bills impacting Accessory Dwelling Units, building decarbonization, and adaptive reuse projects. Currently, CALBO has around 4 two-year bills that the legislative team is actively working on to move forward or stop next year. However, lawmakers will return in January and will have until February 16th to introduce new legislation, so things are expected to pick up in mid-January. Below are some examples of the major 2-year bills CALBO is actively working on and our perspective on the measures.
AB 468: This bill would allow local enforcement agencies to further enforce state housing law and improve grotesque building code violations regardless of the zoning designation or approved use of the building. In response to the Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in 2016, this measure allows local jurisdictions to require compliance with residential building codes if the unit is being illegally rented for human habitation. CALBO is very supportive of this measure and hopes to see this bill move to the floor in the new year.
AB 1505: This bill was originally going to appropriate $250M to the soft story seismic retrofit program to provide grant money to homeowners looking to seismically retrofit their homes. Unfortunately, as the bill moved through the legislative process, it was changed and instead allowed the state to use Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant funding for seismic retrofits. This bill is a great initiative to promote public health and safety in the built environment, so CALBO hopes that this bill will come back next year and be amended back to its original form. With that said, the current language of the bill still provides a benefit to public safety so hopefully the measure will continue to move forward in 2024.
AB 1532: This bill would prohibit local enforcement agencies from collecting enforcement or inspection service fees for a low-income office-to-residential conversion project. This bill is very concerning as local building departments are funded through permit fees and these projects are highly complex and technical, resulting in increased staff time for the necessary safety review of a proposed adaptive reuse project. CALBO is very concerned that local building departments would end up subsidizing these projects which impacts building departments’ bottom line. For these reasons, CALBO opposes this measure. CALBO looks forward to a continued dialogue with the author’s office on the measure so they are aware of our concerns and hope to find some common ground should the bill return in 2024.
SB 356: This bill would increase funding for local jurisdictions to improve existing code enforcement teams or develop a new code enforcement team while reducing grant matching costs to local governments. This bill would provide much-needed funding to better enforce building code regulations and further promote public health and safety in the built environment, so CALBO is very supportive of this measure. Hopefully, this bill will come back in January but with projections of a 68 billion dollar deficit in this year’s budget, it may be harder to get new spending from the state. CALBO will continue to work with the author’s office to see how we can help move this bill forward.
For a full listing of legislative items of interest to CALBO members, please check out our All Bills Report on the CALBO website. Legislators are already beginning to release some of their bills for the next session so stay up to date on our user-friendly website with these updates!
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at email@example.com. I look forward to continuing to advocate for our members in Sacramento and sincerely appreciate your continued support.