Capitol Corner Update

Post

CALBO In Action: Summer Recess

Every year the California State Legislature takes a break from July to August to get some away time from the hectic months of Sacramento policy work and to avoid some of the hot Sacramento summers. This year was no different despite the pressing challenges facing our state, as this past week was the last week before the usual summer holiday. As a result, the CALBO Legislative Team wanted to update our members on what has been happening in the Capitol since my last Capitol Corner Update

Article

Capitol Corner Update
House of Origin Deadline

With the first official day of summer occurring on June 20th and California reopening on June 15th, it’s time to address one of the key deadlines that occurs in the legislative process: the house of origin deadline. This deadline occurred on June 4th this year and is a good measurement of what bills are moving through the legislative process for this session. The house of origin, or the location where a bill was introduced, has a deadline every year. This deadline requires the respective house to vote and move bills introduced in their body to the other house or the bill is considered “dead”. However, as mentioned in my previous update, this is the first of two years in the 2021-2022 legislative session, meaning bills that do not pass the house of origin can still be heard and moved next year without reintroduction (unless the bill was voted down by the legislature). 

CALBO continues to be a fierce advocate for the needs of our members in Sacramento. CALBO took positions on many bills at the beginning of this legislative session, but after the various legislative deadlines, only four bills remain for this year. I am happy to share with you another major win for the CALBO legislative team and our members that occurred in May. Due to CALBO’s advocacy efforts, our most significant bill fight, SB 617 died in the Senate Appropriations Committee and will not be moving any further for this legislative session. This was a huge victory for CALBO as this bill would have mandated an automated permitting system for residential solar energy systems. With that said, CALBO still has two important measures we are still fighting in Sacramento and hope this winning streak can continue. 

Article

Capitol Corner Update

As 2021 continues to fly by, so too does the legislative session. As mentioned in my previous update, this is the first of two years of the 2021-2022 legislative session. This means that bills that have not met legislative deadlines can still be heard next year. Right now, the State Legislature is at about the halfway point for a bill to become a law. For the last couple of months, there have been policy committee hearings on the bills CALBO is tracking. During this time frame, CALBO has provided bill position letters, offered amendments, given public comment, and in many cases, committee testimony.

The highest priority of the CALBO legislative team continues to be SB 617 by Senator Wiener. This bill would mandate all local governments to develop an automated permitting process for residential solar energy systems. Just last week, CALBO President Shane Diller and CALBO Past President Ron Takiguchi sat down with the sponsors of the bill and again provided our concerns and recommendations to amend the bill and remove our opposition.

Unfortunately, CALBO has yet to see these changes in writing. Our concerns focused on the safety aspect of the technology used for automatic permitting of residential solar energy systems. CALBO has concerns that this technology has not been tested enough for safety, nor has it been used by the majority of our building departments, so we believe that a required mandate for this technology is not in order yet in California. CALBO believes without proper testing, there is no need for an inflexible, unfunded mandate for local government on this technology. The developers of SolarAPP, which is the technology recommended in the bill are working with CALBO on providing opportunities for local building departments to test this technology. CALBO will be in touch with our members once we get more information on these opportunities for you all.

Article

CALBO In-Action: 2021 Legislative Update

Hello CALBO Members,

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 bguertin@calbo.org. I look forward to continuing to advocate for our members in Sacramento and sincerely appreciate the support I have received from you all.

Article

Capitol Corner Update
March 2021

The State Legislature reconvened on January 11, 2021 for the 2021-2022 legislative session in Sacramento. As this is the first year of the biennial session, lawmakers and stakeholders, like CALBO, have a clean slate to consider and vet new legislative proposals. Over the interim since last year, CALBO has met with various stakeholders to address upcoming bills that will impact our industry and local communities. Although we hear that it will be a “quiet” year legislatively as the pandemic continues to dominate lawmakers time, of the over 2,000 bills introduced thus far, our work is cut out for us.

Starting this week, both legislative houses will begin policy committee hearings, as many bills were introduced in January and February. These hearings will be held in a condensed timeframe this year due to strict COVID-19 guidelines and the lack of socially distanced hearing rooms available. While in-person access to these upcoming hearings will be very limited, CALBO will remain vigilant and well represented.   

CALBO continues to focus on the policy areas of wildfire mitigation, affordable and alternative housing, and in addition to the safety of the public. To read more about CALBO’s legislative efforts, please visit the CALBO Legislative webpage, which is updated in real-time while the state legislature is in session. For a full overview of CALBO bills of interest, you can also reference our Online Bill Reports.

Post

Capitol Corner Update
End of 2019-2020 Session Report

Senate Floor Session

This year has brought many new and unique challenges in light of COVID-19, and the State Legislature was not immune to this reality. April brought a halt to all legislative activity due to the state’s shelter-in-place orders. This is usually a busy time for state legislators who are trying to get their dozens of bills through various policy committees. This activity was delayed until the middle of May 2020, and even that activity was very limited. Lawmakers knew they would have to limit the number of bills moving forward due to shortened deadlines, limited committee hearings, and ultimately a tightened state budget. Only bills considered high priority continued through the process; this list included wildfire mitigation, affordable housing, and healthcare initiatives. 

After about a month of expedited hearings and socially distant testimonies, the Capitol closed again. It remained closed through the month of July with a few legislators and staff members testing positive for the virus. Once business was able to resume for the last month on session in August, even more bills were cut from the docket – never even making it to the second house. Even though the amount of bills had been severely cut, lawmakers struggled to get bills through the proper processes. The Senate argued that there were too many Assembly bills to address, and not enough time. This was due to the fact that there are twice as many Assemblymembers than Senators, and therefore twice as many bills to hear, amend, and vote on.

Article

Capitol Corner Update
Summer 2020

July marks the beginning of Summer recess for the State Legislature. This year their recess will be shorter than normal, as there was a long recess in the spring due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This last month has been filled with policy and fiscal committee hearings, ensuring bills move forward in the legislative process. However, almost two-thirds of bills that were introduced earlier this year failed passage and ultimately died. 

The COVID-19 crisis forced law makers to narrow their bill scope and move only top priority bills. The state budget is a major concern, and funding will mainly focus on relief efforts. The bills that made it through their house of origin, and are now assigned to the opposite house, are mostly emergency response bills, public safety measures, and law enforcement focused bills.

Article

Capitol Corner Update
Spring 2020

HealthCmte

As COVID-19 continues to affect all aspects of our personal and professional life, the State Legislature is undergoing drastic measures to keep legislators and citizens safe. In order to ensure the safety of lawmakers and their staff, the Legislature took an extended recess earlier this year beginning on March 20. This was in compliance with the governor’s stay-at home-order – which is currently still in place in Sacramento County. However, legislators decided to reconvene after six weeks in a limited capacity to address statewide issues and concerns. The State Assembly reconvened on May 4, and the State Senate joined them on May 11.

Normally, March and April would have been busy months in the Capitol filled with hearings and meetings. Spring is the time bills begin moving through their initial policy committees after being introduced in January and February, thereby beginning the legislative process. This process involves stakeholder participation via letter submission and verbal testimony, which can result in multiple amendments. However, since hearings were postponed, many of these processes will be shortened as both houses reconvene.

Article

Capitol Corner Update
Winter 2019

As the fall recess comes to an end, CALBO is preparing for the next legislative session. The second year of the 2019-2020 session will begin on Monday, January 6, 2020 and legislators will hit the ground running. The beginning of the year is always a busy time as legislators rush to move any bills that carried over from 2019. Bills that were held in committee, or marked as a 2-year bills, will have a few weeks to be amended and move to the next committee so that they may continue through the legislative cycle. In addition to amending and moving 2-year bills, legislators will also be introducing new language. The bill introduction deadline is February 21, 2020, which make the first weeks of 2020 a hectic time for capitol staff and third house stakeholders such as CALBO. Any 2-year bills that do not progress by January 31, 2020 will die and not be eligible for the governor’s signature. 

Looking ahead to 2020, CALBO will continue to advocate on public safety measures, which align with our six-point policy. This past year over 2,700 bills were introduced, and Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law hundreds of these bills. In 2019, CALBO tracked close to 30 pieces of legislation that would effect local building departments and public safety. Many of these bills dealt with high priority issues such as fire prevention, accessory dwelling units, and seismic resiliency. CALBO was pleased to support bills that were signed into law, and contribute necessary amendments to bills that we opposed. 

Currently, CALBO is tracking several 2-year bills which we hope move next year. Most importantly, CALBO will continue working with Assemblymember Nazarian on seismic resiliency throughout the state. Both of the Member’s seismic bills were made 2-year bills earlier this year, and did not proceed to the governor’s desk. This is most likely due to the fact that the department of finance opposed both AB 393 and AB 429 due to their large price tags. CALBO will work with the Assemblymember’s staff to see what amendments can be made to both move the bill and maintain CALBO’s support.

Article

Capitol Corner Update
Fall 2019

The first year of this legislative session concluded on Friday, September 13. This was the last day that either the State Senate or the Assembly could act on legislation. After returning from summer recess in August, the last month of session was a chaotic race to get any legislation through remaining policy and fiscal committees. This is always a busy time for last minute amendments and negotiations, not only to get current bills passed by both houses, but to also arrive on the governor’s desk before the deadline. This is Governor Newsom’s first legislative session since he was elected into office last November. He will now have a month to either sign or veto all bills that arrive at his desk. This period, in which he chooses which bills to sign into law or veto, will set a tone for the rest of his term. Since he is a new governor, his policies, priorities, and preferences will become apparent by which bills he chooses to sign into law.

This legislative session focused on many of CALBO’s legislative priorities such as: seismic resiliency, accessory dwelling units, and disaster recovery. CALBO closely monitored these issue areas, since many of the bills that were introduced would have directly affected building department’s administrative procedures and daily code implementation. In order to communicate our interests, CALBO took a strong position on several bills. CALBO leadership and staff actively engaged state legislators, partner local government organizations, and our own CALBO membership in order to communicate our positions on priority issues.  

After opposing Assembly Nazarian’s seismic inventory bill last year, CALBO collaborated with his office to introduce a bill we could fully support. CALBO supported AB 429 (Nazarian), a measure that would have required the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission (SSC) to identify funding and develop a bidding process for hiring a third-party contractor to create an inventory of potentially vulnerable buildings in California. CALBO worked closely with the author’s office to develop a local government approach that would not identify local funds as a possible funding source for the program. Other important amendments were included such as; 1) applying the inventory only to the 29 most seismically vulnerable counties, and 2) applying it to buildings approved by the city or county prior to the adoption of the 1976 edition of the Uniform Building Code. 

Article

Capitol Corner Update

June has been a busy time for CALBO’s Legislative Department at the State Capitol. This month is especially important as bills are being heard in policy committees in the second house. After bills make it through their various committees in their house of origin (The Senate for senate bills, and The Assembly for Assembly bills), they must repeat this process in the opposite house. CALBO has taken a strong position on several bills and has actively participated in advocacy efforts with bill authors and policy committees.

Article Written By: Katie Almand, Director of Public Affairs

Capitol Corner Update

On Wednesday, April 17, dozens of CALBO members convened at the State Capitol to lobby and educate members of the state legislature on behalf of our organization. CALBO members met Legislator’s staff not only to discuss CALBO’s top legislative priorities, but also highlight who we are and what we do. In their meetings, members discussed the following measures that are currently moving through the capitol. 

Post

New ADA Law Effective January 1, 2019
AB 3002 (Grayson)

Effective January 1, 2019, last year’s AB 3002 requires local jurisdictions issuing building permits for commercial construction, or business licenses, to make available a notice containing specified information regarding disability access. A model notice was developed by the Division of the State Architect (DSA) and is available online in English.

Post

End of Session Review and Summary

September 30, 2018 marked the final deadline for Governor Brown to sign or veto active legislation. The end of September also brought the conclusion of the 2017-18 two-year legislative session. This legislative session focused on many of CALBO’s legislative priorities such as: seismic resiliency, accessory dwelling units, and safety enforcement. CALBO closely monitored these issue areas, as many of the bills that were introduced would have directly affected building department’s administrative procedures and daily code implementation.

Article

Governor Vetoes AB 2681: CALBO Members Heard

The voices of local California Building Departments were heard today as Governor Brown vetoed AB 2681 (Nazarian). In his veto message released this afternoon, Governor Brown conveyed strong concern for seismic safety, but not at the expense of local government.  The governor believes a more collaborative approach between the California Seismic Safety Commission, local government, and building owners can yield a well-rounded seismic resiliency measure.

Article

End of 2017-18 Legislative Session Update

As the current 2017-18 legislative comes to an end on August 31, legislators are eager to move their remaining measures through the legislative process. Since this is the second year of the two-year legislative session, all bills must pass out of both houses in order to be signed by the Governor – bills that fail to pass will not carry over to 2019. In these last few weeks of session, the remaining bills will be heard in fiscal committees and must receive enough votes on the Assembly and Senate Floors.

Article

Summer Recess Update

June has been a busy time for CALBO’s Legislative Department at the State Capitol. This month is especially important as it holds important deadlines for bills that wish to make it through the second house. After bills make it through their various committees in their house of origin (The Senate for senate bills, and The Assembly for Assembly bills) they must repeat this process in the opposite house. CALBO has taken a strong position on several bills, and has actively participated in advocacy efforts with bill authors and policy committees.

Article

CALBO at the Capitol

On Wednesday, April 18, CALBO members convened at the State Capitol to advocate and educate members of the state legislature on behalf of our organization. CALBO members met Legislators and staff not only to discuss CALBO’s top legislative priorities, but also to highlight who we are and what we do. In their meetings, members discussed the following measures that are currently moving through the Capitol.