The State Senate has passed four housing bills headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. The bills address the state’s housing crisis by creating more affordable housing, streamlining approval processes for new construction, and helping tenants keep their homes.
What’s the 1st Bill?
Jordan Grimes, an advocate, spoke about Assembly Bill 2097, which would create a statewide incentive to build more commercial and residential structures near public transportation.
In addition, the proposed legislation would make it illegal for municipal governments to set minimum parking requirements on new projects within a half mile of train stations, bus terminals, or other transport hubs.
Another of the four bills passed this session—AB 2221—builds on the state’s past efforts to encourage the development of ADUs by establishing more explicit boundaries for so-called granny flats.
Previously, developers were only able to add units to pre-existing multifamily constructions. The new measure would broaden that approval to include projects already in the planning phases. Furthermore, it establishes some height restrictions and stipulates the deadlines for local agencies to approve auxiliary housing unit projects (ADUs).
What Are the Last 2?
The following two bills on the agenda were companion bills that would encourage the development of low-income housing in urban areas. These bills are referred to as AB 2011 and SB 6.
The “Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022” would exclude some projects from CEQA and local government approvals “by right,” allowing them to proceed without going through the procedures above.
For example, mixed-income complexes must be built on local roads generally used for parking lots and strip malls, whereas 100% affordable developments must be built in areas that are now predominantly used for office space, retail space, and parking spaces.
Why Are These 2 Bills Together?
The two bills were in jeopardy owing to possible opposition from some of the state’s most powerful labor unions, who sought to include labor workforce limits. Because of this potential resistance, the legislation was in peril.
The agreement between housing advocates and labor unions, which aided in the bill’s passage, was brokered the week before by Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who assisted in the process.
Some of the state’s most influential labor unions may have opposed the two bills because they sought to impose labor workforce limits that would have damaged union membership. This opposition probably contributed to the legislation’s demise.
Toni Atkins, Senate Pro Tem, and Anthony Rendon, Assembly Speaker, were important in brokering a compromise between housing advocates and labor unions that was critical to the law’s passing the week before.
How Were These 2 Bills Accepted?
Following a heated public discussion in October, Newsom signed the bill as a congressman last year. It went into effect this January. However, after almost 9 months, only a limited number of projects covered by the Act have been approved.
Furthermore, a handful of cities, like Pasadena, have faced high-profile challenges to the state law’s execution. As a consequence, the legislation’s future usefulness is being questioned.
There’s no doubt that California is facing a housing crisis, and the legislature has taken steps to address this issue.
What Would These Bills Mean to the Future of California?
The bills passed by the legislature can help get more affordable housing built in the state. Still, it will take more than just legislation to fix this problem. We need people willing to work together and ensure these new laws are enforced so that we can all live in safe, comfortable homes.
This is a big win for California residents struggling with high rents and home prices for years now.