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The 2013 legislative session ended on Friday, September 13. The Governor was asked to sign several bills that TransForm supported in this legislative session, and while results were mixed, we did see a significant victory with AB 1371 and the adoption of the Active Transportation Program. (See below for those that didn't make it through the Legislature, some of which will be considered in the 2014 legislative session.)
AB 1290 (Speaker Pérez): California Transportation Commission
This bill makes a host of changes to better align the California Transportation Commission’s structure and direction to support more integrated land use and transportation efforts, such as SB 375 implementation (click here for bill text). TransForm and NRDC have been working with a number of allies to support this important legislation. For more information, please contact Joshua Stark, TransForm’s State Policy Director.
This bill was vetoed by the Governor. Read the veto message.
AB 1371 (Bradford): Three-foot passing rule for bicycles
This bill would promote safety by establishing a three-foot buffer for motor vehicles passing cyclists. It has been introduced in past years only to be vetoed by the Governor (click here for bill text).
This bill was signed by the Governor on September 23, 2013. Nearly 5,000 people emailed the Governor to urge his support for this bill. THANK YOU to everyone who took action.
AB 1229 (Atkins): Provide local authority for affordable housing
AB 1229 would authorize the legislative local and regional governments to adopt ordinances regulating zoning and require affordable housing policies as a condition of development (click here for bill text).
AB 1229 was vetoed by the Governor. Read the veto message.
SB 811 (Senator Lara): I-710 Corridor Improvements
This bill would require additional mitigation measures including transit, bicycle and pedestrian, and zero-emissions improvements to offset the negative impacts of the I-710 project. Unfortunately it has been watered down to require only a report to the legislature identifying mitigation measures to be undertaken as part of the EIR (click here for bill text).
This bill was vetoed by the Governor. Read the veto message.
Bills that will be considered in 2014
The next set of bills are referred to as “two-year” bills, because they have been held by their author or a committee, and are not moving forward during the first half of the two-year session. Often, two-year status means that a bill is dead; however, there are more than a few occasions where the idea of the bill lives on in another bill number, or begins moving again during the second half of the session.
SB 731 (Steinberg): CEQA reform
This bill would update the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in order to ensure this landmark environmental law continues to protect people and the environment while also adapting to the needs of our changing state. Included are changes that would support transportation choices in urban in-fill developments, better aligning the environmental review process with long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving other environmental benefits through less car-centric community design. It also contains provisions to address displacement of vulnerable communities when new developments are proposed near public transportation. Read a more complete overview of this bill on ClimatePlan's blog here.
SB 731 was held back by its author on September 11, 2013.
Read a coalition letter with an overview of our principles and priorities, submitted July 19, 2013.
Read TransForm’s comment letter from September 6, 2013.
SB 391 (Desaulnier): the California Homes and Jobs Act
Our allies at Housing California are sponsoring Senator DeSaulnier’s bill, which would create thousands of jobs building affordable housing. The bill would add a $75 recording fee to non-residential real estate transactions, raising $500 million annually for state investment in affordable home production and leveraging an additional $2.78 billion in federal, local, and bank investment in homes and jobs for Californians. Check out their informative website here. TransForm supports this great bill (click here for bill language).
This bill will remain on the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s calendar while work is done to strengthen the bill and move it forward early in the new year.
AB 1330 (Speaker Pérez): Environmental Justice
This bill would address the disproportionate impacts from pollution on low income communities and communities of color in a number of ways, among them: require time for translation services not be counted as total time in public hearings; require the California EPA (Cal/EPA) to identify a list of environmental justice communities; require that fines for pollution in these areas are doubled; require that enforcement actions within these communities be prioritized; require that Cal/EPA maintain a public database of complaints and enforcement cases for each of its boards, departments and agencies. Click here for bill language and information.
AB 1330 was held by its author and is now a two-year bill. Read TransForm's letter of support for AB 1330.
SB 1 (Steinberg): Resurrecting redevelopment agencies
Based in large part on last year’s SB 1156, this bill is Senator Steinberg’s proposal to remake some of the powers of Redevelopment Agencies, but to streamline the process, foster cooperation between cities and counties, protect school funding, support affordable homes and refocus investment in transit-oriented areas. (Click here for bill language and information).
SB 1 was held by Senator Steinberg.
SCA 4, SCA 8, SCA 11: Empowering democracy by lowering the voter threshold
Our current system for approving local tax measures effectively gives each “no” vote the same power as two “yes” votes by requiring a two-thirds threshold (66.67%) for approval. Last November in Los Angeles, over 1.9 million voters said yes to more transportation choices but lost to the 970,000 that said no. In Alameda County the margin was even closer – over 66.5% said yes – but the measure still lost.
Many legislators recognize that, though a new, local tax measure should be popular, today’s draconian requirement simply runs counter to our democratic form of government. No fewer than seven bills currently propose lowering the voter threshold for local projects - and three of them, SCA 4(Liu), SCA 8(Corbett), and SCA 11(Hancock), would do so for transportation.
TransForm supports these efforts to empower the overwhelming majority of Californians through the democratic process.
These pieces of legislation have a longer two-year time-frame for passing and will continue to be considered going forward.
AB 1194 (Ammiano, Pérez, Alejo, Levine, Pan): Safe Routes to Schools
This bill has been amended: though it still states the intentions of the State to protect the Safe Routes to Schools program, the guaranteed revenues for the program were removed. TransForm supports this effort to maintain Safe Routes to Schools (click here for bill text).
Although passing out of the Assembly with only 2 votes against it, this bill has been held by Mr. Ammiano while the Legislature and the Governor come to an agreement on the Active Transportation Program.
AB 431 (Assemblymember Mullin): Funding Sustainable Communities
Local governments are currently struggling to fund the implementation of SB 375, California’s landmark law which integrates land-use and transportation planning in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This bill, which TransForm is co-sponsoring with our allies the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California and Greenbelt Alliance, would authorize Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to put before voters funding measures that implement their Sustainable Communities Strategies. As shown in our Windfall for All materials, transportation choices can save residents billions per year, and this bill empowers our local government representatives (who sit on the MPO boards) and voters by letting them decide to fund their region’s work to improve their infrastructure in effective and equitable ways (click here for bill language).
It passed out of Assembly Local Government and has become a two-year bill.
AB 1193 (Ting): Bike design flexibility
Current law requires local governments to adhere to the Highway Design Manual for bicycle design on roads. This bill would allow local governments to use bicycle designs that meet specified safety standards through means beyond those specified by the Highway Design Manual (click here for bill text).
This bill is currently in the Assembly Local Government Committee.
AB 1051 (Assemblymember Bocanegra): Directing cap-and-trade funds to transportation choices and affordable homes
Last year’s first greenhouse gas emissions auction netted the state significant revenues for fighting climate change in a new and innovative way: putting a price on greenhouse gas pollution. Companies paid the state for allowances to emit these gasses, and even the small number of allowances auctioned resulted in over $285 million in revenues.
Auction revenues must be used for projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gasses and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. With nearly 40% of our state's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, investments in transportation choices offers an opportunity to significantly reduce emissions while also improving health, equity, the economy and the environment.
Assemblymember Bocanegra’s AB 1051 recognizes that bicycle and pedestrian facilities, affordable homes near transit, transit capital operations that prioritize equity and greenhouse gas emission reductions, and energy efficiency upgrades for low-income Californians are important priorities. TransForm fully supports AB 1051 (for bill text, click here).
For more ways you can help, (including talking to State leaders in-person), check out our Transportation Choices Campaign site.
AB 1051 passed through numerous Assembly committees but was then put on suspense. The budget was approved in June with a $500 million loan from cap-and-trade revenues to the general fund. Read more on our blog here.
AB 1002 (Bloom): Funding Sustainable Communities
This bill adds $6 to vehicle registration to fund programs and projects consistent with Sustainable Communities strategies.
The bill author has held this bill and intends to pursue it as a two-year bill.
AB 229 (Speaker Pérez): Funding local infrastructure
This bill authorizes “Infrastructure and revitalization finance districts” for purposes of raising funds for public infrastructure such as transportation, sewage, watersheds, libraries, child care facilities, parks, and others (click here for bill text).
The bill authors have held this bill and intend to pursue it as a two-year bill.
You can look up the latest bill information here.
For more information or to get active please make sure you sign up for e-mail and follow us on Twitter or Facebook. You can always contact Josh Stark for more information.
2012 in Review
State Legislation: 2012 in Review
California’s legislature runs in two-year cycles. The final two months of this cycle – the end of legislative session in August then waiting for the Governor’s decision on several bills in September – made for an exciting and, at times, nail-biting 60 days.
Here is a run-down of the bills that TransForm and so many of our allies worked hard all of 2012 to pass.
These represent the nine bills TransForm dedicated the most time to, including bringing over 100 advocates for a full day of lobbying on these bills in Sacramento – reaching every office in the capitol.
The final score? 5 signed by the Governor, 2 vetoed, and 2 failed to pass the Legislature.
Signed by the Governor
AB 441 (Monning) – Including health and equity in regional transportation planning (a TransForm co-sponsored bill)
On September 19, Governor Brown signed AB 441 into law. This law requires the California Transportation Commission -- in their next update of the Regional Transportation Plan guidelines -- to include a summary of projects, policies and programs that successfully promote better health and health equity.
TransForm is proud to have co-sponsored this bill with CPEHN, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and to have worked with the bill’s author, Assemblyman Bill Monning. Together we showed how so many of the strategies outlined in our recent report Creating Healthy Regional Transportation Plans
, can provide great access for people of every age, income race and ability while making the transportation system even more efficient. From Safe Routes to Schools to providing vanpools for migrant workers we can promote safety, reduce congestion and air pollution, and save families money.
But AB 441 is just the first step. TransForm and many of our allies are dedicated to making healthy, safe, and efficient transportation a top priority at the local, regional and state levels. A victory like this is important in providing real information to planners and agencies, as well as advancing our efforts to build coalitions advocating for future improvements. This is one more step in guaranteeing "Health in All Policies".
SB 1339 (Yee) – Expanding commuter benefits programs across the Bay Area
Governor Brown signed SB 1339 on September 30th, authorizing a pilot program through 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area that allows the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) to jointly adopt an ordinance requiring employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer certain employees commute benefits. In return, these businesses receive reductions in their payroll taxes.
It is estimated that SB 1339 will save commuters up to 40% on commuting costs and save employers about 9% on payroll taxes as employers can deduct the costs of the program from their payroll tax burden.
Governor Brown signed AB 1446 into law on September 30th, authorizing the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (LA Metro) to place on an LA County ballot the permanent extension of an existing county-wide ½ cent sales and use tax, which currently sunsets in 30 years. Revenue from the existing ½ cent tax, known as “Measure R,” is dedicated to construction and operation of rail, highway and bus projects in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), as well as local initiatives such as street and signal improvements, bicycle and pedestrian projects, and more.
Assembly Bill 1446 will give LA County voters the opportunity to extend the duration of this important local source of funding for an ambitious program of transportation infrastructure projects that will transform the Los Angeles region. The anticipated new revenue can be bonded against to build project sooner.
“I am thrilled that with Governor Brown’s signature on AB 1446, Measure J can go before LA County voters in November,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “If we pass Measure J, we can…..complete light rail and subway projects in one decade instead of three.”
For more information please see: http://www.metro.net/projects/measurej/
On September 30th, Governor Brown signed AB 1532 and SB 535 into law. These two bills set up a process and guidelines for allocating revenues collected by the state from its cap & trade carbon auction. AB 1532 develops the process, with illustrative (but not exhaustive) language around the possible uses for this revenue – specifically mentioning public transportation and housing, among others.
SB 535 clearly states that at least 25% of cap and trade auction revenues must be spent on projects and programs that positively impact disadvantaged communities, and at least 10% of all revenues must be spent within disadvantaged communities. Both bills help to offset the impacts of climate change and other pollutants on all Californians.
TransForm applauds the leadership of Governor Brown, Speaker Pérez, and Senator deLeon in maintaining momentum and providing clear direction for California’s future through these two laws. TransForm will continue to build support for significant funding for public transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and affordable homes near transit. Read TransForm's and allies' proposal for cap and trade auction revenue
Vetoed by the Governor
SB 1156 (Steinberg) – Establishing a Sustainable Communities Investment Authority
This bill was intended to authorize cities and counties to form Community Development and Housing Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs) for the purpose of administering ongoing economic development and affordable housing programs while reducing vehicle miles traveled. The Governor vetoed the bill, expressing hope that he and stakeholders would work closely in the future on new proposals, “… once the winding down of redevelopment is complete and General Fund savings are achieved.”
TransForm commends the work of Senator Steinberg and looks forward to working with our allies who helped lead on this bill such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, to support redevelopment that meets Californians’ needs and provides real transportation choices.
SB 1464 (Lowenthal) – Creating a 3-foot safety zone to protect bicyclists from motor vehicles
This was a priority bill for TransForm, and sadly vetoed by the Governor. In his veto message, the Governor claims that the bill does not adequately protect the State from lawsuits brought by drivers who felt they must cross a double yellow line and became involved in head-on collisions or other accidents as a result.
This concern was not brought up during the legislative session by any other interested party, including the Attorney General’s office, nor the CHP. TransForm is greatly disappointed that bicyclists must continue to use unsafe roadways due to the Governor’s concern over lawsuits (California’s bicycle and pedestrian roadway fatalities are roughly twice the national average).
Did Not Pass the Legislature
AB 485 (Ma) – TIF for TOD
Assemblywoman Ma authored language intending to ease the use of tax increment financing (TIF) to fund transit-oriented development (TOD). The bill would have made it easier for local governments to raise funds for TOD’s as long as they met certain requirements – such as dedicating 20% of revenues to affordable homes. The bill met stiff resistance from the Governor’s office, and was pulled from consideration by the author. TransForm looks forward to working with the assemblymember and the bill’s sponsor, BART, to further the important goals of this bill.
SB 1572 (Pavley) – Cap and trade auction revenue allocation for 2013
This bill would have allocated revenues from California’s first cap and trade carbon auction – scheduled for November of 2012 – to specific projects and programs. TransForm and Housing California worked closely with senate staff and met with Senator Pavley to show the benefits of a proposal that included transit and affordable homes.
Some of TransForm’s ideas for ensuring affordable homes near transit actually pushed the envelope on being low-traffic and thus would be able to stand up to a legal next test, were put in as part of her bill (e.g., prioritizing projects that offer free transit passes and carsharing).
The bill, which received stiff resistance, was pulled from consideration by the author.
In all, TransForm had a good year in the legislature. The passage of AB 441, AB 1532 and SB 535, in particular, set a course for California’s transportation and urban planning and development that give us reason to be optimistic about our future.
Need More Information?
For the most up-to-date information on the status of California bills go to http://legislature.ca.gov/
Have questions? Contact Joshua Stark, State Campaign Director.
Want to submit a piece of legislation for TransForm to take a position on? Fill out the request form.