State Legislation

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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 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 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.

SB 628 (Beall): Infrastructure Financing for Transit Priority Projects

This bill would eliminate the voter requirement for the creation of infrastructure financing districts for transit priority projects, and it would require that at least 25% of the revenues raised be used for, "increasing, improving and preserving" low- and moderate-income housing availability. 

This bill was held in the Assembly.

 AB 1179 (Bocanegra):  Regional Transportation Plan: Sustainable Communities Strategy:  School sites

This bill would require sustainable communities strategy to identify, in consultation with each local educational agency in the region, how the sustainable communities strategy may impact school enrollments and capacities and the need for new schoolsites or expansion or modernization of existing school sites. 

This bill is currently in the Assembly Local Government Committee.

 

Bills that are no longer relevant

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.

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.

Much of SB 731 was incorporated into Senator Steinberg's SB 743, which modified CEQA while exempting the Sacramento King's arena."  Add a paragraph to AB 1194 that says, "The deal struck to create the Active Transportation Program rendered this bill no longer necessary.

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.

 

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