California lawmakers advanced key housing legislation late Thursday, clearing the most substantial hurdle for a package of bills aimed at addressing the state’s housing affordability crisis.
Legislators in the Assembly passed SB 2, a $75 fee on mortgage refinances and other real estate transactions except for home and commercial property sales. The measure is expected to raise $250 million a year to help finance new and rehabilitated developments for low-income residents — a key step, lawmakers said, in beginning to get housing costs under control.
“We are living during the worst housing crisis our state has ever experienced,” said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco).
California lawmakers passed a resolution Thursday to take a stand against anti-Semitism and other types of discrimination.
“History is going to judge us,” said Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), who supported the resolution. “Let’s not be on the wrong side.”
The resolution came in response to a rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the country, lawmakers said. Verbal discrimination, cemetery desecrations and targeted assaults are among the actions it opposes.
A week after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a review of Obama-era guidelines on campus sexual assault, the California Legislature voted to enshrine the former president's rules into state law.
A measure by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) is off to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after being approved by the state Senate on Thursday. The bill, SB 169, would codify in state law existing Title IX regulations, which require schools to treat students equally, regardless of sex.
The federal law is best known for mandating that boys and girls get equal opportunities to participate in sports, but it has also guided schools on how to clamp down on sexual assault and harassment.
A measure allowing Californians to select a third, nonbinary gender option on their driver's licenses and birth certificates is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill, Senate Bill 179 by Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), cleared the state Senate on Thursday without debate. Atkins and other backers of the measure have characterized it as an expansion of rights for transgender, intersex and other people who do not identify as male or female.
“Many of us have an ID that matches our gender presentation, and so showing it is hassle-free,” Atkins said in a statement. “But for Californians who have an ID that does not match their gender presentation, showing it at airports, in shops or to law enforcement can be extremely stressful and lead to harassment or a delay in completing a transaction. It doesn’t need to be this way.”
Lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to new rules for how "small cell" high-speed cellular equipment will be installed in communities across California, even as local government officials warned the move will strip them of making choices tailored to their communities.
The state Senate vote on SB 649 marked the end of a tumultuous few months of lobbying by the telecommunications industry and city and county officials, with relative little common ground found even as the bill was amended a half-dozen times.
If signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill would downsize the role played by city and county officials in setting limits on where the equipment for new 5G cellular service would be placed. Local governments would have less power to block the installation of the devices, which supporters claim would help ensure more communities are connected faster. They also argued that SB 649 would provide a boost to the state's economy.
California lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation that would give the state Justice Department control over all gang databases shared by law enforcement, repositories holding the personal information of thousands of people suspected of gang membership across the state.
The legislation by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) was introduced in response to a 2016 audit that found the state’s largest shared gang database had no structured oversight, and was filled with unsubstantiated entries and names that should have been purged.
The bill moved out of the Assembly with a 41-29 vote and is headed to the governor for final approval.