With time running out before lawmakers break for summer recess, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced Monday that they were postponing a vote on a package of bills to address the state’s housing affordability crisis until August.
“The package of legislation we are all working on will help ensure Californians won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have a roof over their head,” Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said in a joint statement.
The package of housing bills, the statement said, will include ongoing funding for low-income development, a bond on the 2018 statewide ballot and regulatory changes to make it easier to build housing. Notable is Brown’s support for a bond measure, which he has been resistant to in the past.
Senators are breaking ahead of an expected late-night vote on extending cap and trade, the state's signature program to combat climate change.
There will likely be three measures voted on today as part of the cap-and-trade package:
Assembly Bill 398: This is the main cap-and-trade bill, which would extend the program, now set to expire in 2020, for an additional decade. Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are aiming for a two-thirds supermajority vote of the Legislature to insulate the decision from legal challenges.
Assembly Bill 617: This is a companion bill designed to strengthen air quality rules across California. It was designed to address concerns from Democrats that cap and trade wasn't doing enough to protect communities from pollution. This measure requires a simple majority vote.
Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1: This is a potential 2018 ballot measure written by Assembly GOP leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley. It would require one-time supermajority approval in 2024, as opposed to the majority vote typically necessary, to spend money generated by cap-and-trade auctions as a way to ensure that Republicans have more influence in doling out those revenues. This measure also requires a supermajority vote before it goes on the ballot.
All three measures are starting in the Senate, and if they pass they'll move to the Assembly for final approval. You can watch the Senate debate live here.
The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced hotly contested legislation on climate change and air quality on Monday afternoon, setting the stage for a vote of the full Legislature later in the evening.
The two measures would extend the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions, and require tougher regulations on pollution in disadvantaged communities.
The legislation is the product of intense negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown, environmentalists, industry lobbyists and lawmakers.
California lawmakers will not vote on a package of bills Monday designed to address the state's housing crisis, according to the leader of the state Senate.
A bloc of legislators, led by progressive Democrats in the Assembly, have pushed for action on housing amid a broader debate over the future of the state's climate change policies. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said last week they were delaying a vote on extending the state's cap-and-trade program in part to “allow our discussion on long-term housing affordability solutions in California to catch up to the climate effort.”
But De León spokesman Jonathan Underland said lawmakers won't be voting on housing Monday.