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August 2017 Essential Politics archives

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California Legislature

Democrats lack votes to pass key California housing bill

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said he hasn't made up his mind on SB 2. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said he hasn't made up his mind on SB 2. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Democrats remain short of the votes they need to pass a key part of the package of legislation aimed at addressing California's housing crisis.

Three Democrats in the Assembly told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday afternoon they remained undecided on Senate Bill 2, a measure that would add a $75 fee on many real estate transactions to fund low-income housing development.

SB 2 requires a two-thirds supermajority vote of the Assembly to pass. Assuming no support comes from Republican lawmakers, Assembly Democrats can't afford to lose any members of their caucus.

“I’m still looking at it,” said Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). “My concern is that it looks and smells like a tax.”

The bill’s author, Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) pushed through changes to the measure Tuesday morning to give cities and counties more direct control over the money generated by the fee in an effort to gain enough support.

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Daly of Anaheim said he was still reading through the amendments and hadn’t made up his mind.

After Democratic lawmakers gathered for lunch Tuesday, Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks exited with Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco. Chiu, who leads the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, was talking through the housing bills with her.

“I’m considering it still,” Irwin told The Times of SB 2.

SB 2 passed the state Senate on a party-line vote with the entire supermajority of Democrats voting yes.

Legislative leaders are aiming for a vote on a full package of housing bills, which include a bond measure on the 2018 ballot and legislation to ease local development regulations, as early as Friday.

Sept. 1, 1:30 p.m., This post was corrected to reflect that Democrats can't afford to lose any members on this vote. An earlier version incorrectly said they could lose one member.

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