Advocacy Updates, Relevance|

Architects-Voice-Advocacy-Update-sq-April2020The California State Legislature returns to Sacramento after missing more than a month due to the COVID-19 virus during what would otherwise have been a busy time.  The State Assembly returned this week, and the State Senate will return next week.

Legislative business will not be conducted as it normally would.  Most of the 2,000 bills introduced this year will be dropped.  There will be far fewer committee hearings held, and it will be difficult for the public to attend in person due to strict and safe occupancy limits in the committee hearing rooms.  The public is able to participate in the legislative process and testify at committee hearings by phone.

Even though most of the introduced bills will not be heard, two areas on which the Legislature will focus will be of interest to the architectural profession: the state budget and housing.

The Legislature will pass a 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget by June 15, but it will be very limited budget that funds a “bare bones” state government.  The Legislature will pass a more complete budget in August when it has a better understanding of how much state revenue has been received and what are the greatest needs for funding.  There will be a budget deficit going into August.  A very large deficit.  The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the budget could be $35 billion.  A budget deficit of this size will create considerable political pressure to raise new revenue, which could create an opportunity for proponents of a sales tax on services.  A coalition of professional service providers and business groups, of which AIA CA is a member, is watching this closely and will communicate regularly with key Members of the Legislature.

Housing will remain a focus of this Legislature.  This year saw many housing bills introduced.  While not all will have a hearing, many will be heard that focus on landlord-tenant relationships, foreclosures, homelessness, and the creation of affordable housing.  Some of the bills that will be heard include SB 902 (multifamily housing), AB 2345 (affordable housing), AB 2580 (conversion of motels/hotels), and AB 2988 (supportive housing).

AIA California will keep you informed of legislation under consideration that is important to the profession.

Please feel free to contact Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA, our Director of Government Relations, if you have any questions.  Mark can be reached at mchristian@aiacalifornia.org or 916-642-1708.

Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA
Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA
Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA, is the Director of Government Relations for the AIA California, a position he has held since 1999. In this position, Mark is responsible for monitoring the California State Legislature, identifying bills of interest to the profession, developing and implementing strategies for the positive outcome of legislation of interest to the profession, and representing the profession before the legislature.

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