As September comes to an end, it’s time for the California Governor, Jerry Brown, to make some decisions on legislation. As bills pass over his desk, let’s take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline and what’s been approved.
PASSED: Withholding Transportation Funds until Housing Quota Met (AB 1759)
This bill requires each city or county to meet the minimum housing production goal (as is written in their general development plan) in order to be eligible to receive a portion of the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program’s remaining funds. This bill, co-sponsored by the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors, was approved by the Governor on September 5th.
PASSED: Eviction Process Changes (AB 2343)
Landlords will now have to wait longer before starting the eviction process. Supported by Assemblyman David Chiu (D – San Francisco), the eviction notice wait time would exclude judicial holidays (including Saturday and Sunday). These provisions will become operative on September 1, 2019.
PASSED: Law Enforcement and Emergency Assistance Protections for Tenants and Property Owners (AB 2413)
Protection for Tenant’s and property owner’s right to call law enforcement or emergency assistance on behalf of a victim of abuse, crime or an individual emergency that the caller believes needs law enforcement or emergency assistance to prevent or deescalate. AB 2413 would also prohibit landlords from retaliating against victims or their households for contacting law enforcement or emergency assistance (in this context). Current law (in relation to an unlawful detainer) allows the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or elder/dependent adult abuse to attach a documented copy of a restraining, protection order, or report by a peace officer. This law would also allow the victim to provide a statement from a qualified 3rd party.
PENDING: Preventing Sexual Harassment
In the wake of the #MeToo movement (a campaign that works to bring light to sexual assault and harassment), focus has shifted towards correcting and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. The main focus of many of these bills is requiring training about harassment to be provided to all companies that have 5 or more employees. In the current political climate within California, it is expected that many of these will pass. These bills are:
- PENDING: SB 1300
Numerous changes to the California Fair Housing Act (FEHA), including at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all employees for Californian employers with more than 5 employees. It would also prohibit employers from allowing employees from signing a release of FEHA claims in exchange for a raise or bonus.
- PENDING: SB 1343
Like SB1300, this bill requires employers with 5+ employees to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all employees. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) would also be required to publish a two-hour training course for employers.
- PENDING: AB 1867
Californian employers (with 50+ employees) would be required to retain records of sexual harassment complaints for 10 years under this bill.
- PENDING: AB 3081
This bill would amend the California Labor Code to provide additional protections for victims of sexual harassment and would prohibit an employer from firing, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee due to their status as a victim of sexual harassment.
PENDING: California Environmental Quality Act Reform (AB 1804 – CEQA)
Presented by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D – Palo Alto), this bill would create an exemption for multifamily residential housing projects from CEQA. Certain conditions must be met in order to qualify for this exemption, but this bill would help to solve some of the demands of the housing crisis by removing some of the hurdles for apartment construction.
PENDING: Density for Low-Income Students (SB 1227)
Perhaps good news for college students, this bill would open the gates for more student housing. Density bonuses will be provided if all the units in the development will be used by full-time students (enrolled in an accredited university) and if the developer agrees that at least 20% of that rental housing will be used for low-income students. Sponsored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D – Berkeley), this would potentially provide affordable housing for students who need a place near campus.