December 16, 2018

2019 Shaping Up to be the #Year4Housing in the State Capitol


Members of the California State Legislature were sworn into office on Monday, December 3rd and didn’t waste any time—they introduced more than two-dozen housing-related bills for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session that same day. It is clear that our State representatives feel the urgency of and are eager to address California’s homelessness and affordability crises.

The Legislature will reconvene after the holidays on Monday, January 7th. That day, Governor-elect Gavin Newsom will take the oath of office and, later that week, he will submit his first proposed budget. The Governor-elect has expressed that housing will be one of his top priorities, and we will be watching closely to see how his proposed housing investments respond to the need.

In his last budget, Governor Brown approved $500 million in one-time spending from the State’s General Fund for Homeless Emergency Aid Block Grants. We are hopeful our new Governor will build on this commitment and include more housing investments in his spending plan.

Some of the key housing bills now in print include:

  • AB 10—which proposes a $500 million increase in the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • AB 11 and SB 5—which would create a new local redevelopment program
  • SB 4, SB 6, and SB 50—which would reform local zoning to expand available sites for multifamily housing
  • AB 36 and SB 18—which stabilize rents and protect tenants
  • AB 68, AB 69, and SB 13—which would expedite the approval and facilitate the construction of accessory dwelling units

Several of these bills are currently spot bills with only intent language—over the next several months, they will need substantive amendments that provide much more detail in order to accomplish the stated goals. Several of these bills will also require significant investments from the State’s General Fund.

In addition, constitutional amendments have been introduced to repeal Article 34 of the California Constitution, which requires a local vote when public financing is used to construct affordable housing (SCA 1), and to lower the voter approval threshold to 55% for local funding measures for housing and public infrastructure (ACA 1). These measures would need to be approved by 2/3rds super majorities of the Legislature and then approved by a simple majority of voters on a Statewide ballot.

Stay tuned for updates and more details from us in the new year. Also, be sure to follow our new Deputy Director, Michael Lane, on Twitter for breaking news, insider views and hot takes in real time: @michaeldlane