December 2018 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate


The Governor has completed his final review of Legislation. Governor Brown vetoed 16.5% of all bills passed this year by the Legislature (vetoed 201 out of 1,217).

ASCE members are reminded of Region 9’s opposition to Proposition 6 which would repeal SB1. ASCE’s 18,000 California members should all be advocates for Vote No on Proposition 6. If each member convinces just 5 friends or relative – that could be a swing of 100,000 votes.

The following is the 2018 State Legislation recap:


AB 2654 (Quirk-Silva) authorizes the County of Orange to use the design-build process for specified types of public works infrastructure projects, limited to no more than one project per year in excess of $5,000,000. The bill would also authorize the Orange County Flood Control District to use the design-build process for flood protection improvements and would limit those to no more than 12 projects in excess of $5,000,000 prior to January 1, 2025. Chaptered

SB 1262 (Beall) removes the cap on the number of projects for which the Department of Transportation is authorized to use the CM/GC method and make conforming changes to existing provisions; imposes the requirement to use department employees or consultants to perform project design and engineering services on at least 2/3 of the projects delivered by the department utilizing the CM/GC method. Chaptered


AB 1804 (Berman) Establishes a limited exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for multi-family residential and mixed-use housing projects meeting specified conditions. Chaptered


AB 1857 (Nazarian) Requires the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) to assemble a working group to investigate and, by July 1, 2022, determine criteria for a “functional recovery” voluntary or mandatory standards following a seismic event for all or some building occupancy classifications. Vetoed

AB 2190 (Reyes) Provides for an extension of the January 1, 2020, hospital seismic safety deadline of up to 30 months (until July 1, 2022) for hospitals that plan to replace or retrofit a building to at least the 2020 standard of Seismic Performance Category – 2 (SPC), and up to five years (January 1, 2025) for hospitals that plan to rebuild to SPC-4D or SPC-5 standards that meet 2030 standards. Chaptered

AB 2681 (Nazarian) This bill would have required each building department of a city or county to create an inventory of potentially vulnerable buildings within its jurisdiction and submit that inventory to the State office of emergency services. Brown vetoed the bill, noting, “this bill will not provide the greatest value for the significant investment this enterprise requires. A more suitable approach is to develop a partnership between the state, local governments and building owners to develop a plan to cost effectively identify collapse prone buildings and a realistic timetable to develop an inventory.

AB 2927 (Nazarian) This bill clarifies existing law permitting the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) to sell post-event bonds to pay claims. Chaptered


AB 1668 (Friedman) Along with SB 606 (Hertzberg) they would jointly create new long-term urban water use standards. Chaptered

AB 2371 (Carrillo) Requires the implementation of 6 distinct policies that affect outdoor landscape water use efficiency. Chaptered

SB 606 (Hertzberg) Along withAB 1668 (Friedman) they would jointly create new long-term urban water use standards. Chaptered

Construction Practices

AB 3177 (Chávez) Repeals provisions of law requiring the North County Transit District (NCTD) to award contracts exceeding $50,000 for supplies, equipment, and materials to the lowest responsible bidder and, instead, allows NCTD to establish and use a flexible process for these contracts and for service contracts. Chaptered


AB 3232 (Friedman) Requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a plan to ensure that all new residential and nonresidential buildings be zero-emission buildings and a strategy to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by the state’s residential and nonresidential building stock by 2030. Chaptered


AB 2062 (Maienschein) will require planting projects undertaken or approved by Caltrans to include, when appropriate and consistent with integrated pest management strategies, California native wildflowers and native and climate-appropriate vegetation as an integral and permanent part of the planting design, with priority given to those species of wildflower and native and climate-appropriate vegetation that will help rebuild pollinator populations. Chaptered


AB 829 (Chiu) Prohibits cities and counties from requiring a letter of acknowledgment or similar document prior to applying for state assistance for any housing development. Chaptered 

AB 1771 (Bloom) Makes changes to the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) plan objectives, methodology, distribution, and appeals process. Chaptered

AB 1943 (Waldron) allows a registered owner of a mobilehome in a mobilehome park that is converted or proposed to be converted to a resident-owned park to submit written evidence of ownership as proof that they own, hold title to, or are purchasing the real property where the mobilehome is to be installed. Chaptered 

AB 2035 (Mullin) Makes a number of administrative and technical changes to Affordable Housing Authority (AHA) Law. The Senate amendments allows an AHA to finance water, sewer, or other public infrastructure necessary to support the development of affordable housing. Chaptered

AB 2132 (Levine) authorizes cities and counties to waive or reduce all building permit fees for improvements to the home of a senior with a qualifying disability that are made to accommodate that disability. Chaptered 

AB 2162 (Chiu) Streamlines affordable housing developments that include a percentage of supportive housing units and onsite services. Chaptered

AB 2372 (Gloria) Provides that a local government may establish a procedure by ordinance to grant a developer of an eligible housing development, upon the request of the developer, a floor area ratio (FAR) bonus in lieu of a density bonus. Chaptered

AB 2588 (Chu) This bill would have required all used mobilehomes that are sold or rented to have a smoke detector and requires mobilehome park owners to post emergency procedures annually, in multiple languages. Brown vetoed the bill noting “This is a matter best addressed by local governments in collaboration with the mobilehome park owners. This partnership would allow for the tailoring of each emergency plan to reflect the unique topography, climate, and conditions of each individual community.” 

AB 2753 (Friedman) Makes changes to the density bonus application process for development. Chaptered

AB 2797 (Bloom) Provides that, while state density bonus law does not supercede or in any way alter or lessen the effect or application of the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Act), any density bonus shall not be a basis for finding a project inconsistent with Section 30251 of the Public Resources Code, which relates to the scenic and visual qualities of coastal areas. Chaptered

AB 3194 (Daly) Makes a number of changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Chaptered

SB 828 (Wiener) This bill makes a number of changes to the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) process. Chaptered

SB 1115 (Hill) This bill increases the current cap on the value for purposes of the welfare exemption from property tax for non-publicly financed affordable housing from $10 million in value to $20 million. Chaptered

SB 1202 (Stone) requires local governments that have not completed a required report on mitigation fees for three consecutive years to pay the costs of requested audits of their mitigation fee funds. Chaptered

SB 1227 (Skinner) requires cities and counties to grant a density bonus when an applicant for a housing development of five or more units seeks and agrees to construct a project that will contain at least 20% of the total units for lower-income students in a student housing development, as specified. Chaptered

SB 1415 (McGuire) requires building inspections of specified storage structures, authorizes fees to cover inspection costs, requires reporting of the backlog of mandated building inspections by local governments, and generally extends existing tenant protections and notifications to buildings which are used for human habitation, as distinct from residential buildings. Vetoed


AB 91 (Cervantes) Requires Caltrans to report to the Legislature, on or before January 1, 2020, on the feasibility and appropriateness of limiting the hours of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in Riverside County. Chaptered

AB 2865 (Chiu) Authorizes the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to apply to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) for the authority to conduct, administer, and operate a value pricing program or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in the City and County San Francisco. Chaptered


AB 2307 (Frazier) would have required all Governor’s appointees to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors be confirmed by the California State Senate. Brown vetoed the bill citing “In 2016, I signed Assembly Bill 1813 that added two members of the Legislature to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors as ex-officio members. These additions brought the total number of legislative appointments to six out of the board’s eleven total positions. Such strong legislative presence on the board provides an unusual degree of accountability. This, in my judgement, when combined with the Independent Peer Review Group and oversight provided by the Legislative Analyst and State Auditor, should be enough to meet the author’s objectives.”


AB 2543 (Eggman) requires each state agency or department authorized to undertake any infrastructure project costing $100 million or more to post on its Internet Web site any change in the cost or schedule of the project that will result in the project exceeding its established budget by 10 percent or more, or being delayed 12 months or longer. Chaptered 

AB 2596 (Cooley) would have required the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to take the lead in preparing a California Economic Development Strategic Action Plan. Brown vetoed noting, “Since its inception, GO-Biz has expanded direct foreign investment, created opportunities for small businesses, identified incentives for growth, and helped resolve barriers for businesses navigating the government. These successes are due, in part, to the ability of GO-Biz to nimbly respond to rapidly changing economic factors including unpredictable federal decisions, natural disasters and more. I don’t believe an ongoing costly study and report will provide any additional benefit to these efforts.”

SB 961 (Allen) enacts the Second Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvements Act (NIFTI-2), which allows certain enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs) to issue debt for affordable housing near transit without voter approval. Chaptered

SB 1145 (Leyva) authorizes enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs) to fund maintenance of public capital facilities on a pay-as-you-go basis. Chaptered


SB 1328 (Beall) extends the life of the Road Usage Charge Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for four additional years and requires it to continue assessing the potential for mechanisms such as a mileage-based revenue system to use as an alternative to the gas tax for generating the revenues necessary to maintain and operate the state’s transportation system. Chaptered


AB 747 (Caballero) creates within the State Water Resources Control Board an Administrative Hearings Office, effective July 1, 2019, to ensure that water rights matters are resolved in a timely manner. Chaptered 

AB 2050 (Caballero) would have created the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018, which would have authorized the creation of small system water authorities that would have powers to absorb, improve, and operate noncompliant public water systems. Brown vetoed noting, “this bill creates an expensive, bureaucratic process and does not address the most significant problem with providing safe drinking water – a stable funding source to pay for ongoing operations and maintenance costs. My administration remains committed to a comprehensive solution to address safe drinking water issues based on shared responsibility between water users and water providers that will not result in ongoing costs to the General Fund. I urge the Legislature and stakeholders to work towards a stable funding solution in 2019.

AB 2060 (Garcia, Eduardo) would have required advanced payment of grants disbursed through the Integrated Regional Water Management plan program, the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Small Community Grant Fund, and the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). Brown vetoed noting, “I appreciate the author’s intent to help nonprofit organizations and disadvantaged communities meet cash-flow needs when managing projects. In recent years, however, the State Water Board has established other means for grantees or address cash-flow problems. For example, the State Water Board facilitates payment of invoices, including paying additional fees to the State Controller for expedited processing. Additionally, when a grantee obtains a bridge loan to access funds before completion of a project, the State Water Board will reimburse the grantee for interest costs. As such, the additional financial risks and administrative costs associated with advanced payments, as proposed in AB 2060, are unwarranted.”

AB 2064 (Gloria) This bill would have established requirements relating to the advanced funding for grants awarded from the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) program for projects executed by nonprofit organizations and disadvantaged communities, or projects located in disadvantaged communities, less than $1 million. Brown vetoed noting “To date, the Department of Water Resources has advanced approximately $8.7 million for seven grants from Proposition 84 funds and five grants from Proposition 1 funds. Notwithstanding the merits of this bill, the additional financial risk and administrative costs associated with the advanced payment process, as proposed in this bill, are unwarranted.”

AB 2501 (Chu) Revises and recasts existing law to expand the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board’s) authority to order the consolidation of, and appoint an administrator for, drinking water systems that serve a disadvantaged community and that consistently fail to provide safe, affordable drinking water. Chaptered

SB 998 (Dodd) exempts some urban and community water systems from existing procedural safeguards against residential utility shut-offs when customers fail to pay their utility bills. Chaptered

Water Quality

AB 1529 (Thurmond) Requires that cross-connection or backflow prevention certifications that meet specified regulatory requirements for competency are accepted certification tests either until the State Water Resources Control Board promulgates related standards or until January 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Brown vetoed the bill noting the “bill is unnecessary and limits a water supplier’s ability to protect public health and safety. The Water Board is in the process of developing new cross-connection and backflow prevention standards, which will provide consistent direction on the issue. Furthermore, the proposed regulations will preserve water suppliers’ discretion to require standards that are more rigorous.”

SB 1133 (Portantino) Authorizes the Los Angeles regional water quality control board to accept and spend funds from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to prepare a major revision to their water quality control plan. Chaptered

SB 1215 (Hertzberg) SB 1215 would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to order the provision of sewer service to a disadvantaged community that does not have adequate sewer service. Chaptered

New Reports of Interest

Public Policy Institute of California has released its fact sheet, “Californians’ Views on Climate Change,” findings include “a majority of Californians say it is very important (54%) that the state  is a world leader in fighting climate change,” also: “Most are concerned about the effects of global warming – including severe wildfires and rising sea levels. Majorities support action on climate change even if it increases costs.”

The Dept. of Water Resources released an Economic Analysis of the California WaterFix prepared by UC Berkeley Prof. David Sunding, finds “substantial benefits” for State Water Project contractors, says “urban agencies could see about $3.1 billion in net benefits” and “agricultural agencies would see about $400 million in net benefits.”

CA State Auditor’s office has released its report, “California Department of Housing and Community Development: Its Oversight of Housing Bond Funds Remains Inconsistent,” finds that after having conducted five audits of programs that distribute nearly $5 billion in affordable housing bonds passed by voters in 2002 and 2006, HCD “continues to monitor its housing bond programs inconsistently” and “as a result, HCD cannot be sure if the bond funds benefited the target population;” recommends Legislature require that HCD give it annual reports “to demonstrate that recipients have issued loans to eligible homeowners.”

Public Policy Institute of California released Managing Drought in a Changing Climate: Four Essential Reforms. “While California is making good progress in some areas of drought management, a more focused plan of action is needed.” The report puts forward four reforms to “prepare for and respond to droughts in California’s changing climate”: 1) Plan ahead for urban water management, groundwater sustainability, safe drinking water in rural areas of California, and freshwater ecosystems; 2) upgrade the water grid, including above- and below-ground storage, conveyance, etc.; 3) update water allocation rules; and 4) locate reliable funding for adaptation to climate change.

America’s Pledge Initiative on Climate released Fulfilling America’s Pledge: How States, Cities, and Businesses are Leading the United States to a Low-Carbon Future. The America’s Pledge team, co-chaired by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, provides an assessment “of how U.S. states, cities, businesses, and others … are embracing new economic opportunities and technologies to implement climate targets and deliver emissions reductions within their own jurisdictions and operations under their own authority.” The report offers a 10-strategy outline and includes new state research concerning potential vulnerabilities and solutions.

The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education released Driverless? Autonomous Trucks and the Future of the American Trucker. “The $740-billion-a-year U.S. trucking industry is widely expected to be an early adopter of self-driving technology, with numerous tech companies and major truck makers racing to build autonomous trucks… Autonomous trucks could replace as many as 294,000 long-distance drivers, including some of the best jobs in the industry. Many other freight-moving jobs will be created in their place, perhaps even more than will be lost, but these new jobs will be local driving and last-mile delivery jobs that—absent proactive public policy—will likely be misclassified independent contractors and have lower wages and poor working conditions..… Trucking is an extremely competitive sector in which workers often end up absorbing the costs of transitions and inefficiencies. Strong policy leadership is needed to ensure that the benefits of innovation in the industry are shared broadly between technology companies, trucking companies, drivers, and communities.”


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