October 2018 – This Month in Sacramento

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Legislative Update
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate


The Legislature completed its final month of the 2017-18 legislative session on August 31st. The campaign to stop the repeal of Senate Bill 1 is heating up. ASCE members are reminded of Region 9’s opposition to the repeal (Proposition 6). 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.

State Legislation

Several hundred bills were passed in the last month of session. Below is a list of bills Region 9 was monitoring that were approved and sent to the Governor. Next month we will report on what happened to each Bill.


SB 1262 (Beall) This bill makes various changes to Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) requirements administered by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for state highway projects. Assembly Amendments add findings and declarations relative to the CM/GC project delivery method, changes reporting requirements to include an interim report to be completed by Caltrans, and establishes a cost threshold of $10 million for all CM/GC projects approved by Caltrans.


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.


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.

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

AB 2681 (Nazarian) This bill would require 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.

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


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

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.


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.


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.

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

AB 1919 (Wood) Expands the scope of the crime of price gouging by including rental housing that was not on the market at the time of the proclamation or declaration of emergency.

AB 1943 (Waldron) This bill 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.

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,

AB 2132 (Levine) This bill 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.

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

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.

AB 2588 (Chu) This bill requires 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

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

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.

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

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

SB 1202 (Stone) This bill 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

SB 1227 (Skinner) This bill 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.

SB 1415 (McGuire) This bill 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.


AB 91 (Cervantes) Requires the Department of Transportation (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 

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.


AB 2307 (Frazier) Requires all Governor’s appointees to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (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) This bill 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.

AB 2596 (Cooley) Requires the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to take the lead in preparing a California Economic Development Strategic Action Plan (ED Action Plan).

SB 961 (Allen) This bill 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.

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


SB 1328 (Beall) This bill 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.


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.

AB 2050 (Caballero) Creates the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018, which authorizes the creation of small system water authorities (authority) that will have powers to absorb, improve, and operate noncompliant public water systems.

AB 2060 (Garcia, Eduardo) Requires advanced payment, as specified, 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).

AB 2064 (Gloria) This bill, until January 1, 2025, establishes 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

New Reports of Interest

Water Main Break Rates in the USA and Canada: A Comprehensive Study was released by Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Faculty Publications“A critical component to public health and economic well-being is our drinking water which is brought to the tap through an elaborate network of underground pipe distribution systems. Since most of this infrastructure is underground, it is out of sight and often neglected…. This report documents the survey results of water main breaks and operating characteristics at utilities located in the US and Canada.” Findings include: break rates have increased 27% in the past six years; 82% of cast iron pipes are over 50 years old and are experiencing a 43% increase in break rates; and smaller utilities have twice the number of main breaks as large utilities. California and Nevada were surveyed together as Region 2, but the survey did not identify the California cities or utilities that were part of the survey.

Lights Out: Climate Change Risk to Internet Infrastructure. was released by Applied Networking Research Workshop. This paper analyzes potential risks to internet infrastructure due to climate change. It concludes that substantial portions of the United States’ internet infrastructure will be underwater in 15 years. New York, NY, is predicted to suffer most extensive damage, followed by Miami, FL, and Seattle WA. Major California cities are also projected to be impacted, including San Francisco, Palo Alto and Los Angeles. “While it is difficult to project the impact of countermeasures such as sea walls, our results suggest the urgency of developing mitigation strategies and alternative infrastructure deployments.

CA State Auditor’s office has released its report, “Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program: The State Could Save Millions of Dollars Annually by Implementing Lessons Learned,” cites effectiveness of Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee as having saved “at least $505 million” in costs and its risk management policies having prevented “more than $455 million in potential costs and seven years in probable delay;” finds “with more than $600 billion in transportation infrastructure projects projected to occur over the next several decades in three of the State’s largest metropolitan areas alone, a lack of sufficient oversight and risk management could result in significant delays and cost escalations that taxpayers ultimately would bear.”

California Natural Resources Agency has released the Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which includes “44 technical reports and 13 summary reports on climate change impacts to help ready the state for a future punctuated by severe wildfires, more frequent and longer droughts, rising sea levels, increased flooding, coastal erosion and extreme heat events;” says “by the year 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, on study found the average area burned by wildfires would increase 77 percent and the frequency of extreme wildfires burning more than 25,000 acres would increase by nearly 50 percent.”

Sierra Club California has released its report on “housing crisis,” finds crisis “is largely the result of housing policies and a land-use pattern that was set 70 to 100 years ago” and “areas of rapid employment growth have rarely planned for the construction of affordable housing within a reasonable commuting distance;” recommendations include state mandating that cities which “fall behind” Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals “must rezone lands around transit stations” and reforming the Regional Housing Needs Assessment process into a state planning program.

State Controller Appointment

To the California High-Speed Rail Authority Peer Review Group: Bijan Sartipi, Walnut Creek, former Caltrans district director for the Bay Area, fills position in the PRG designated for a person with experience in engineering and construction of high-speed rail or similar large infrastructure projects, formerly filled by Mark Leja.





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