Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Glazer’s bill allowing Contra Costa half-cent sales tax increase signed by governor

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Votes for Measure X will now count; sales taxes in the county could go to 10.75%, highest in California; Glazer’s second tax increase measure on November ballot

State Senator Steve Glazer. From his campaign Facebook page.

By Allen Payton

On the last day possible, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a variety of bills on Thursday, including SB1349 by State Senator Steve Glazer, allowing a countywide half-cent sales tax increase which is designated Measure X on the November ballot in Contra Costa. The votes on that measure will now count. Had the governor vetoed the bill the votes would not have counted. He also had the option of not signing it by the Sept. 30th deadline and the bill would have become law.

The ballot language for Measure X reads as follows: “To keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staffed; fund community health centers; provide timely fire and emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential county services, shall the Contra Costa County measure levying a ½ cent sales tax, exempting food sales, providing an estimated $81,000,000 annually for 20 years that the State cannot take, with funds benefitting County residents, be adopted?”

Glazer introduced the bill in the State Senate on February 21, 2020 focusing on “State responsibility area fire prevention fees”. He changed it to, “Transactions and use taxes: County of Contra Costa” on April 8, 2020 after the March Primary election was decided and the countywide additional half-cent sales tax increase for transportation failed.

It took some maneuvering in the State Senate Governance & Finance Committee to get the bill to the floor for a full vote. The bill first failed on a 3-2-2 vote on May 21. A motion to reconsider the bill then passed 7-0 on May 28 and a final committee vote was held on June 3 with just enough to pass by a vote of 4-2-1. It then passed the full Senate on June 11 by a vote of 27-11-2 with both Glazer and State Senator Nancy Skinner, who represents all of West County, voting in favor.

In the Assembly, Member Tim Grayson carried the bill which passed 48-23-8, with the other three Assemblymembers representing Contra Costa County, Jim Frazier, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Buffy Wicks not voting.

The Contra Costa County Public Managers Association was coordinating the effort to get the bill passed and the City Managers were the ones who endorsed it, not the various city councils.

The state has a sales tax rate of 7.25%, decreased from 7.5% on January 1, 2017, and state law prevented counties from charging more than 9.25% prior to the bill becoming law. That includes the half-cent sales tax for BART and the additional half-cent sales tax for transportation through the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. That leaves 1% remaining by which the county can increase its sales tax.

The Board of Supervisors considered a sales tax increase that would have only applied to unincorporated areas outside the 19 city limits. But that was quietly set aside.

According to the Senate Governance & Finance Committee Bill Analysis the earlier version of the bill that passed the Senate the first time, would have allowed a possible increase in the countywide sales tax rate to 11.75% in cities that already have a 1% sales tax such as in Antioch, and as high as 12.25% in El Cerrito which has a 1.5% city sales tax. However, the governor’s office said that went too far and the final bill was scaled back.

California’s sales tax rate is high compared to other states, especially when incorporating locally imposed district taxes. Tax experts argue that sales and use taxes are regressive, meaning that the tax incidence falls more on low-income individuals than high-income individuals because those of lesser means generally spend a greater percentage of their income on taxable sales, instead of intangible products or services which are not taxed.

By removing the current Contra Costa Transportation Authority and BART taxes as counting against the cap, in the final version of SB 1349, which passed the Senate the second time and signed by Newsom, allows an additional 1% of room for the county and each of its 19 cities to impose another district of up to 1% in sales tax. If voters approve the 1/2% allowed under Measure X, when it states that existing taxes do not count against the cap, the combined rate would increase to 8.75% countywide, plus any current city rates. The bill also grants Contra Costa County an additional authorization for another 1/2% sales tax increase, such as for the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, thereby boosting the maximum countywide rate to 9.25%, plus any current city rates.

That could result in a rate as high as 10.75% in the City of El Cerrito, where an additional 1.5% rate currently applies, and a 10.25% rate in the City of Antioch where they have a current 1% sales tax.

Glazer had the support of his bill from the California Labor Federation, California Professional Firefighters, California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa Transportation Authority, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21, Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 29, and SEIU California.

Those opposed to SB1349 were the Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers, California Taxpayers Association, Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund.

In spite of campaigning as a fiscal conservative, touting a hold the line approach to new taxes, this is Glazer’s second measure on the November ballot that will increase taxes if passed. The other is statewide Prop. 19, which will increase taxes on inherited homes or commercial property. According to Ballotpedia, “The ballot measure would eliminate the parent-to-child and grandparent-to-grandchild exemption in cases where the child or grandchild does not use the inherited property as their principal residence, such as using a property a rental house or a second home. When the inherited property is used as the recipient’s principal residence but has a market value above $1 million, an upward adjustment in assessed value would occur. The ballot measure would also apply these rules to certain farms. Beginning on February 16, 2023, the taxable value of an inherited principal residential property would be adjusted each year at a rate equal to the change in the California House Price Index.”

Following is the Legislative Counsel’s Digest and text of Glazer’s bill:

Senate Bill No. 1349

CHAPTER 369

An act to amend Section 29140 of the Public Utilities Code, and to amend Section 7291 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation.

[ Approved by Governor  September 30, 2020. Filed with Secretary of State  September 30, 2020. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 1349, Glazer. Transactions and use taxes: County of Contra Costa.

Existing law authorizes various specified cities and counties, subject to certain limitations and approval requirements, to levy a transactions and use tax for general or specific purposes, in accordance with the procedures and requirements set forth in the Transactions and Use Tax Law. A provision of the Transactions and Use Tax Law prohibits the combined rate of all taxes that may be imposed in accordance with that law in a county from exceeding 2%.

Existing law authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to impose a transactions and use tax for the support of countywide transportation programs at a rate of no more than 0.5% that, in combination with other transactions and use taxes, exceeds the above-described combined rate limit of 2%, if certain requirements are met, including a requirement that the ordinance proposing the transactions and use tax be submitted to, and approved by, the voters. Existing law repeals this authorization on December 31, 2020, if an ordinance proposing a transactions and use tax has not been approved by that date.

Existing law, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District Act, creates the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, which comprises a territory that includes the County of Contra Costa, and, among other things, authorizes the board of directors of the district to impose transactions and use taxes in conformity with the Transactions and Use Tax Law for specified purposes, subject to periodic legislative review and amendment, as provided.

This bill would provide that, notwithstanding the combined rate limit under the Transactions and Use Tax Law, neither a transaction and use tax rate imposed in the County of Contra Costa by the transportation authority under the above-described authority nor a transactions and use tax rate imposed by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, as specified, will be considered for purposes of that combined rate limit within the County of Contra Costa. The bill would declare that the changes made with regard to taxes imposed by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority for countywide transportation programs are declaratory of existing law.

This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for the County of Contra Costa.

<hr size=1 width=1209 style=’width:907.1pt’ noshade style=’color:#333333′>

BILL TEXT

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.

Section 29140 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

29140.

(a) The board shall, by ordinance, impose transactions and use taxes in conformity with Part 1.6 (commencing with Section 7251) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code for the purposes specified in Sections 29142 and 29142.2, subject to periodic legislative review and amendment.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding Section 7251.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a transactions and use tax rate imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) on or before January 1, 2020, that applies within the County of Alameda shall not be considered for purposes of the combined rate limit within the County of Alameda established by that section.

(2) Notwithstanding Section 7251.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a transactions and use tax rate imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) on or before the effective date of the act adding this subdivision that applies within the County of Contra Costa shall not be considered for purposes of the combined rate limit within the County of Contra Costa established by that section.

SEC. 2.

Section 7291 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is amended to read:

7291.

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority may impose a transactions and use tax for the support of countywide transportation programs at a rate of no more than 0.5 percent that would, in combination with all taxes imposed pursuant to Part 1.6 (commencing with Section 7251), exceed the limit established in Section 7251.1, if all of the following requirements are met:

(1) The Contra Costa Transportation Authority adopts an ordinance proposing the transactions and use tax by any applicable voting approval requirement.

(2) The ordinance proposing the transactions and use tax is submitted to the electorate and is approved by the voters voting on the ordinance pursuant to Article XIII C of the California Constitution.

(3) The transactions and use tax conforms to the Transactions and Use Tax Law, Part 1.6 (commencing with Section 7251), other than Section 7251.1.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding Section 7251.1, a transactions and use tax rate imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not be considered for purposes of the combined rate limit established by Section 7251.1.

(2) This subdivision does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.

SEC. 3.

The Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique fiscal pressures being experienced in the County of Contra Costa.

 

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Governor Newsom signs bills ending police chokeholds, implementing other reforms

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

Main graphic by Carotid Restraint Training Institute.

Requiring independent investigations of officer-involved shootings; reforming juvenile justice and probation systems to aid in rehabilitation and reentry

SACRAMENTO – In the wake of nationwide demonstrations against structural racism and systemic injustice, Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed a series of bills into law initiating critical criminal justice, juvenile justice and policing reforms in California. Delivering on his promise this summer to sign a bill ending the use of the carotid restraint, Governor Newsom signed AB 1196 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) which bans the practice statewide. The maneuver known as a chokehold, was banned by District Attorney Diana Becton for her Investigative Unit in June. (See related article).

Newsom also signed AB 1506 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) requiring the California Attorney General to conduct investigations into officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals that result in death. He also took action on legislation that reforms the juvenile justice system to put more emphasis on rehabilitation and education, as well as creating a more just probation system.

“Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system – and of ourselves,” said Governor Newsom. “We heard those calls for action loud and clear and today are advancing reforms to improve policing practices by ending the carotid hold and requiring independent investigations in officer-involved shootings. We are also taking important steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline. Still, we can and must do more. Working with our youth, faith and community leaders, law enforcement, the Legislature and countless others demanding change, my Administration remains committed to the important work ahead to make our criminal and juvenile justice systems fairer and safer for all Californians.”

Today’s action builds on Governor Newsom’s record enacting major change on criminal justice reform during his first years in office – from enacting one of the nation’s strongest police use-of-force standards, to putting a moratorium on the death penalty and shutting down California’s execution chamber, to closing prisons. The Administration will continue to work with the Legislature on additional reforms, including efforts to increase transparency in peace officer records and broader decertification measures to create accountability for officers with a history of misconduct.

Governor Newsom also took action today on important juvenile justice reforms. Building on the Governor’s commitment to end juvenile imprisonment as we know it, he signed several bills to support young people coming out of the criminal justice system and to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. SB 823 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review takes the first, formal step of closing the Division of Juvenile Justice, which will help to provide youth rehabilitative services closer to home.

Other bills the Governor signed today that support youth include AB 901 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), which will end the practice of referring youth who are having problems at school to probation programs. Additionally, SB 203 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) requires that children under age 17 have an opportunity to consult with legal counsel before interrogation, and SB 1290 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) will cancel certain fees assessed on juvenile offenders and their families.

Finally, Governor Newsom signed AB 1950 by Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), which caps probation terms to a maximum of one year for misdemeanor offenses and two years for felonies.

Governor Newsom also signed:

  • AB 646 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) – Elections: voter eligibility.
  • AB 732 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) – County jails: prisons: incarcerated pregnant persons.
  • AB 846 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) – Public employment: public officers or employees declared by law to be peace officers.
  • AB 1304 by Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) – California MAT Re-Entry Incentive Program. A signing message can be found here.
  • AB 1775 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – False reports and harassment.
  • AB 2321 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – Juvenile court records: access.
  • AB 2425 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Juvenile police records.
  • AB 2512 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Death penalty: person with an intellectual disability.
  • AB 2606 by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside) – Criminal justice: supervised release file.
  • AB 3043 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – Corrections: confidential calls.
  • AB 3234 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Public Safety. A signing message can be found here.
  • SB 480 by Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) – Law enforcement uniforms.
  • SB 1126 by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) – Juvenile court records.
  • SB 1196 by Senator Thomas Umberg (D-Santa Ana) – Price gouging.

 

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House passes McNerney-Latta electric grid security legislation

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, September 29, 2020,, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 359, the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act, and H.R. 360, the Cyber Sense Act – two critical bills introduced by Congressmen Jerry McNerney (CA-09) and Bob Latta (OH-05) which would bolster America’s electric infrastructure by encouraging coordination between the Department of Energy (DOE) and electric utilities.

“It is more important than ever that Congress pursue policies to support our grid infrastructure and secure it against potential physical and cyber threats,” said Congressman McNerney. “These bills will not only strengthen the electric utility system, they will also help build partnerships between DOE and industry. I’m proud that they have passed the House and I thank my friend and co-sponsor, Congressman Latta, for his partnership on this important issue.”

“Over the last quarter century, we have seen incredible changes to the way we communicate with the rest of the world and the way we engage in commerce,” said Congressman Latta. “Along with these changes, we have also seen innovation in the technologies that power society, resulting in a more efficient and streamlined electric grid. Unfortunately, the promise of a more interconnected society also means that we must also address the challenges and vulnerabilities that arise with it. I am pleased to see the passage of two bills working to improve our nation’s grid security and resiliency, and I am proud to have led these bills with Congressman McNerney over the past two Congresses.”

H.R. 359 directs DOE to facilitate and encourage public-private partnerships in order to improve cybersecurity of electric utilities. The legislation would improve sharing of best practices and data collection, along with providing training and technical assistance to electric utilities in order to address and mitigate cybersecurity risks.

H.R. 360 would create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system. The bill also establishes a testing process for the products, along with a reporting process of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and it would require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.

Congressmen McNerney and Latta co-chair the Grid Innovation Caucus, which was founded to provide a forum for discussing solutions to the many challenges facing the grid, and to educate Members of Congress and staff about the importance of the electric grid with relation to the economy, energy security, and advanced technologies being utilized to enhance grid capabilities.

 

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Glazer votes for, Newsom signs bill requiring California to house inmates based on gender identity

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Frazier doesn’t vote, again; SB 132 requires Dep’t. of Corrections to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people based on their choice.

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

By Allen Payton

Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, Sept. 26 signed a package of pro-LGBTQ+ bills, including SB132 requiring the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex (TGI) individuals in a manner that matches their gender identity while supporting health and safety.

SB 132 also requires CDCR to house people according to their own sense of where they will be safest and to record the individual’s self-reported gender identity, gender pronouns and honorifics throughout an inmate’s term.

State Senators Steve Glazer (D-7, Orinda) and Nancy Skinner (D-9, Oakland) were joined by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16, San Ramon), who all represent portions of Contra Costa County, in voting for the bill. Assemblymembers Jim Frazier (D-11, Discovery Bay), Tim Grayson (D-14, Concord), and Buffy Wicks (D-15, Oakland) who also represent portions of the county, did not vote.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Scott Weiner (D-11, San Francisco) who also authored the controversial SB145 regarding non-regular sexual intercourse between youth ages 14-17 and those as much as 10 years older. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Wicks voted for that bill, as well. While Frazier and Grayson didn’t vote on that bill, either. (See related article)

Newsom also signed other LGBTQ+ related legislation including a measure to track the effects of COVID-19 on the community, and a bill establishing the Transgender and Wellness Equity Fund.

Included in the package of bills signed into law on Sunday is SB 932 also by Wiener, which aligns with emergency regulations announced by the California Department of Public Health in July requiring better and more timely collection and reporting of communicable disease data from providers and laboratories on a patient’s gender identity and sexual orientation. This legislation will provide public health officials with more information on patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, which is essential to addressing health inequities and designing public health interventions that help California’s diverse communities. Glazer, Skinner Bauer-Kahan and Grayson vote for the bill. Frazier and Wicks didn’t cast votes.

AB 2218 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-53, Los Angeles) establishes the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund. The Fund will assist organizations serving people that identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex (TGI), and help create or fund TGI-specific housing programs and partnerships with hospitals, health care clinics and other medical providers to provide TGI-focused health care. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Grayson voted for the bill, while Frazier and Wicks didn’t cast votes.

The Governor also signed SB 1255 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-33, Long Beach) and the Senate Committee on Insurance requiring insurance companies not decline policies for individuals because of their HIV status. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Grayson voted for the bill. Frazier and Wicks, again didn’t vote

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Frazier to introduce bill to combat major cause of greenhouse gas emissions in California – wildfires

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Challenges CA Air Resources Board to “pause and think” about effectiveness of Cap and Trade program

Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) announced today that he plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to fundamentally change the way California reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  “While I believe the work the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been doing is laudable, we need to shift gears and address the main cause of carbon emissions in California, and right now, that is unquestionably wildfires,” said Frazier. “The data is undeniable and staggering.”

  According the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2018 alone, the wildfires in California were estimated to have released emissions equivalent to roughly 68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. By contrast, after seven years of reduction efforts from Cap and Trade funded projects to date, is estimated to be 45 million metric tons – at the cost of billions of dollars.

  Frazier went on to say that he believes CARB needs to “pause and think” carefully about their programs and overall efficacy of the resources devoted to them, and reprioritize Cap and Trade dollars to address the immediate threat and environmental devastation that wildfires are causing. In addition to the further advancement of global warming, these fires result in property damage, loss of life, economic peril, and long-term health issues.

  “The science and statistics of the devastation that wildfires are causing are not just limited to the land. These fires are pumping more pollution – far more toxic – than the burning of fossil fuels, and we must take a critical look at how we dedicate our precious financial resources to their reduction.  As we know, wildfires are a major contributor to the advancement of global warming.”

  Frazier will introduce a bill this December.

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Frazier bill to streamline Disabled Veterans license plate process signed into law

Friday, September 11th, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 408, authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) into law. The bill requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to accept a certificate certifying that a veteran is disabled for the purpose of a disability license plate from a County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) or the Department of Veteran Affairs (CalVet).

 

“On behalf of all the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces, I’m very pleased that Governor Newsom signed AB 408, which continues to build on the promise that we have made to our veterans,” said Frazier. “Veterans shouldn’t have to wait months on end to see results from a system that owes them a huge debt of gratitude. This bill ensures that they will get the timely services that they deserve.”

 

This legislation is even timelier as it has become more difficult for veterans to receive documentation certifying their disability status from traditional Veterans Affairs (VA) offices. AB 408 allows for expedited service and a better running system, but also has the added benefit of getting veterans in to see their CVSO in order to check if they are receiving other benefits and services that they may be entitled to receive. The legislation will become law on January 1, 2021. For more information about the Disable Veteran license plates, click here.

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Gov. Newsom signs statewide COVID-19 tenant and landlord protection legislation, extended through Jan. 31, 2021

Friday, September 4th, 2020

New law includes targeted protections for tenants to shield them from evictions due to COVID-19-related back rent through February 1, 2021 

Extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday announced that he had signed legislation to protect millions of tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. These protections apply to tenants who declare an inability to pay all or part of the rent due to a COVID-related reason.

Under the legislation, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines. For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction.

“COVID-19 has impacted everyone in California – but some bear much more of the burden than others, especially tenants struggling to stitch together the monthly rent, and they deserve protection from eviction,” said Governor Newsom. “This new law protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent and helps keep homeowners out of foreclosure as a result of economic hardship caused by this terrible pandemic. California is stepping up to protect those most at-risk because of COVID-related nonpayment, but it’s just a bridge to a more permanent solution once the federal government finally recognizes its role in stabilizing the housing market. We need a real, federal commitment of significant new funding to assist struggling tenants and homeowners in California and across the nation.”

On Friday, the Governor, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced an agreement on the legislation, AB 3088, co-authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) and Senators Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and Anna Caballero (D-Salinas).

Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to landlords, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction. Landlords may begin to recover this debt on March 1, 2021, and small claims court jurisdiction is temporarily expanded to allow landlords to recover these amounts. Landlords who do not follow the court evictions process will face increased penalties under the Act.

The legislation also extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords; provides new accountability and transparency provisions to protect small landlord borrowers who request CARES-compliant forbearance; and provides the borrower who is harmed by a material violation with a cause of action.

Additional legal and financial protections for tenants include:

  • Extending the notice period for nonpayment of rent from 3 to 15 days to provide tenant additional time to respond to landlord’s notice to pay rent or quit.
  • Requiring landlords to provide hardship declaration forms in a different language if rental agreement was negotiated in a different language.
  • Providing tenants a backstop if they have a good reason for failing to return the hardship declaration within 15 days.
  • Requiring landlords to provide tenants a notice detailing their rights under the Act.
  • Limiting public disclosure of eviction cases involving nonpayment of rent between March 4, 2020 – January 31, 2021.
  • Protecting tenants against being evicted for “just cause” if the landlord is shown to be really evicting the tenant for COVID-19-related nonpayment of rent.

Existing local ordinances can generally remain in place until they expire and future local action cannot undermine this Act’s framework. Nothing in the legislation affects a local jurisdiction’s ability to adopt an ordinance that requires just cause, provided it does not affect rental payments before January 31, 2021.

The legislation builds on the state’s strongest-in-the-nation rent cap and eviction protections passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor last year. The Governor also signed major legislation last year to boost housing production, remove barriers to construction of accessory dwelling units and create an ongoing source of funding for borrower relief and legal aid to vulnerable homeowners and renters. Last year’s budget made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives – both sticks and carrots – to incentivize cities to approve new home construction. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land and has launched partnerships with California cities to develop affordable housing on that land. This year, the Governor prioritized $550 million in federal stimulus funding to purchase and rehabilitate thousands of motels around the state for use as permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness and provided an additional $350 million in general fund support to California’s cities and counties for homeless services and housing.

Local leaders and advocates welcomed the signing of the Act:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “No one should lose their home due to this public health crisis — and while cities like Los Angeles have strong tenant protections in place, there is no substitute for a clear, statewide framework that keeps hard-hit Californians under a roof. With the state legislature’s action and Governor Newsom’s signature, tenants and landlords can rest easier tonight, but the fight continues for every dollar in federal assistance to help struggling families survive the choppy waters of COVID-19 and navigate the economic destruction left in its wake.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated low-income families across the state and right here in the City of Sacramento. The eviction protections signed into law today will protect some of the most vulnerable – those who have lost income or suffered other unimaginable hardships in these past few months — from falling into homelessness. I appreciate the work of the Legislature and the Governor to provide this meaningful relief.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed: “Protecting people from eviction has been critical from Day One of the COVID crisis, when it became clear that this pandemic was going to threaten our residents and our economies like nothing we have ever seen. People are living in fear of losing their homes because they have lost their jobs, seen their wages cut, or have been forced to close their businesses. I want to thank Governor Newsom for working with our Legislative leaders to pass AB 3088, especially our own Assemblymember David Chiu who has been an early and tireless fighter for tenants on this issue.”

UC, Berkeley Terner Center Faculty Director Carol Galante: “California is taking a big step forward today to protect the most vulnerable tenants at this moment of acute crisis. As our research has shown, more than one million California renters households have experienced job loss during COVID-19, and this directly impacts their housing security. While today’s new laws are necessary, more must be done – and this means the Congress and the President stepping into their rightful role as provider of a meaningful renter relief package as part of the next stimulus. California deserves credit for acting, and now we must demand the Federal government follow suit.”

The Governor also announced that he has signed the following bills:

  • AB 2782 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Mobilehome parks: change of use: rent control.
  • AB 3364 by the Committee on Judiciary – Judiciary omnibus.

Additional information on the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act can be found here. For full text of the bills signed today, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

 

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Glazer votes to eliminate requirement of mandatory sex offender registration for sex with minors 14 years or older

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

“if the person was not more than ten years older than the minor at the time of the offense” – Assembly analysis of bill

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7, Orinda)

Frazier didn’t vote.

By Allen Payton

On Monday, the California State Senate and Assembly passed SB-145 Sex offenders: registration, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-11, San Francisco), which exempts defendants convicted of specified, non-forcible sex offenses involving minors from mandatory registration as a sex offender. State Senators Steve Glazer (D-7, Orinda) and Nancy Skinner (D-9, Oakland) were joined by Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16, San Ramon) and Buffy Wicks (D-15, Oakland) who all represent portions of Contra Costa County in voting for it.

The bill passed in the 40-member Senate by a vote of 23-10 and in the 80-member Assembly by the minimum votes required of 41-25. Seven Senators and 13 Assemblymembers, including Jim Frazier (D-11, Discovery Bay) and Tim Grayson (D-14, Concord), who also represent portions of the county, did not vote on the bill.

Wiener said about his bill, “if a young person has voluntary sexual intercourse with a minor then the offense is not automatically registerable if they are within 10 years of age of the minor and the minor is 14 years or older.”

Assembly amendments removed provisions of the bill that would have mandated that specified offenders would still have to comply with provisions of Megan’s Law, despite the fact that they would no longer be registered sex offenders.

According to the state’s Legislative Information website, this bill:

1) Exempts a person convicted of non-forcible sodomy with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, or sexual penetration with a minor, as specified, from having to automatically register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registry Act if the person was not more than 10 years older than the minor at the time of the offense, and the conviction is the only one requiring the person to register.

2) Specifies that a person convicted of one of those specified offenses may still be ordered to register in the discretion of the court, if the court finds at the time of conviction or sentencing that the person committed the offense as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification.

(WARNING: Graphic language) A report in the San Francisco Examiner reads, “Currently, while consensual sex between 15- to 17-year-olds and a partner within 10 years of age is illegal, vaginal intercourse between the two does not require an offender to register as a sex offender. Other forms of intercourse such as oral and anal intercourse require sex offender registration.”

The Washington Examiner reports, “Adults less than 10 years older than the minor they are convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex with are not automatically added to the sex-offender registry. The decision whether or not to add them is left up to a judge under the new bill, referred to as SB145. Under current state law, judges are given discretion to keep teenagers off the sex-offender registry for having sex with someone close to their own age, but it only applies to “penile-vaginal” intercourse, and gay and transgender rights advocates argue this discriminates against gay teenagers.”

But the bill does not just cover minors as the offender can be 10 years older than the younger partner who must be at least age 14.

According to attorney Samuel Dordulian, who represents sexual assault victims, “The goal of SB 145, according to the bill’s language, is to ‘exempt from mandatory registration under the (Sex Offender Registration) act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.’ But rather than amend existing law to include vaginal intercourse with a minor as an act that requires mandatory sex offender registration – which would in effect remedy what Senator Wiener apparently views as discrimination – the bill aims to make all criminal sex acts with a minor over 14 equal by providing offenders with an opportunity to evade said mandatory registration. Doing so would be a disservice to survivors of those sex offenders, to communities, and to law enforcement officials.”

“Communities would be forced to accept that sex offenders could now potentially live anonymously among law-abiding citizens,” Dordulian added.

The result of the legislation, if signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, a person 24 to 27 years old can have any kind of intercourse with a child as young as 14 and judges would no longer be required to mandate the older of the two register as a sex offender.

“I cannot in my mind as a mother understand how sex between a 24-year-old and a 14-year-old could ever be consensual, how it could ever not be a registrable offense,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80, San Diego), one of only 10 Democrats to vote against the bill. “We should never give up on this idea that children should be in no way subject to a predator.”

A question to Glazer’s aid, Susannah Meyer was sent late Wednesday asking why he voted for the bill.

UPDATE: In response Glazer said, “I voted for SB 145 after consulting with law enforcement, including the California District Attorneys Association and the California Police Chiefs Association, which supported this bill.

This bill simply clarifies that in cases of statutory rape involving non-forcible sexual contact, the same sentences and the same registration requirements should apply no matter what kind of sexual interaction leads to the charges.

In all such cases, the perpetrator will still be required to register as a sex offender if the judge determines that this is necessary to protect public safety.”

The bill next heads to Newsom who has until the end of September to either sign or veto it.

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