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  • Archive for October 15th, 2013

    Oct 15

    PROP. 65 ENFORCEMENT REFORM SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Another measure we have been supporting has been signed by Governor Brown. AB 227 (Gatto; D-Silver Lake) reforms Proposition 65 and will help shield businesses from some frivolous lawsuits. The bill allows business owners who receive notice of a technical Prop. 65 signage violation to fourteen days to get into compliance and pay a civil fine – instead of going to court. In certain cases, if a business complies, they also are protected from certain types of legal action and from the $2,500 per-day retroactive fines.

    The author of the measure Assemblymember Gatto stated the following, “This bill won’t halt all Proposition 65 lawsuits, but will halt almost all unjust Proposition 65 lawsuits.”

    The bill addresses one very avoidable cost that results from the practice of a handful of law firms in targeting businesses with drive-by lawsuits alleging they do not have adequate signage required by Proposition 65. These lawsuits can easily cost several thousand dollars to litigate, causing many small businesses to settle out of court whether or not they actually needed to have signage posted at their business establishments, or if they failed to realize signage was necessary in a good faith mistake.

    We thank the Governor for signing this important measure. Click here to read the new law – AB 227 (Gatto).

    Oct 15

    GREEN BUILDING STANDARD PROCESS BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Governor Brown has signed AB 341 (Dickinson; D-Sacramento), an industry supported measure that requires the Building Standards Commission (BSC) to integrate the existing Green Building Code (CALGreen) into the appropriate sections of the California Building Code, thereby making the code easier to understand and comply with.

    AB 341 also establishes a clearer process for allowing “non-proposing” agencies to submit suggested amendments to the Department of Housing and the Building Standards Commission. If enacted, this bill will make understanding of the “green” provisions of the building code easier to identify and comply with.  The bill will also provide state agencies, industry, local officials and the interested public with a clearer understanding of the code-submittal and adoption process.

    We thank the Governor for signing this common sense measure. Click here to read the new law – AB 341 (Dickinson).

    Oct 15

    TMD/BID REFORM BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Governor Brown has signed AB 483 (Ting; D-San Francisco), a bill supported by the California Downtown Association as well other property groups. AB 483 will help protect important economic development tools – Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Tourism Marketing Districts (TMDs) from an unintended ambiguity in Prop 26 which inadvertently created potential legal uncertainty over these district’s ability to privately fund marketing and promotional activities.

    TMDs and BIDs have been critical to the success of the tourism industry, especially during the recent economic downturn when support for tourism – previously provided by local governments – dried up due to budget constraints. TMDs and BIDs are voluntarily formed by businesses to impose an assessment on themselves to privately fund services that benefit those businesses.

    AB 483 clarifies that any incidental benefit from a TMD or BID to a business located outside a district’s boundary does not violate the law.

    We thank the Governor for signing this important measure. Click here to read the new law – AB 483 (Ting).

    Oct 15

    BILL EXPANDING RESIDENTIAL RENT CONTROL STILL AWAITING ACTION

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    A bill that would enable price controls on new residential rental units has passed the Legislature and is now on the Governor’s Desk awaiting action. AB 1229 (Atkins; D-San Diego) allows local governments to mandate “inclusionary housing” requirements on private property owners and force them to set aside a certain percentage of new housing for low-income rental units. The bill passed the Senate Floor this week with the bare minimum of needed votes (21-16) with two Democrats joining 14 Republican in opposing the measure.

    The bill also restrict rental rates, operational costs, and does not require any type of public offsets for providing the housing. The bill is intended to abrogate the Palmer v. City of Los Angeles decision, which upheld an important provision of the long-standing Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act exempting newly constructed rental units from price controls.

    Rental housing is desperately needed. At a time when rental housing is scarce, it makes no sense to discourage the building of new rental units. AB 1229 discourages the creation of new rental housing. The bill would make it a virtual certainty that local jurisdictions with rent control ordinances would expand such regulatory provisions to include new construction, discouraging the development of rental housing, at a time when it is most needed.

    The Legislature has twice rejected similar bills and expressed opposition to expanding rent control to new construction. However, with the new partisan makeup of Legislature this policy may have a better chance of success. We are also concerned that if passed, this bill would directly lead to similar constraints placed on commercial projects.

    We join with a large coalition of allied groups and are requesting that the Governor veto this measure.

    Oct 15

    SCORING ON BUSINESS RELATED BILLS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friend Joel Fox, Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee, provides an assessment of how business backed bills fared in the Legislature and with the Governor.

    He states, in part, “A mixed record for business in this year’s legislative session got a bit of a boost when the governor signed a slew of bills intended to help business. While the latest flurry of bill signings is good news, big issues still concern the business community.

    “The ballyhooed effort at the beginning of the legislative session to improve the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) ended in a whimper. What CEQA reform was achieved came about because politicians in Sacramento wanted to make it easier to build a basketball arena in downtown Sacramento. Broader CEQA reforms were benched.”

    Click here to read the full article.

    Oct 15

    STATE REVENUE UPTICKS UNEXPECTEDLY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Earlier this week, State Controller John Chiang released his agencies monthly report on California’s cash balance, receipts and disbursements for September 2013. Revenues for the month totaled $8.5 billion, beating estimates in the state budget by $426.8 million, or 5.3 percent. We hope this is a sign that the economy and the state finances are heading in the right direction.

    Oct 15

    COMMON INTEREST DEVELOPMENT SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    A bill sponsored by industry, SB 752 (Roth; D-Riverside), was signed by Governor Brown, which will reform the law dealing with commercial and industrial common interest developments, passed the Legislature is now on the Governor’s Desk.

    The measure amends the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act which governs all common interest developments (CIDs), including residential as well as business CIDs. Since its enactment, the act has more than tripled in size. However, most of its new provisions were added to address problems faced by homeowners, without separate analysis of whether the new provisions should also apply to businesses. This has resulted in the unnecessary regulation applying to non-residential CIDs.

    The California Law Revision Commission, after conducting public hearings, has recommended that the issue be addressed by enacting a separate statute that would govern only non-residential CIDs, and would not contain the regulatory provisions of the Davis-Stirling Act that are not applicable to those CIDs. Doing so would allow for future independent development of the two CID acts.

    Senate Bill 752 implements that recommendation. We believe this is an important change to reduce unnecessary regulations on businesses without compromising residential protections, and are requesting the Governor sign the bill.

    We thank the Governor for signing this common sense measure. Click here to read the new law – SB 752 (Roth).