Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Affordable housing advocates lobby California lawmakers

James Little, wearing hat at left, at St. John's Lutheran Church carrying signs in support of affordable housing during a pilgrimage with the Sacramento Housing Alliance and Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) to a Sacramento city council meeting Tuesday September 3, 2013 in Sacramento, Calif.
James Little, wearing hat at left, at St. John's Lutheran Church carrying signs in support of affordable housing during a pilgrimage with the Sacramento Housing Alliance and Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) to a Sacramento city council meeting Tuesday September 3, 2013 in Sacramento, Calif. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

“Crisis” is the word some housing wonks and politicians use to describe California’s affordable housing shortfall. The state has some of the most expensive metro areas in the country, and the loss of redevelopment funds a few years back has exacerbated the crunch.

A package of housing bills touted by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, seeks to address that, and today activists organized by the group Housing California – many of them affordable development inhabitants – will be visiting offices for a lobby day. A bill to fund affordable housing with a new transaction fee gets its first test later this week.

BILLS: Some legislation of note today: a bill tossing chewing tobacco from major league ballparks gets a vote over in Assembly Governmental Organization. An automatic voter registration bill championed by Secretary of State Alex Padilla goes up in Assembly Transportation today, with Padilla testifying in support of Assembly Bill 1461. A water bill that Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, narrowly got out of a committee he no longer sits on faces a test in Assembly Natural Resources.

DAMS: Storage, storage, storage – this is what brings Republicans together today. Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, summarized his party’s position on drought during debate last week on a bill barring fines for brown lawns: “not watering your lawn doesn’t fix California’s water problem. More rain fixes it. More storage fixes it.” Consistent with that theme, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, and other Republicans will be on the north steps this morning promoting a bill to expedite storage project construction.

ROADS: Speaking of Republican priorities: Senate Minority Leader (and LA County Supervisorial candidate) Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, will be outside a former car dealership this morning to promote his constitutional amendment barring transportation taxes and fees from being diverted for other purposes. This is Republican leadership’s rebuttal to a Democratic plan that, while returning weight fees that had been diverted to the General Fund, would also rely on a new charge.

WATER: We don’t really have sufficient space to list all the big names convening at USC today to talk about how California will endure the current drought and future shortages. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be there, as will state water board chair Felicia Marcus, Association of California Water Agencies head Tim Quinn and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power GM Marcie Edwards. They’ll be joined by a pool of experts at a Los Angeles forum this afternoon.

RALLY: The Council on American-Islamic Relations is sponsoring Muslim Day at the Capitol, where participants plan to highlight the increasing political role of Muslims and to advocate for bills to require search warrants for electronic communications, seek equal pay for equal work and to bar student success fees for public colleges. They’ll kick things off with a 9 a.m. rally on the west steps.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.

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