Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Zoning changes a ‘cornerstone’ of housing push + Use of force bill is good to go + Gas taxes climb, again

Top of the Tuesday morning to you, California. Tips, feedback, questions, comments, favorite summer bbq recipes? Send ‘em my way:


Good news for Senate Bill 50 proponents.

A handful of housing bills are left, including a few to increase access to accessory dwelling units, expand low-income tax credits and protect Californians from egregious rent increases.

Yee approves of the multi-pronged approach, according to the report. Yes, tenant protections are necessary, she said. Yes, markets have to be considered when introducing legislation that could disrupt the system. And yes, California is home to the fifth largest economy.

But to achieve Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal of building 3.5 million units by 2025, the report said that SB 50’s “major zoning changes should be the cornerstone of a comprehensive housing package.”

“To have any chance at meeting more ambitious housing targets, significant zoning changes must be made, such as those proposed in Senate Bill 50,” the document read.

Without the bill, there are few legislative options left that would deliver the all-inclusive deal Newsom is looking for. The 2019-2020 budget calls for 200,000 units to be built annually, but the report acknowledges the program that creates the most housing — the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit — “supported less than 18,000 units over each of the last five years.”

“Investment in affordable housing is critical, but not sufficient,” Yee wrote. “The convergence of the governor and the legislature prioritizing housing – as well as the availability of budget resources, bond proceeds, and expanded tax credits – presents a significant opportunity to enact real, meaningful solutions to the housing crisis.”


A bill to restrict when police are allowed to use deadly force kicked off as one of the most contentious pieces of legislation this session. But Assembly Bill 392 has come a long way since its author, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, introduced the proposal in early February.

Its original language would have left police officers vulnerable to prosecution had they used lethal force in situations where it wasn’t “necessary.” Today, officers can use lethal force if their actions are considered “reasonable” in the circumstances they face.

But after lengthy debate between police lobbyists and civil rights activists, Weber, a San Diego Democrat, accepted amendments to her signature bill.

Weber modified the measure to allow lethal action only on the “totality of the circumstances” and when officers believe deadly action is needed “in light of the particular circumstances of each case,” though they’re still expected to use de-escalation tactics to cool a situation.

The new version is expected to pass the Senate Public Safety Committee during an 8:30 a.m. hearing. After a compromise was struck in late May, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins signed on as co-sponsors, and Gov. Gavin Newsom offered his support for the effort.

Families affected by police violence are scheduled to speak after the committee hearing in support of the legislation.

Weber’s team confirmed no amendments were on their way as of Monday afternoon, but just in case there are surprises, I’ll be at the hearing in room 4203 and will have updates on my Twitter - @hannahcwiley.


That road trip I have planned with my friends for the Fourth of July weekend is gonna cost me a little bit more.

As The Bee reported, California gas taxes will increase from 41.7 cents to 47.3 cents per gallon on July 1. We all know Republicans generally aren’t big fans of fees and will move to amend bills that impose them, but Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, wanted to delay the tax increase when the Assembly voted to pass the transportation budget trailer bill on Monday.

The delay would have provided “much-needed relief,” Fong said, before Majority Leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, moved to table the motion.

“While Democrats claim to support Californians who face the highest living costs in the nation, their actions tell a different story,” said Devon Mathis, R-Visalia. “With today’s vote, Democrats reaffirmed their support for a regressive gas tax increase that punishes every Californian who can’t afford a Tesla. So much for being the party of working people.”

For your radar — There’s a colorful new addition atop the California Capitol. For the first time in state history, the LGBTQ Rainbow flag is scheduled to fly on the main flagpole until July 1 in celebration of Pride month.

“In California, we celebrate and support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community’s right to live out loud – during Pride month and every month,” Newsom said. “By flying the pride flag over the State Capitol, we send a clear message that California is welcoming and inclusive to all, regardless of how you identify or who you love.”


Best of The Bee:

  • Oakland police protected Kamala Harris’ campaign rally. Now they’d like to get paid for it. by Andrew Sheeler
  • How well does California care for children? New report ranks state just below Kentucky by Michael Finch II
  • ‘No evident justification‘ for California prison guard raises in contract, analyst warns by Wes Venteicher