HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Posted: November 17, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

BOMA California would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope you get some time off.  California is a great state, we live in a wonderful country, and we have a lot to be thankful for.  We hope you get to spend some quality time with loved ones next week.  And take the time to reflect about the men and women in uniform who are serving our country overseas away from their families at this time.

WEEKLY ALERT ON HIATUS

Posted: November 17, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Please note, the Weekly Alert will be on hiatus from now until the new year.  But don’t worry, if anything major happens, we’ll be sure to let you know.  We will return to our regular schedule on Friday, January 5, to bring you all the news, gossip, and inside-information from Sacramento.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments, or need information, please email Matthew Hargrove at mhargrove@cbpa.com.

BILL IDEAS FOR 2018

Posted: November 17, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Before the Legislature reconvenes in January we need your ideas on proactive changes to the law that our industry should consider pursuing.  Are there issues in statute that could be made better, more efficacious?  Something not addressed in statute that should be?  Let us know so we can do the needed research and work with authors to get a bill introduced by the appropriate deadlines.

STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE IN NAPA DEC 7-8

Posted: November 17, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Due to popular demand the 2017 Strategic Issues Conference will be moving back to its traditional Host City, Napa!  The event will be held on Thursday, December 7 and through Lunch on Friday, December 8.

The Strategic Issues Conference is A BIG DEAL this year!  Co-Hosted by ten of the most highly regarded business groups in Sacramento, the conference will focus on the elections and politics that we can expect in 2018.  It’s a gubernatorial election year and there are some big propositions that could be on the ballot.  Several gubernatorial candidates will join us for conversations as well as some of the top political thinkers in the state.

Attending the Strategic Issues Conference is one of the major benefits belonging to this association – it is where you will gain knowledge and insight about what is coming in the near future that you can bring back and share with your company leadership and tenants.

Click here to register for the Strategic Issues Conference.
Click here for sponsorship opportunities.

SPACE IS LIMITED and this year with so many co-hosts we expect to sell out.  Register now!

CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL JOINS AMICUS TO OVERTURN QUILL

Posted: November 3, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Yesterday, 35 State Attorneys General – including the Honorable Xavier Becerra from California – joined an amicus brief in support of South Dakota’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Overstock and Newegg.

The state of South Dakota has asked the Court to use its case as an opportunity to reconsider and overrule the 1992 Quill Corp. v. North Dakota decision, which forbids states from collecting sales tax from absentee retailers.

According to our friends at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the 25-year old decision created a loophole that has distorted free market competition by giving Internet-only retailers an automatic price advantage over local brick and mortar stores.

Deborah White, President of the Retail Litigation Center and General Counsel of the Retail Industry Leaders Association offered the following statement on the support from State Attorneys General in the legal battle to overturn Quill.

“Overwhelming bipartisan support from such a large number of State Attorneys General shows just how critical this issue is to states across the country that have been grappling with the negative impacts of Quill. The Quill rule is anachronistic both with respect to the Court’s current dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence and with respect to today’s commercial realities. The Supreme Court should heed the call of these 35 State Attorneys General and take South Dakota’s case to end the tax preference for online-only retailers,” said White.

Click here for the full press release from RILA and to learn more.

L.A./LONG BEACH PORTS ADOPT ZERO EMISSIONS RULES

Posted: November 3, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Despite the fact that technology “isn’t ‘there’ yet,” the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have adopted a long-range plan to reduce air pollution – at the cost of nearly $14 billion.  Harbor commissioners voted unanimously to adopt 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update.

The plan involves shifting the cargo handling and trucking industries away from fossil fuels and toward near-zero and zero-emissions technologies. The plan also anticipates that cleaner engines will power future container ships.

“These new policies and strategies are some of the most progressive air quality rules in the nation,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “We are serious about fighting climate change, protecting local residents, and promoting economic success at our ports.”

Many in the goods movement sector and businesses that rely on it, have expressed concern that air regulations and port rules are too aggressive and will have a negative impact on the economy.  The concern that alternate routes of shipping, that bypass California ports, has been expressed.    Industry supports clean air rules that provide time for adoption and implementation that allows technology to keep pace while not being punitive on certain industry, like trucking, and forcing them to live under rules that competitors outside the state do not have to abide.

Click here for a news story on plan.

TAXPAYER ADVOCATE RELEASES LEGISLATIVE “REPORT CARD”

Posted: November 3, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has released its 2017 Legislative Report Card grading lawmakers on legislative bills important to taxpayers.  The Report Card is a non-partisan tool to help taxpayers hold legislators accountable by tracking their individual votes.

A record 79 legislators failed the scorecard while only 24 got a grade of “A.”

“The trend is not good,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal.  “By approving major new burdens on middle class taxpayers, the current crop of Sacramento lawmakers is exhibiting an outright hostility to the taxpayers who pay the state’s bills.”

To review the Report Card in its entirety and to see how individual representatives scored, please click here.

CA PUBLIC SAFETY PARTNERSHIP TO ADDRESS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS

Posted: November 3, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

At a press conference on Monday, October 30, the California Public Safety Partnership, led by Nina Salarno Besselman, President of Crime Victims United, along with Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D – Elk Grove) announce it will file a statewide ballot initiative to prevent the early release of child traffickers, rapists and other serious and violent offenders.

These changes seek to undo some of the “reforms” of a recent ballot measure – Prop 57 (2016) – that has provided for the early release of many criminals in order to address prison overpopulation.

The initiative makes four critical reforms: adds several severe crimes, including domestic violence, sex-trafficking of a child, and rape of an unconscious person, to the list of crimes where early release is not an option; reinstates DNA collection upon conviction for certain crimes that were reduced to misdemeanors under recent law; makes repeat offenders eligible for felony prosecution when convicted of a third theft of property valued at $250 or more; and requires greater scrutiny of probation and supervised release proceedings, including the ability to return to jail those who repeatedly violate parole.

Many people believe that by releasing convicted criminals early, Prop 57 has exacerbated crime in many areas and has been a driving factor in recent increases in homeless populations.

RENT CONTROL MAY “ROIL” 2018 BALLOT

Posted: November 3, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

As we have reported previously, one of the most hotly watched propositions currently out for signature is one that will repeal the Costa-Hawkins act and usher in a new era of rent-control proposals in California.  The 20-year old policy has been credited with increasing the housing supply in the State even while builders have to deal with a very unfriendly regulatory environment.

Costa-Hawkins, passed in 1995, restricts the ability of local governments to impose rent control. Sponsors of the repeal initiative have dubbed their measure the “Affordable Housing Act.” The measure, if final approval is given to circulate petitions, needs 385,880 valid signatures of voters collected within a six-month window to qualify for the ballot.

Within minutes of the announcement that the initiative had been filed, the California Apartment Association released the following statement:

“If local rent control ordinances are allowed to regulate rents on new construction and single-family homes, new private investment into rental housing will come to a screeching halt,” said Tom Bannon, the Association’s chief executive officer.

In effect, new developments will come to a standstill if such ordinances are adopted.

The commercial real estate industry has always supported our allies on the residential side of the business as we agree, rent control is a damaging policy that will only drive away investment, drive costs up, and restrict availability of all kinds of properties.

Click here to see the full statement by CAA.

STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE IN NAPA DEC 7-8

Posted: November 3, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Due to popular demand the 2017 Strategic Issues Conference will be moving back to its traditional Host City, Napa!  The event will be held on Thursday, December 7 and through Lunch on Friday, December 8,

The Strategic Issues Conference is A BIG DEAL this year!  Co-Hosted by ten of the most highly regarded business groups in Sacramento, the conference will focus on the elections and politics that we can expect in 2018.  It’s a gubernatorial election year and there are some big propositions that could be on the ballot.  Several gubernatorial candidates will join us for conversations as well as some of the top political thinkers in the state.

Attending the Strategic Issues Conference is one of the major benefits belonging to this association – it is where you will gain knowledge and insight about what is coming in the near future that you can bring back and share with your company leadership and tenants.

Click here to register for the Strategic Issues Conference.
Click here for sponsorship opportunities.

SPACE IS LIMITED and this year with so many co-hosts we expect to sell out.  Register now!

MAJOR EMPLOYMENT LAWS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

Posted: October 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The California Peculiarities Employment Law Blog at Seyforth and Shaw have a good wrap-up of some of the major new laws impacting employers signed into law by Governor Brown.  If you hire employees or contractors, you should be aware of your new obligations under the law. The blog covers the following issue:

* Salary Inquiry Ban.

* Ban-the-Box: Prior Conviction History of Applicants.

* New Parent Leave Act and Parental Leave DFEH Mediation Pilot Program.

* Retaliation: Expanding the Labor Commissioner’s Authority.

* Immigration: Worksite Enforcement Actions.

* Harassment Training: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation.

The final night for the Governor to sign or veto bills on his desk was two weeks ago.  In 2017 the Legislature sent 977 bills to his desk.  He signed 88% of the bills (859) and vetoed 12% (118).

PROPOSITION TO REPEAL COSTA-HAWKINS SUBMITTED

Posted: October 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 A measure that would repeal the Costa-Hawkins law has been submitted for title and summary to the Attorney General and is not in the process of gathering signatures.  Passage of this proposition would allow municipalities to enact rent control measures for millions of apartments currently exempt from such policy.

Our industry is worried that such a move would have a chilling effect on development of multifamily apartments across the state and will exacerbate the affordable housing shortage.  Our industry supports the Costa-Hawkins law, which has spurred the construction of housing in every part of California and are very concerned over this move to repeal the law.  We will keep you posted about the progress of signature gathering.

PROP 13 WEATHERS ATTACKS BY TWO GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES

Posted: October 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Next year you will help choose the next Governor of the State of California.  Although the election is more than a year away, four Democrats are already vying for the position.

The candidates include current Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and current State Treasurer John Chiang, as well as former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, and former Speaker of the Assembly and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

In their first “debate” in a question regarding taxes, two of the candidate – Villaraigosa and Eastin – went out of their way to criticize Proposition 13, the law that keeps your property taxes from seeing gigantic spikes each year.

Villaraigosa and Eastin said reforms are needed in the 1978 measure that capped property-tax increases for homes and businesses. Villaraigosa said the law was “broken” and protections for both residential and commercial needed to be revisited.

Eastin claimed that “Disneyland is paying what they paid in 1975,” which is a false talking point used by political groups seeking to implement a split roll property tax.

Click here to read a story about the debate.

GAS TAX RISES BY 12 CENTS PER GALLON NEXT WEEK

Posted: October 30, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Next Wednesday the statewide excise tax on gasoline will jump by 12 cents per gallon to a total of 41.7 cents per gallon.  Diesel will increase by 20 cents per gallon to 36 cents and the sales tax will increase to 13 percent, up from 9 percent.  Add to that, local taxes.

The increase will coincide with retailers switching from Summer blend gasoline to the cheaper Winter blend, so the full increase may be mitigated.

Much of the funding is dedicated to new roads and infrastructure however many in the business community are concerned that increased transportation costs will have a negative impact on the important Goods Movement sector.

Click here for a full story on the gas tax.

IT’S A WRAP, LEGISLATION SESSION OVER FOR THE YEAR

Posted: October 20, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Sunday was the final night for the Governor to sign or veto bills on his desk.  In 2017 the Legislature sent 977 bills to his desk.  He signed 88% of the bills (859) and vetoed 12% (118).

Last year, Governor Brown vetoed 159 out of 1059 bills, for a 15% veto rate.  To put this year’s actions in context (lowest year to highest year of vetoes):

Between 2011 and 2016, Governor Brown vetoed between 10.7% and 15% of the bills

Between 2004 and 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed between 22.3% and 35% of the bills

Between 1999 and 2003, Governor Davis vetoed between 6% and 25% of the bills

Between 1991 and 1998, Governor Wilson vetoed between 8.6% and 24.5% of the bills

Now, here are some of the bills we followed closely.

BILLS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR WE OPPOSED

Posted: October 20, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

This is the most important category of bills to look at.  Our industry opposed these measures, yet they were signed into law.  These are the bills that are most likely to have a negative impact on your operations:

AB 168 (Eggman D) Employers: salary information. (OPPOSE)

AB 1180 (Holden D) Los Angeles County Flood Control District: taxes. (OPPOSE)

AB 1701 (Thurmond D) Labor-related wage liabilities. (OPPOSE)

SB 2 (Atkins D) Building Homes and Jobs Act. (OPPOSE)

SB 63 (Jackson D) Unlawful employment practice: parental leave. (OPPOSE)

BILLS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR WE SUPPORTED

Posted: October 20, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Here are some bills signed by the Governor.  Our industry was in support of all these measures:

 AB 72 (Santiago D) Housing. (SUPPORT)

AB 73 (Chiu D) Planning and zoning: housing sustainability districts. (SUPPORT)

AB 246 (Santiago D) Environmental quality: Jobs and Economic Improvement ACT (SUPPORT)

AB 879 (Grayson D) Planning and zoning: housing element. (SUPPORT)

AB 1223 (Caballero D) Construction contract payments: Internet Web site posting. (SUPPORT)

AB 1284 (Dababneh D) California Financing Law: Property Assessed Clean Energy program (SUPPORT)

AB 1515 (Daly D) Planning and zoning: housing. (SUPPORT)

AB 1553 (Cervantes D) Economic development: Capital Access Loan Program. (SUPPORT)

AB 1583 (Chau D) Proposition 65: enforcement: certificate of merit: factual basis. (SUPPORT)

AB 1598 (Mullin D) Affordable housing authorities. (SUPPORT)

SB 145 (Hill D) Autonomous vehicles: testing on public roads. (SUPPORT)

SB 167 (Skinner D) Housing Accountability Act. (SUPPORT)

SB 205 ((G&F) Local Government Omnibus Act of 2017. (SUPPORT)

SB 229 (Wieckowski D) Accessory dwelling units. (SUPPORT)

SB 242 (Skinner D) Property Assessed Clean Energy program (SUPPORT)

SB 329 (Leyva D) Manufactured homes: financial assistance programs. (SUPPORT)

SB 540 (Roth D) Workforce Housing Opportunity Zone. (SUPPORT)

SB 564 (McGuire D) Joint powers authorities: Water Bill Savings Act. (SUPPORT)

SB 653 (Moorlach R (County tax collectors: notices: publication. (SUPPORT)

SB 711 (Hill D) Electrical corporations and gas corporations: rates and charges. (SUPPORT)

BILLS VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR

Posted: October 20, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Finally, here are some bills vetoed by the Governor that we were happy he did not sign into law, as we opposed most of them:

AB 248 (Reyes D) Hazardous waste: facilities: permits. (OPPOSE)

AB 890 (Medina D) Land use: planning and zoning: initiatives. (OPPOSE)

AB 978 (Limón D) Employment safety: injury and illness prevention program. (OPPOSE)

AB 1179 (Kalra D) Hazardous waste facilities: inspections. (OPPOSE)

AB 1239 (Holden D) Building standards: electric vehicle charging infrastructure. (NEUTRAL)

SB 42 (Hill D) Public lands: Martins Beach: property acquisition. (OPPOSE)

That’s a wrap for the 2017 legislative year!  If you want a full list of bills reply to the email and we will send you the big long report.

STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE- DECEMBER 7-8, NAPA, CALIFORNIA

Posted: October 20, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

TEN major groups have come together to host an event you don’t want to miss!  California Business Properties Association (CBPA), the American Council for Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Building Owners and Managers of California (BOMA CAL), the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are co-hosting one of the premier biannual policy gatherings, 2017 Strategic Issues Conference. 

 The Strategic Issues Conference offers a unique opportunity, in an intimate setting, to enjoy significant exposure to key decision-makers and policymakers from both the public and private sectors.  The goal of the Strategic Issues Conference is to increase public policy and political awareness of state and national issues, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of the California economy.  Your sponsorship will contribute in achieving this goal, and will signal your strong support for the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry. 

 Click here for more information!

L.A. COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL TAX

Posted: September 29, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

On behalf of our industry, we have requested that Governor Brown veto AB 1180 (Holden; D-Los Angeles), legislation that seeks to allow Los Angeles County Flood Control District to levy special taxes to manage stormwater, because it lacks basic taxpayer safeguards.

While our industry understands the intent of this action and share the common goals of conserving and capturing stormwater, we are very concerned that AB 1180 doesn’t provide basic guidance and protections to assure the monies are levied and spent appropriately.

We support our Los Angeles County members who oppose this measure based on the following: The funding does not have an independent oversight component; Legislative authority needs to be included for the Regional Board to accept funding from this tax source for purposes of a complete update of the Basin Plan for storm water; 100% of these funds should be dedicated to compliance with the MS4 permit; and finally, authority should be included for these funds to be used for a pollution credit trading program with the approval of the Regional Board.

PACE BILLS SUPPORTED

Posted: September 29, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

On behalf of our industry, we have requested that Governor Brown sign two bills enhancing to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.

We believe that AB 1284 (Dababneh; D-Encino) will strengthen the consumer protections associated with PACE financing. This measure builds upon the nation-leading PACE disclosures put in place last year.  In addition to expanding access to financing for sustainable property improvements to a larger swath of Californians, PACE plays an important role in California’s plan to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals by promoting greater adoption of energy-efficient technologies.

Additionally, we have asked the Governor to sign SB 242 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) as we believe the bill will strengthen the consumer protections associated with the PACE program.

Much of California’s existing building stock was built before the adoption of the state’s mandatory energy standards.  These bills will strengthen a financing option that allows owners to take on deep energy retrofits without a state forced mandate.

WATER BILL SAVING ACT

Posted: September 29, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

On behalf of our industry, we have requested that Governor Brown sign AB 564 (McGuire; D-Healdsburg) which creates the “Water Bill Savings Act.”

The Act allows local agencies to issue bonds to fund the purchase and distribution of drought tolerant landscapes, upgrades to hot water systems, gray water systems, high efficiency toilets, and high efficiency showerheads at private property within their jurisdictions.

The property owners and tenants can then repay the fixture upgrades over time through their utility bills. The ability to repay bonds with customer efficiency charges enables those receiving the benefit of reduced bills to pay for efficiency, and create benefits to the water system at scale.

The Water Bill Savings Act is a voluntary program and will create another tool for local governments to respond to drought that is regionally efficient, financially sustainable, and available to all municipal utilities, large and small.

We support SB 564 because it will help people save money on water while reducing wasted water and provide a voluntary tool to meet state conservation mandate. SB 564 is a sustainable model for investment in water efficiency.

MANDATOR BENCHMARKING REGULATIONS

Posted: September 29, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Regulations to guide California’s implementation of the state’s mandatory benchmarking law are in the final stages of being finalized.  Basically, if you will have to benchmark any building over 50,000 s.f. and report that information to the CEC.  The regulations are a bit more complicated, as they get into lots of detail about many compliance scenarios.  The last round of amendments to the regulations included the following:

  1. Modifying the definition of “active” as it applies to utility accounts (§1681(a)).
  2. Modifying the methods a building owner or owner’s agent may use to demonstrate

building ownership or agency when requesting energy use data from a utility

(§1682(a)(1)(B)).

  1. Clarifying and simplifying the processes by which a building owner, owner’s agent, or

utility may obtain customer permission to share building-level energy use data with a

building owner or owner’s agent (§1682(b)(4)).

  1. Specifying that a utility will not be required to provide whole-building energy use data

more than once in a three-month period (§1682(b)(7)), except for requests made for

compliance with the benchmarking and public disclosure requirements.

  1. Adding requirements for a building owner or owner’s agent to notify a utility of certain

changes when the utility is providing recurring automatic upload of whole-building

energy use data (§1682(b)(8)).

  1. Removing items from, and making modifications to, the list of metrics the Energy

Commission may make available on a public website (§1683(c)(3)).

Our industry has paid very close attention to this issue, has provided comments and feedback to the CEC through every step of the process, and we remain in support of these regulations.  Click here to see all the details.

GOOD NEWS FOR NEWHALL RANCH

Posted: September 29, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Great new for sustainable development in California.  A settlement has been reached in the decades long battle to build Newhall Ranch, a development in the Santa Clarita Valley city of Valencia.  Reportedly, the deal will allow the $13 billion, 21,500-home Newhall Ranch project, move forward without lawsuit entanglements from environmental groups.

FivePoint Holdings reached the deal with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Wishtoyo Foundation, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the California Native Plant Society, which includes further protection of the endangered unarmored three-spined stickleback, a scaleless, freshwater fish.

Click here to read all the details of the welcome announcement.

STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE- DECEMBER 7-8, NAPA, CALIFORNIA

Posted: September 29, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

TEN major groups have come together to host an event you don’t want to miss!  California Business Properties Association (CBPA), the American Council for Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Building Owners and Managers of California (BOMA CAL), the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are co-hosting one of the premier biannual policy gatherings, 2017 Strategic Issues Conference.

The Strategic Issues Conference offers a unique opportunity, in an intimate setting, to enjoy significant exposure to key decision-makers and policymakers from both the public and private sectors.  The goal of the Strategic Issues Conference is to increase public policy and political awareness of state and national issues, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of the California economy.  Your sponsorship will contribute in achieving this goal, and will signal your strong support for the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry.

Click here for more information!

LOTS OF BILLS STOPPED IN THE LEGISLATURE

Posted: September 22, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Last Saturday the California State Legislature Adjourned for the year.  With a two-thirds vote Democrat party supermajority in both houses, many bills of concern and many we like, actually, were sent to the Governor, some with last minute changes, and we are working with our members to assess the good, the bad, and the hopefully vetoed.

However, not to dwell on bad, dead bills, we do want to provide some information about some of the bills we, in coalition with our friends at the CalChamber leading the charge on behalf of business, and economic expansion, were able to stop:

SB 100 (de Leon; D-Los Angeles) died on the Assembly Floor.  It would have created uncertainty for businesses in the state and potentially increases the cost for energy by creating an ambiguous zero-carbon energy planning goal and requirements for regulatory agencies in the state. Achieving our aggressive and ambitious 2030 goal of reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40% below 1990 levels will be very difficult, and we argued the state should do everything we can to minimize costs on business and disruptions to energy production and cost increases.   Ultimately this bill died because of an argument with some of the state’s public and private labor unions.

AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer; D-Los Angeles) a de facto prohibition on contracted services originally for cities and counties, and eventually just focused on counties. The measure would hinder services provided by organizations in our 58 counties. AB 1250 created onerous new burdens on contracting firms that are defined as “a corporation, partnership, non-profit organization, or sole proprietorship.” The significant hurdles imposed by AB 1250, including paying for an annual audit, would deter or prevent non-profit organizations from entering into contracts with counties and limit service options and availability and was viewed by many as public employee unions trying to ban private businesses from being able to business with local Governments by making the rules to do so onerous and expensive.

AB 127 (Committee on Budget) was identified as a job killer on September 13 when language was added to a budget bill that threatened energy reliability by mandating the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. CalChamber had identified AB 127 as a job killer because it would have eliminated jobs and placed regional energy reliability at risk. The bill was never taken up for a vote on the Senate Floor.

SB 49 (de León; D-Los Angeles), which would have created uncertainty and increased potential litigation regarding environmental standards, was held in the Senate Rules Committee.  The bill would have given broad and sweeping discretion to state agencies to adopt rules and regulations more stringent than the federal rules. SB 49 would have increased the potential for costly litigation by creating private rights of action under California law, which may be triggered when a state agency takes the foregoing discretionary action.

SB 774 (Leyva; D-Chino), was held on the Assembly Floor inactive file, just days after being amended with onerous provisions. It would established the California Toxic Substances Board within the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), requiring DTSC to adopt a new fee schedule by January 1, 2019 “at a rate sufficient to reimburse the department’s costs to implement” its statutory requirements.

WATERS OF THE STATE

Posted: September 22, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The commercial real estate industry, along with a broad coalition of other groups, have submitted a comment letter on the State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Materials to Waters of the State, formerly known as the Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy, as there are significant concerns with how the procedures are drafted.  If you are interested in infrastructure improvements and economic development these proposed rules could place significant hurdles to achieving those goals.

As currently drafted, the Procedures will create unnecessary conflict by proposing a new wetland definition that differs from the definition that has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) since 1977. This will result in features being classified as a wetland by the Water Board but as non-wetland waters by the Corps, leading to conflicting alternatives analysis determinations and mitigation requirements.

The Procedures will also set new regulatory requirements that will affect projects across the state — from large infrastructure projects to smaller projects necessary for the operations of many medium and small business owners, who are now complying with a multiplicity of new and costly water quality regulations.

Unless modified, the Procedures will slow to a crawl the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ streamlined Nationwide Permit (“NWP”) program. The thresholds under consideration are so low that, ironically, even small projects involving operations and maintenance improvements will be forced to prepare an alternatives analysis. We estimate that each year more than 200 projects that qualify for a Corps NWP will be subject to costly and time-consuming application requirements, forcing project sponsors to engage biologists, engineers, economists, and attorneys to identify, design, and evaluate a range of on- and offsite alternatives. Medium and small businesses and many local governments cannot afford these added costs. Improvements will not be undertaken, and good-paying jobs in disadvantaged rural areas lost.

Our coalition is asking the State Board – if it even determines it needs to act – to move forward with the adoption of a program that fills the regulatory gap by protecting non-federal waters of the state as if they were regulated by the Corps’ current procedures, including adopting a wetlands definition and delineation techniques that are identical to the well-established definition used by the Corps.  Alternately, if the Board does decide to act, comments that would make the program work better have been submitted.  We will keep you posted.

STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE- DECEMBER 7-8, NAPA, CALIFORNIA

Posted: September 22, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

TEN major groups have come together to host an event you don’t want to miss!  California Business Properties Association (CBPA), the American Council for Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Building Owners and Managers of California (BOMA CAL), the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are co-hosting one of the premier biannual policy gatherings, 2017 Strategic Issues Conference.

The Strategic Issues Conference offers a unique opportunity, in an intimate setting, to enjoy significant exposure to key decision-makers and policymakers from both the public and private sectors.  The goal of the Strategic Issues Conference is to increase public policy and political awareness of state and national issues, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of the California economy.  Your sponsorship will contribute in achieving this goal, and will signal your strong support for the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry.

Click here for more information!

TWO WEEKS TO GO!

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 

The Legislature met today in an unusual Friday floor session due to the Monday holiday.  Additionally, both Appropriations Committees met today to take care of the “Suspense Files.”  So, busy day for the Legislature.  When they return on Tuesday there will be less than two weeks of the 2017 session left.  This means lots of activity and potential for last minute shenanigans.  So, on your behalf, we will be following the proceedings closely!

AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILLS – NO ACTION TODAY

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 

All week there has been a build-up to the potential that the Legislature was going to take up the so-called “Affordable Housing” package on Friday.  That package has been rumored to be as many as 17 bills, but no one has really known for sure what was “in” and what wasn’t.

Regardless, three bills have been the focus of the package:

 SB 2 (Atkins) Real Estate Document Tax: Imposes a tax of at least $75 on all recorded real estate documents which is re-directed to public affordable housing programs, emergency shelters, and transitional housing.

 SB 3 (Beall) Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018:  A $3-$5 billion general obligation bond to fund public affordable housing programs and infill infrastructure projects including.

 SB 35 (Weiner) Affordable Housing Regulation Streamlining: Seeks to streamline multi-family housing project approvals by streamlining the approval process in exchange for agreeing to project-labor agreements (PLAs) which will trigger prevailing wage on private projects.

While the actual package of bills that will be included in the housing deal has yet to be formally announced, the Governor and leaders have insisted that new money for affordable housing will only be available if it is paired with streamlined regulations at the local level and new sources of revenue (bonded indebtedness and new taxes).

We are working with our membership to determine how to move forward on the total package of bills, our industry, however, remains opposed to SB 2 (see below).

REAL ESTATE DOCUMENT TAX REMAINS CONTROVERSIAL

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 

Of the three bills mentioned above, SB 2 remains extremely controversial and is the subject of the most speculation about whether or not it can garner the needed two-thirds vote to pass; at one point this week the L.A. times even ran a story with the screaming headline, “Democrats lack votes to pass key California Housing Bill.”

SB 2 is a regressive tax on all recorded real estate documents, except those related to an actual sale of a home or a building.  In other words, the largest transactions where the tax would be least felt, are not subject to the up to $250 per transaction tax that it authorizes, but every small day-to-day type of transaction is.  Currently to file your lot line adjustment you pay around $36.  Under SB 2 that jumps over seven times to $261 – a outrageous tax increase.

Concern is strong with many in the Legislature about SB 2, and not just the fact that it is a regressive tax.  But the numbers being presented by the author underscore the fact that this will produce a paltry amount of money that goes to affordable housing, and even less comes back to local communities, while layering on a big tax on families and small businesses.

For example, under SB 2, in Orange County alone, it is estimated that over 390,000 documents would be subjected to the tax, generating about $20 million in tax revenue.  But according to advocates for the measure, the formula in the bill would return less than $6M back to Orange County to spend on affordable housing and homeless programs.

This is not a good return on investment and many policymakers recognize that, even in the face of a concerted effort to convince them otherwise.  Because of the directives in the bill and the fact that only 70% of the tax revenue is distributed back to locals, we are worried that this scenario could be common in many counties.

However, our industry remains opposed to the new taxes contained in SB 2 as the bill is a regressive measure that inserts a convoluted tax into the middle of day-to-day real estate business and does very little to directly produce affordable housing.

We think if the Legislature just folded this program into the budget it would easily pass, remove the complicated taxation scheme, and garner lots of support.

SUBCONTRACTOR LIABILITY BILL STRONGLY OPPOSED

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

One bill that continues to move forward that we continue to strongly oppose is AB 1701 (Thurmond; D-Richmond). This bill creates a new private right of action against general contractors for liabilities they did not cause and without providing any notice or ability to prevent the harm.

We believe that every worker should be paid promptly. However, under current law, subcontractors are prohibited from providing employee identification without the employee’s permission or a court order. Moreover, the general contractor does not hire subcontractors to another subcontractor and may not be aware of their presence on the job.

Rather than creating an ability to avoid the harm of unpaid workers, AB 1701 would make the worker go through a lengthy process of litigation – beginning one year after the work is complete, delaying payment for years. If general contractors could obtain information about the status of worker compensation prior to making a progress payment to the subcontractor, they could ensure that workers are promptly paid.

Additionally, AB 1701 will have the unintended consequence of increasing the likelihood that subcontractor employees will not be paid by adding Labor Code section 218.7(a)(3): “A direct contractor or any other person shall not evade, or commit any act that negates, the requirements of this section.”

This would prevent general contractors from including indemnification provisions in their agreements with subcontractors. Contractual indemnity provisions put the subcontractor on notice that they will not escape liability if they fail to pay their employees. Without a contractual right of indemnification, AB 1701 creates a moral hazard.

We strongly oppose this bill that will further make housing and construction in the state of California more expensive.

LOCAL INITIATIVE TAX MEASURE DECISION FIX SOUGHT

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 

This week the California Supreme court ruled that local ballot initiatives imposing new taxes for specific purposes only need a simple majority of voters to pass.  This decision has rocked many in the state as it shakes the foundation of Proposition 13 and created a gigantic loophole for pro-tax officials to game the system by running a “grassroots” initiative in order to make it easier to pass taxes.

Click here for a more in-depth story about the ruling and its potential ramifications.

In response, Assembly Republicans have already introduced a measure to “fix” the newly created loophole, however, not many Capitol Watchers are confident the proposal will be embraced by the needed 2/3s to pass a constitutional amendment.

This ruling will make it easier for non-governmental groups to pass local tax measures and we implore all of our members to become more active at the local level to ensure you are not caught by surprise when measures start coming forth.

PREVAILING WAGE MANDATES INCREASE CONSTRUCTION COST BY 37%

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments


The Coalition for Affordable, Reliable and Equitable Housing issued the following statement after a new study revealed that prevailing wage mandates in private residential housing would result in $84,000 in higher housing costs:

“In a time of unprecedented crisis – as communities of color and all Californians are struggling to regain their footing from the housing crash – we cannot afford any more expensive mandates that will starve people of being able to put a roof over their head. Prevailing wage mandates, perhaps will help some members of a politically powerful special interest, but that is only achieved at the expense of every other Californian currently struggling with higher housing costs. The bottom-line is prevailing wage will lead to higher poverty, higher housing costs and make our state’s housing crisis even worse,” said John Gamboa, Cofounder and President of California Community Builders and Vice Chair of the Two Hundred Project.

The report, Impacts of a Prevailing Wage Requirement for Market Rate Housing in California, was funded by the California Homebuilding Foundation and conducted by Matthew Newman, former Executive Director for the California Institute for County Government and former Policy Analyst for the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The full report can be found here.

STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE- DECEMBER 7-8 , NAPA, CALIFORNIA

Posted: September 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

TEN major groups have come together to host an event you don’t want to miss!  California Business Properties Association (CBPA), the American Council for Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Building Owners and Managers of California (BOMA CAL), the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are co-hosting one of the premier biannual policy gatherings, 2017 Strategic Issues Conference.  

The Strategic Issues Conference offers a unique opportunity, in an intimate setting, to enjoy significant exposure to key decision-makers and policymakers from both the public and private sectors.  The goal of the Strategic Issues Conference is to increase public policy and political awareness of state and national issues, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of the California economy.  Your sponsorship will contribute in achieving this goal, and will signal your strong support for the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry.

Click here for more information!

“THEY’RE BAAAAACK!”

Posted: August 25, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The California State Legislature is back from their Summer Recess, tan, rested, and ready, to finish out the final four weeks of the 2017 legislative year.  In addition to dealing with hundreds and hundreds of bills, Leadership has announced they are going to focus on a package of bills relating to affordable housing and are looking for ways to spend the windfall of cap-and-trade dollars.  As we push through to the final days of Session in mid-September it could be a wild ride.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISN’T AFFORDABLE ANYMORE

Posted: August 25, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Doing something – anything – to appear to address the affordable housing crisis is at the top of Legislative Leaders minds.   Housing is an incredibly important issue to our association and the lack of supply, inability to keep up with demand, and the increase in prices that come along with that, must be addressed.

The median California home is now priced 2.5 times higher than the median national home.  Extremely high housing prices have caused home ownership in our state to tank – with just over half of California households owning their homes—the third lowest rate in the country. At the same times rents have soared.  Statewide, the median rental price for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,400, but the costs in urban areas can be more than double the statewide average.  Families are being priced out of certain market, are being forced to move further away from job-centers, and homelessness is increasing due to the lack of affordability.

The reasons why California has gotten into this situation are many.

The biggest driver for increases in housing costs is that the price of land, especially along the coast, had gone through the roof.  Regulations, lawsuits, labor shortages, increased material expense and labor costs, complicated land use laws, are all also pointed to by builders as reasons why supply has been choked off.

Many in the legislature acknowledge privately that these reasons are, indeed, retarding development.  However, disentangling this Gordian Knot of issues will take a lot of political courage, force difficult policy discussion and decisions, and will take a level of give and take with powerful interests, that is currently not happening.  At this point the Legislature is focusing on measures that will focus some public money to affordable housing programs and an attempt at reform that may actually make the cost of construction more expensive in trade for a small modicum of regulatory relief.

That is not to say we don’t support focusing funds on affordable housing programs, nor do we dislike incremental reforms to regulation, but we are concerned that there is not a more serious effort to address the core issues that have driven prices up so much.

The CALmatters website has taken a look into the issue and lays out some basic facts about the issue that should be more widely understood.  We highly recommend reading this article by clicking here.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILLS

Posted: August 25, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders issued a statement on July 17 stating they were going to make affordable housing legislation a top priority for the final weeks of session.

While the actual package of bills that will be included in the housing deal has yet to be formally announced, the Governor and leaders have insisted that new money for affordable housing will only be available if it is paired with streamlined regulations at the local level.

There are three bills that have been mentioned the most as being part of this package:

 SB 2 (Atkins) Real Estate Document Tax: Imposes a tax of at least $75 on all recorded real estate documents which is re-directed to public affordable housing programs, emergency shelters, and transitional housing.

 SB 3 (Beall) Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018:  A $3-$5 billion general obligation bond to fund public affordable housing programs and infill infrastructure projects including.

 SB 35 (Weiner) Affordable Housing Regulation Streamlining: Seeks to streamline multi-family housing project approvals by streamlining the approval process in exchange for agreeing to project-labor agreements (PLAs) which will trigger prevailing wage on private projects.

We are working with our membership to determine how to move forward on this package of bills.  However, our industry remains opposed to the new taxes contained in SB 2 as the bill is a regressive measure that inserts a convoluted tax into the middle of day-to-day real estate business.

PREVAILING WAGE MANDATES INCREASE CONSTRUCTION COST BY 37%

Posted: August 25, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The Coalition for Affordable, Reliable and Equitable Housing issued the following statement after a new study revealed that prevailing wage mandates in private residential housing would result in $84,000 in higher housing costs:

“In a time of unprecedented crisis – as communities of color and all Californians are struggling to regain their footing from the housing crash – we cannot afford any more expensive mandates that will starve people of being able to put a roof over their head. Prevailing wage mandates, perhaps will help some members of a politically powerful special interest, but that is only achieved at the expense of every other Californian currently struggling with higher housing costs. The bottom-line is prevailing wage will lead to higher poverty, higher housing costs and make our state’s housing crisis even worse,” said John Gamboa, Cofounder and President of California Community Builders and Vice Chair of the Two Hundred Project.

The report, Impacts of a Prevailing Wage Requirement for Market Rate Housing in California, was funded by the California Homebuilding Foundation and conducted by Matthew Newman, former Executive Director for the California Institute for County Government and former Policy Analyst for the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The full report can be found here.

SUMMER RECESS – A BIG SIGH OF RELEIF!

Posted: July 27, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The California State Legislature met the Second House Policy Committee deadline, voted on hundreds of bills in a flurry of activity, and then…  adjourned for their monthlong Summer Recess.  And a sigh of relief could be heard throughout the land.

With Summer Recess, now is a good time to review the 2017 Legislative Session so far.  Since January, 2,904 legislative bills have been introduced, 968 from the Senate and 1,936 from the Assembly.  We read every one of them – and all of their amended versions.  Of those bills we have tracked a total of 416.  Of those, 217 are still “alive” in the process.  That is a lot of potential law still out there and needing input from our industry!

The bills we track are deemed to have some impact on the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry and before we oppose bills, we try to work with authors to fix language in order to remove concerns.

It’s a full-time legislature and tracking what they do takes a lot of time energy and effort. So we are grateful for this Summer Recess as a little break in the action allows us to catch up and get prepared for the Dog Days of August and September when the final sprint begins!

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