Van Nuys, Calif. – As California legislators voted on hundreds of bills during the last week of the legislative session this year, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) successfully advocated on a number of priority bills for the business community. VICA was pleased that 79.5 percent of the bills VICA advocated on in the Legislature were successful, including bills that VICA supported which were sent to the Governor and VICA-opposed bills which failed to pass out of the Legislature.
On housing, VICA-sponsored AB 1560 by Assemblymember Friedman was approved unanimously by the Legislature and is on its way to Governor Newsom’s desk. AB 1560 would bring more homes to the San Fernando Valley by allowing housing to be built along high-quality transit corridors, including Metro’s Orange Line.
VICA supported a package of housing bills which will effectively address the housing crisis facing California, and particularly the San Fernando Valley. Bills such as SB 330 will streamline housing construction by making temporary changes to housing laws for a 5-year period, speeding up the permitting process for new developments and limiting public hearings for projects to five. SB 5 would also alleviate the state’s housing shortage by leveraging property tax revenue to fund more low- and middle-income housing.
VICA President Stuart Waldman said, “For far too long, community opposition and CEQA abuse have prevented housing from getting built in the Valley and throughout California. We commend the Legislature for approving a package of bills that will make a positive impact on our state’s housing stock, especially for the San Fernando Valley.”
However, VICA is disappointed that the Legislature approved AB 1482, a bill that will depress new development by placing a cap on the amount property owners can raise their rent prices. This bill is contrary to Governor Newsom’s stated goal of increasing the housing supply.
On consumer privacy, VICA was pleased that the Legislature passed much needed changes to the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act. AB 25 would allow employers to collect information for employees and job applicants. Additionally, AB 1564 would clarify which methods companies can offer to consumers to submit personal information requests.
On healthcare, the Legislature approved AB 1004, which would provide developmental screenings for children up to three years old under Medi-Cal. This bill would improve a child’s long-term outcomes, and minimize the need for costly health care and special education in the future.
On employment, a proposal to extend unemployment benefits to employees on strike under AB 1066 would have been costly and harmful to California employers, was struck down by the Legislature. VICA is pleased that the Legislature understood the risk to an important safety net for involuntary unemployed Californians.
On public banks, VICA was disappointed that the Legislature passed AB 857, which would allow the establishment of publicly-owned banks.
VICA President Stuart Waldman said, “Last year, Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to explore the feasibility of a municipal bank. The City analysis found that establishment of this bank would be enormously risky and expensive. In fact, the head of the Bank of North Dakota - cited by proponents as a successful model - even said that his bank should NOT be used as a model for other public banks.”
Finally, on tourism, the Legislature failed to pass SB 58, which would have allowed a pilot program to extend last-call for on-site alcoholic beverage consumption to 3 AM. VICA still believes that this program would have been an economic boon for the ten proposed cities, spurring tourism and promoting a more vibrant nightlife.
The mission of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) is to enhance the economic vitality of the greater San Fernando Valley region by advocating for a better business climate and quality of life.