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  • What You Need to Know About California’s New Laws and How They Impact You

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    The legislative session is officially over. Over the last year, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) tracked over 700 bills and actively advocated on over 120 bills for the business community. Yesterday marked Governor Brown’s final deadline to sign or veto bills, which will take effect in the new year. These new laws will have a wide-ranging impact across all sectors of the San Fernando Valley business community.

    On housing, VICA applauded the signing of SB 961, which provides a new financing tool for local municipalities to build housing near transit areas. By enabling cities and counties to drive housing development near transit areas, this new tool will help reduce traffic and create more affordable housing.

    Another VICA-supported bill signed by the governor was AB 2162, which will streamline the approval of projects that include Permanent Supportive Housing units. AB 2162 is a vital component in the fight against homelessness.
    On tourism and local business, VICA was disappointed that the governor vetoed SB 905, which would have created a limited pilot program allowing local cities to permit late night entertainment districts in limited circumstances.
    VICA President Stuart Waldman said, “A robust, vibrant nightlife is a key step in bringing visitors and investment to Los Angeles. This is a missed opportunity to create jobs, increase tax revenue, and promote nightlife.”
    VICA was also disappointed by the governor’s decision to sign SB 946, which establishes strict requirements local municipalities must abide by when adopting a sidewalk vending program. This bill undermines local control and fails to protect brick-and-and mortar businesses. VICA has worked with the Los Angeles City Council to create sensible solutions for street vending unique to the city of Los Angeles.
    However, earlier this year, VICA was pleased that the Governor extended the Film and TV Tax Credit supporting thousands of below the line jobs in the San Fernando Valley.
    On energy, VICA was disappointed that the governor signed SB 100, which sets expensive and unrealistic mandates on renewable energy and drives up the cost for California employers and families.
    “Low-cost, reliable energy is critical to California employers and families. Legislators have passed a bill that jeopardizes energy choice, affordability and reliability,” Waldman said. “Experts know that 100 percent renewable energy simply isn’t feasible without increasing rates to unaffordable levels for small businesses and families. By signing SB 100, the governor has demonstrated that he doesn’t care.”
    VICA praised the passage of AB 1879, which prevents the California Public Utilities Commission from imposing a moratorium on new natural gas connections without first providing a report on the necessity for the action.
    AB 3232 would have required new buildings to be zero emission by 2030. Although signed by the governor, VICA’s efforts helped turn this bill from a mandate to a study bill.
    On health services, the governor signed VICA-supported SB 1045, a pilot program for specific counties, which takes a new approach to ensure individuals who are chronically homeless, experience mental illness and are unable to care for themselves are placed in a conservatorship program that focuses on supportive housing with intensive wraparound services. By giving these patients an avenue to facilities that are well-equipped to serve patients with mental health conditions or substance abuse problems, this bill will also alleviate overcrowded emergency rooms and mental health facilities, allowing patients to be attended to more quickly and effectively.
    VICA celebrated the signing of SB 910, which guarantees that all Californians, regardless of age or health, enroll in a comprehensive healthcare plan that will fully cover any medical needs they may have in the future.
    On education, the governor vetoed SB 328 which would have prohibited public middle and high schools from starting the school day before 8:30 a.m. This bill was based on limited academic research and would have placed a significant financial burden on school districts. VICA was glad to see that Governor Brown agreed that this one-size-fits-all mandate would have completely failed to consider the unique needs of communities across our state.
    VICA President Stuart Waldman said, “Delaying school start time really would have thrown working parents under the bus. These parents would have been unable to get their kids to school if the later start time conflicted with their own work hours.”
    Earlier this year, VICA also celebrated the governor’s budget which included increased funding for our CSU and UC systems, as well as extended funding for career technical education.
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