Senate District 12 Friends and Families,
The Capitol was busy last week, as we returned to a full week on the Senate floor observing social distancing and wearing masks. The California Legislature delivered the 2020-21 budget to Governor Newsom, preserving programs that protect the elderly and poor, while recognizing that the pandemic will have a profound impact on the state’s ability to fund everything. Simply, there are going to be reduced services, but not those that are lifelines for at risk Californians.
I worked hard to move four bills through the California Senate and now those and others will move to the California Assembly. Two of my bills are included in the California Senate’s Priority Housing Package, designed to encourage new housing development and keep struggling renters from losing their homes, while keeping landlords from losing their investments.
What impressed me most last week were my Senate colleagues. Each one put politics aside, and focused on restoring the state’s economy, while protecting our most at risk citizens from COVID-19. I applaud every Senator, Democrat and Republican, alike. Partisanship was replaced with cooperation, and at least in California, it seems that the vast majority of our elected officials from both political parties are united in an effort to fight the pandemic. On to my bills:
Senate Bill 1385 passed the Senate floor with bi-partisan support from Democrats and Republicans and without any “No” votes. SB 1385 would unlock existing land zoned for commercial office and retail for potential residential development by making housing an eligible use on those sites. Strip mall and malls are experiencing vacancies because stores are closing due to online sales. These commercial infill parcels create urban blight and are difficult to reuse. Even before COVID-19, many large-scale commercial developers were moving to mixed-use projects that integrate live/work/play uses into one neighborhood. This trend has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, and this bill reflects the need to update the development landscape statewide to embrace that evolution and create much-needed housing alongside office and retail. You can read more about SB 1385 HERE.
Senate Bill 1410 provides eviction protection to tenants unable to make payments during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing residential landlords and mobile-home park owners voluntary financial tax incentives to keep tenants housed. Given COVID-19 and its impacts on Californians, the state must take action to ensure immediate relief to tenants so that they are not evicted, while also protecting landlords who operate in good faith and might otherwise face foreclosure which could result in tenant evictions. You can read more about SB 1410 HERE.
Senate Bill 1409 passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, without a single “No” vote. SB 1409 would create a pilot program to help increase the number of eligible individuals and families that receive the CalEITC, the most successful anti-poverty program in California. CalEITC eligible families continue to leave millions of dollars unclaimed. In order to receive the CalEITC, a person must file a tax return. Many low-income families are unaware they qualify for the credit or simply do not file a tax return because they do not earn enough to file a return. This means the neediest working families who would benefit most from the CalEITC miss money they desperately need. SB 1409 would solve this problem, and you can learn more about SB 1409 HERE.
Senate Bill 1459 passed from the Senate with unanimous support. SB 1459 provides temporary relief from farebox ratio recovery requirements so that transit operators in the counties of San Luis Obispo and Stanislaus can continue to access funds to maintain their existing service. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated farebox collection efforts for transit operators, compromising the ability to provide essential dial-a-ride services for society’s most vulnerable. SB 1459 is an important tool for Central Valley communities to provide vital transit services to those most in need. You can learn more about SB 1459 HERE.
As these and other bills move through the Assembly, please check my website or your inbox for another update about their progress. And, as always, please feel free to contact my office to voice your opposition, or hopefully your support.
Stay safe and be well,
Senator Anna M. Caballero