Legislative Aspirations Meet Political Realities

California State Capitol, Sacramento, CA

As we turn the corner to the cooler months of the year, the summer heat isn’t the only thing coming to an end. The Legislature has wrapped up its work for the year, and now all members are back in their districts. Now that all bills have either stalled or been sent to the Governor, we wanted to provide a status check of the bills on which IIDA had positions during the 2022 legislative session. As a quick reminder, both chapters of IIDA supported several bills this year – SB 1297 and AB 1369 which aimed to reduce the construction industry’s impact on global warming, and AB 2164 to improve disability access to commercial buildings.

SB 1297 by Senator Dave Cortese moved through the legislative process with relative ease, getting through committee hearings in a mostly partly-line vote. The bill, like so many others, failed to make it off the Suspense File of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which is a parking lot for bills that are deemed to have extraordinary cost to the state to implement. For a bill to make it off the Suspense File, Committee chairs, leadership, and the author’s office must agree to that move. The second house appropriations committee is the place where most bills have their final resting spot, and unfortunately SB 1297 was unable to escape that fate.

Meanwhile, AB 1369 by Assemblymember Steve Bennett was able to clear the Suspense File, the author moved it to the inactive file on the Senate Floor, meaning he did not want to pursue the bill, or did not think he had the votes to pass the bill from the floor to the Governor. Whatever the rationale, this bill is also dead for the year.

Our bright spot is AB 2164, which was passed from the Senate Floor to the Governor at the end of August. The bill will make permanent a source of funding that was set to expire on January 1, 2024, that local governments leverage to provide financial assistance to small businesses to improve disability access. Given the central role universal design plays in the practice of every commercial interior designer, this bill was an easy one to support. Governor Newsom has until the end of September to sign the bill, veto it, or do nothing (in which case the bill becomes law).

IIDA has alerted the Governor’s Office to our position on the bill, and now, we wait. Check back to learn what comes of AB 2164! Though this bill was not among those he took action on, the Governor recently signed several bills into law to combat climate change which you can learn more about that bill package here.

Christina Marcellus
Capitol Advisors Group
IIDA’s California Lobbyist

This article originally appeared on the IIDA Northern California Chapter website here.

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