After a flurry of activity, the California State Legislature adjourned the 2021-22 Legislative Session at 1:30 am on September 1. All legislation approved by the Legislature the last week of Session was sent to Governor Newsom’s desk for further action under a constitutionally imposed deadline of September 30. The Governor signed 997 bills into law and vetoed 169 bills sent to him in 2022. The Legislative Committee identified, tracked, and analyzed a record number of measures this Session. I am pleased to report that timely and decisive intervention has led to another successful legislative session for recreation and park districts at the Capitol.
The journey to finalizing the record setting $300 billion State Budget occurred in three stages and took over three months to perfect. Senate Bill 154 (Skinner) passed in June and modified later in the month with the passage of Assembly Bill 178 (Ting). Late in the Session, Assembly Bill 179 (Ting), the “August Budget Jr. Bill” passed to complete the process. The comprehensive Budget package included millions of dollars in grant opportunities for recreation and park projects. Additionally, the Budget included a lengthy list of local recreation and park projects allocated for funding, inserted at the request of individual legislators and available due to the existence of a healthy state fiscal surplus this year. However, the Department of Finance is forecasting a more restrictive Budget for the next fiscal year based on reduced income projections.
The CARPD Legislative Committee established priority positions on several significant bills this year, including:
- Assembly Bill 1737 by Chris Holden, a Democrat from Pasadena, would have created onerous new regulatory provisions affecting day camps for recreation and park districts. A special working group of the Legislative Committee was formed and conducted a series of meetings with the author and staff and successfully convinced them to alter the contours of the bill to make it acceptable to our members. The author decided to hold the bill on the Assembly Floor this year. Afterward, he thanked us for engaging in a productive and professional manner to help him refocus the measure. We expect he will return with a new approach in 2023.
- Assembly Bill 2186 by Tim Grayson of Concord was the latest in a long line of bills deigned to reduce impact fees on affordable housing development in an effort to lower developer costs and increase the supply of housing. An effort was made to provide for the recoupment of lost fees, but the bill died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The focus of candidates for the State Legislature has now shifted to running campaigns for election on November 8, 2022. If projections hold, over 25% of the seats in the Legislature will be held by new members. Additionally, as reported previously, the “Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act” did not make it on the ballot this year. However, it has since qualified for the November 2024 ballot. Sponsored by the Business Roundtable and strongly supported by soft drink, tobacco and other companies opposed to various local government revenue enhancement items, the Initiative is designed to overturn some recent court decisions, which has allowed local revenue measures to become law with less than a 2/3 vote. We are part of a growing coalition of local government organizations in active opposition to this Initiative.
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