The 15 new housing laws were signed by Jerry Brown on Friday, and it sure seems like the politicians were intent on throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the so-called housing crisis.  But as you read through the bills, and listen to the Governor above, how confident are you that anything will change?

“This package has everything from A to Z – affordability to zoning,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a statement. “It’s not a magic wand, but it is going to put a lot of drafting tools, backhoes, hammers and door keys to work.”

State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, an author of one of the major bills in the package, said the state has only begun to address its housing challenges.

“This is a necessary and critical first start,” she said.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, pledged to do more next year.

“Today, California begins a pivot … I am happy to hear my colleagues (say) this is the beginning, not the end, because I have some bills for you next year,” Wiener said.

The housing bills provide new funding for low-income housing development, seek to lower the cost of construction, fast-track building, and restrict the ability of cities and counties to block new development. Here’s a rundown of the bills in the package:

Senate Bill 2, Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego: Imposes a new $75 to $225 fee on real estate transactions. Estimated to generate $250 to $300 million per year to fund affordable housing development, programs to assist homeless people and long-range development planning in cities and counties. For 2018, revenue would be split equally between the state and local government. The state share is specifically aimed at combating homelessness. It’s available for rental assistance, homeless navigation centers and development of housing for homeless people.

Senate Bill 3, Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose: Will put a $4 billion housing bond before voters in November 2018. If approved, $1 billion would go to the CalVet home loan program, established in 1921 to help military veterans purchase homes. The remaining $3 billion would help fund low-income housing projects and development near jobs and public transportation.

Senate Bill 35, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco: Lets developers bypass the lengthy and often expensive review process for new housing development, which includes extensive environmental analysis and public hearings. If a community has not built enough housing – state law outlines the housing needs, at all income levels, for each city and county in California – developers can bring forth a project without undergoing the process. It mandates higher construction worker pay and benefits on projects with 10 units or more.

Read summaries of all 15 bills here:

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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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