CA Constitutional tax amendment to committee today. Landlord alert**

Although the state Senate initially planned to begin its summer recess on Independence Day, lawmakers in California’s upper-house stuck around for a few more days of committee hearings.

Those hearings wrap up this afternoon and include a discussion of Senate Constitutional Amendment 8 by Sen. Ellen Marie Corbett.

SCA 8, opposed by the California Apartment Association, would lower the voter-approval threshold from two-thirds to 55 percent on special taxes for transportation projects. To become law, SCA 8 must pass the Legislature by a two-thirds margin, gain the governor’s signature, and then pass muster with voters — also by a super majority.

Below is a summary of last week’s action legislative action relevant to the rental housing industry:

SB 462 (Monning): Employment compensation attorneys’ fees
The Assembly Judiciary Committee last week voted in favor of a bill by Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, that would hamper a defendant’s ability to collect attorneys’ fees from a plaintiff who loses a labor dispute in court. CAA opposes this legislation, which would strip from the court system a worthwhile financial deterrent against filing bogus claims.
The committee, which approved SB 462 by a 7-2 vote, ordered the bill to a third reading.

AB 327 (Perea): Energy crisis rules revamp
This bill, which would reverse policies enacted during the energy crisis of 2000-2001, passed as amended on a unanimous vote by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Commission.
The bill, by Assemblyman Henry Perea, would allow the California Public Utilities Commission to approve fair and reasonable rates for investor-owned utilities, or IOUs, while turning back policies that have proven unfair to the multifamily housing industry. For example, current policies require investor-owned utilities to pass along most cost increases to customers using moderately more than the average amount of electricity in a given month — unfair to a majority of the state’s rental housing owners and tenants.

SB 269 (Hill): Putting brakes on prepaid rental listing scams
Sen. Jerry Hill’s bill to help prevent scams related to prepaid-rental-listing services advanced from the Assembly Appropriations Committee by a 16 to 1 vote. The bill, supported by CAA, would require any person who wishes to offer prepaid rental listing services to prospective tenants to hold a real estate license.

Moreover, it would require this individual to include his or her license number on each contract executed with a prospective tenant. It would also mandate people who offer prepaid rental listing services to provide a specific notice to prospective tenants before accepting any fees.

SB 750 (Wolk): Submeters bill better without RUBS ban

This bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, was not taken up by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee as planned. It’s expected to resurface in August, following the summer recess.

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