Picture of Daniela Ades

Daniela Ades

2022 Legislative Agenda: Key Bills We Support for Nature, Housing, and Resilience

Each year, Greenbelt Alliance selects state legislative priorities. Those guide our team in determining opportunities to take action that will further our mission to educate, advocate, and collaborate to ensure the Bay Area’s lands and communities are resilient to a changing climate. Learn more about our legislative priorities here.

This year, we’re centering the environmental case for housing at every opportunity in our work. We see the climate, environment, housing, and equity crises as interconnected issues that we need to tackle through education, collaboration, advocacy, cultural shifts, and most importantly, policy changes. From eliminating parking mandates and exclusive single-family zoning to encouraging more affordable housing away from high-fire prone areas, there are many changes we need to advocate for to unlock systemic and long-lasting solutions. Below, you can learn more about the bills we have weighed in on.

Bills We Endorse

Housing + Transportation

Assembly Bill 2097 – Residential, Commercial, or Other Development Types: parking requirements (Assemblymember Friedman): This bill would reduce housing costs and slash climate and air pollution by eliminating expensive parking mandates on new homes built near high-quality transit.

Assembly Bill 2011 – Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act (Assemblymember Wicks): This bill would make certain housing developments that meet specified affordability and site criteria and objective development standards use by right within a zone where office, retail, or parking are a principally permitted use, and would subject these development projects to one of 2 streamlined, ministerial review processes. 

Senate Bill 922 – California Environmental Quality Act: exemptions: transportation-related projects (Senator Wiener): This bill would help transit agencies and local governments build active and sustainable transportation projects that will help the state combat and adapt to climate change while creating a safer, healthier, and more equitable future for all Californians. 

Assembly Bill 2234 – Planning and Zoning: housing: post entitlement phase permits (Assemblymember Rivas): This bill would create a framework for developers and local jurisdictions to process residential building permits more efficiently and cost-effectively. This legislation will only affect construction-related approvals and permits that occur after a project has been approved for planning and zoning by the local jurisdiction. 

Senate Bill 917 – Seamless Transit Transformation Act (Senator Becker): This bill would take meaningful steps toward seamlessly integrated public transit in the San Francisco Bay Area by advancing integrated fares, transit wayfinding, real-time information, and coordinated service. The bill advances initiatives identified in the region’s Transit Transformation Action Plan—the plan unanimously agreed to by the region’s Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force in 2021.

Integrating Resilience and Equity Into Existing Planning Processes

Assembly Bill 2053 – Social Housing Act Bill (Assemblymember Lee): This bill would create the California Housing Authority (CHA) to produce and preserve Social Housing: homes that are union built, sustainable, collectively owned, affordable for all income levels, and are financially self-sustaining. Housing for people with higher incomes will subsidize low-income units and allow housing developments to become self-sustaining and revenue-neutral.

Assembly Bill 2070 – Fire Protection Districts: electrical corporations and local publicly owned electric utilities: wildfire mitigation: notice requirements (Assemblymember Bauer-Kahn): This bill would require all electric utilities to notify local fire districts at least 24 hours before conducting mitigation or planned burns in a high-fire risk area during fire season. 

Senate Bill 1049 – Transportation Resilience Program (Senator Dodd): This bill would establish the Transportation Resilience Program to fund climate adaptation planning and projects to improve the resilience of roads, bridges, transit, and other critical surface transportation assets that are at risk from sea level rise and other climate change fueled natural hazards. The program, to be administered by the California Transportation Commission, would be funded from federal resources newly available to fund transportation-related resilience investments. 

Assembly Bill 2076 – Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program (Assemblymember Rivas): The bill will establish a comprehensive structure at OPR to ensure coordination of the State’s efforts to address heat. AB 2076 will:

  • Fund an Extreme Heat and Community Resilience grant program for local actions.
  • Create an Inter-Agency Heat Taskforce to coordinate cross-agency collaboration on heat.
  • Promote transparency and accountability by establishing a Heat Advisory Council with public members.
  • Inform the public about the impacts of heat by requiring the Department of Public Health to identify and track heat-illness and fatalities through a heat syndromic surveillance system.

Assembly Bill 2108 – Water Policy: environmental justice: disadvantaged and tribal communities (Assemblymember Rivas): This bill would require the State Water Resources Control Board and each of the nine Regional Water Boards to fill a seat with an environmental justice or tribal member. The bill “seeks to remove barriers for underserved Californians to have their voices heard by reclassifying one of the existing seats on each of the water boards,” said Rivas.

(Support if amended) Senate Bill 12 –  Local Government: planning and zoning wildfires (Senator McGuire): this bill would include fire risk avoidance as a priority for Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and increase statewide building standards to protect life and property. Amendments requested: refine how fire risk avoidance is included in statute; include a statement to distinguish between infill and sprawl development, and the prioritization of infill with regards to fire risk mitigation.

Open Space Protection

Assembly Bill 2789 – Open-Space Design-Build Permitting (Assemblymember Mullin): This bill would facilitate the design and completion of projects by eliminating the sunset on the use of the design-build process for construction in three park and open space districts. The goal of these projects is to enhance recreational opportunities; expand access to recreational facilities; and protect, restore, and improve the district’s parks. 

Assembly Bill 2344 – Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act (Assemblymember Friedman and Kalra): This bill would improve safety for people and wildlife by protecting and enhancing wildlife connectivity across California’s highway system. The bill requires state agencies to implement wildlife crossings in identified connectivity areas for new projects and to address existing barriers identified as priorities.

Assembly Bill 2649 – Natural Carbon Sequestration and Resilience Act of 2022 (Assemblymembers Garcia and Stone): This bill defines “natural carbon sequestration” as “the removal and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide equivalents by vegetation and soils on natural, working, and urban lands.” It establishes a natural, non-technological target for sequestering from the atmosphere an additional 60 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually on California’s natural, working, and urban lands (NWL) by 2030, and increases that target to 75 MMT CO2e annually by 2035. The bill calls for technical assistance and additional forms of support to farmers, ranchers, and other land managers to implement natural carbon sequestration (NCS). It also allocates 50 percent of state expenditures in support of NCS for low-income and disadvantaged communities including historically underserved farmers.

Photo: Karl Nielsen/Greenbelt Alliance

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