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New California Renters’ Caucus Gets all Five of its Priority Bills to Governor’s Desk 

State Legislature’s first-ever caucus to fight for renters’ rights sends all priority bills to Governor Newsom’s desk

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  • Nate Allbee
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New California Renters’ Caucus Gets all Five of its Priority Bills to Governor’s Desk 

State Legislature’s first-ever caucus to fight for renters’ rights sends all priority bills to Governor Newsom’s desk

Sacramento – The California Legislative Renters’ Caucus, chaired by Assemblymember Haney (D- San Francisco), sent all five of its priority bills to the Governor’s desk in its first year. With only five members, the caucus is one of the smallest in the state legislature and was created to advocate for legislation that protects renters’ rights. Every year the Renters’ Caucus picks a slate of bills that will help the 17 million renters in California, and then uses the full force of the caucus’ influence to get those bills passed.

The Legislative Renters’ Caucus was created in 2022 in response to the need for more renter representation in the California State Legislature. While it only had three members after it was first established, it quickly added additional members after the election. 

“Our ability to get all five priority bills to the Governor’s desk shows how important creating the renters’ caucus has been,” said Haney. “Most of these bills would’ve died in their first committee if they were introduced five years ago. The Renters’ Caucus, which is growing after each election, is showing how electing renters can directly translate to more tenant-friendly policies,” said Haney.

The five caucus priority bills touch on issues ranging from tenant rights to redistricting. 

Assemblymember Haney’s AB 12 will stop the practice of landlords charging two times and in some cases three times the monthly rent as a security deposit. If signed into law, landlords could only charge one month’s rent for a security deposit starting on July 1, 2024. 

Majority Leader Bryan’s (D-Los Angeles) AB 1248 would require a county or city with more than 300,000 residents to establish an independent redistricting commission to adopt district boundaries after each census. This bill would end the predatory practice of local officials intentionally undercutting the power of renters by artificially drawing redistricting lines that remove their power. 

Assemblymember Boerner’s (D-Encinitas) AB 548 provides authorization for code enforcement officers to inspect additional units if they encounter severely substandard conditions such as widespread mold during an inspection.

Assemblymember Lee’s (D-San Jose) AB 309 creates the Social Housing Program that would be authorized to develop up to three social housing projects on state-owned excess land that’s deemed suitable for housing. The Social Housing Program would aim to ensure that rent is no more than 30% of residents’ income. 

Senator Wahab’s (D-Hayward) SB 555 requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to study the pathways to meet the State’s stable affordable housing needs. This study will review opportunities and resources available for acquiring and preserving existing housing and producing new affordable housing. 

“This year our Legislature championed legislation to hold local jurisdictions accountable for approving and producing more affordable housing units, to protect renters from unreasonable security deposits and unjust evictions, and to identify existing unused land to repurpose for housing. I am especially honored to have authored AB 1248, a Renters’ Caucus priority bill that ensures renters are no longer gerrymandered to dilute their growing political representation by promoting an open and independent redistricting process across the State. Together, this comprehensive bill package targets the root causes of the housing and homelessness crisis in our state and provides immediate relief to all Californians.” said Majority Leader Bryan, Vice Chair of the Renters’ Caucus. 

The Caucus will meet again in the beginning of the new legislative session to vote on legislative priorities for this year’s legislative session.