Legislative Update

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Governmental and Legislative Affairs

January 6, 2022


Sacramento Updates

California lawmakers returned to Sacramento this week to begin the 2022 State Legislative Session. Californians can expect lawmakers to continue focusing on housing and climate, plus COVID-19, healthcare and how to spend another budget surplus. Lawmakers must advance bills held over from last year, that did not pass their house of origin, by January 31st.

New Year, New Laws: Below is a list of new laws that go into effect in 2022.


  • SB 8 maintains limitations on local governments’ ability to “downzone” neighborhoods without planning to increase density in other areas until the year 2030. The law also regulates policies which would make it harder to build affordable homes.
  • SB 9 lets property owners build a duplex on a single-family lot, or to divide their property into two for a total of four units.
  • SB 10 allows cities or counties can pass an ordinance for the streamlined construction of as many as 10 units on a single parcel.
  • AB 362 requires cities and counties to enforce uniform, statewide health and safety standards at homeless shelters.

Public Safety & Accountability:

  • SB 2 gives the state the authority to de-certify police officers with records of misconduct
  • AB 48 restricts the ability of law enforcement agencies to use kinetic weapons and chemical deterrents, such as rubber bullets or tear gas, to disperse protestors.
  • AB 89 requires all community colleges in California to create a universal policing curriculum and raises the minimum age for new officers from 18 to 21.
  • SB 98 specifically allows journalists access to closed-off demonstrations and protests.


  • The state minimum wage increases to $14 on January 1st for employers with 25 employees or less, and to $15 for employers with 26 or more employees.
  • AB 1033 expands protected unpaid leave under California Family Rights Act to include leave to care for a parent-in-law.
  • AB 286 makes it illegal for food delivery apps to retain any portion of a tip or gratuity, ensuring that it goes directly for the driver.
  • SB 807 requires employers to now maintain personnel records for four years from the date of creation, instead of the prior two years, and also four years from the date of termination of an employee or non-hire of an applicant.
  • AB 654 In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the California Legislature previously enacted strict exposure notification and reporting requirements. AB 654 adds to those prior requirements, shortening the time employers have to notify authorities of COVID-19 cases and narrowing the definition of “worksite.” This law took immediate effect on October 5th, 2021 and is set to expire on January 1st, 2023.

Fire Preparedness & Mitigation:

  • AB 9 requires the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program to support regional projects and formulate environmental strategies that cultivate fire-adapted and prepared communities. This bill provides grants to local entities to encourage collaboration, identify wildfire risks, assess ecosystem health, and design governance for forest health.
  • SB 63 requires the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection to determine areas of the state that qualify as a fire hazard severity zone.
  • SB 109 creates the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development which is responsible for studying, testing, and applying new technology and equipment to better manage wildfires in the future.

Budget: Governor Newsom is expected to release his 2022-23 proposed budget by January 10, 2022. Both the full Senate and Assembly Budget Committees released their respective 2022 spending priorities in mid-December. The Senate’s Putting California’s Wealth to Work for a More Equitable Economy can be found here. The Assembly’s Delivering Prosperity & Strengthening the Future can be found here.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released its annual Fiscal Outlook publication in November 2021. The LAO projects that the state will have a $31 billion surplus to allocate in the upcoming fiscal year and operating surpluses ranging from $3 billion to $8 billion over a multiyear period.

We look forward to the details of the Governor’s proposed budget.

Redistricting: On Monday, December 27th, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission voted unanimously to approve its final maps. California voters now have brand new districts to elect their members of Congress and state legislators starting with the June 2022 primaries and continuing for the next decade. Redistricting occurs once every 10 years, following every federal census. It is the second time that California redistricting is being done by a 14-member independent state commission.

The Redistricting Commission had a court-ordered deadline to submit the maps to the Secretary of State by December 27th despite a nearly six-month delay in the release of 2020 Census data. Over the last few weeks, the Commission held several marathon sessions late into the night to hear public comment and try to incorporate competing testimony into the maps.

Here are a few highlights from the redistricting process:

  • Congressional Seats: Slower population growth in California means the state lost one of its 53 U.S. House seats this year.
  • State Senate: While California Congressional districts each have roughly 760,000 people, State Senate districts have nearly 1 million Californians each. Some far-flung communities are paired in the same Senate district such as portions of Fresno and Kern counties.
  • State Assembly: While the Democratic majority in the State Senate might shrink under the new map, the new State Assembly map creates 63 solid Democratic seats, according to an analysis by California Target Book.
  • Board of Equalization: With just four state Board of Equalization districts, they are far less complex to draw. The board is tasked with ensuring that taxes across different counties are uniform, such as alcohol and beverage taxes.

With the release of the new state legislative districts, so far 10 state legislators have announced they will not seek re-election in 2022, while seven others will be termed out. Four lawmakers — Democratic Assemblymembers Ed Chau of Monterey Park in Los Angeles County, David Chiu of San Francisco, Jim Frazier of Fairfield and Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego — have already resigned, so there will be special elections in early 2022 to replace them.

The Redistricting Commission expects it will reconvene to defend its maps against any legal challenges and to complete a report that could improve the process in 2031.

Legislative Website: Information regarding the County’s Legislative Platforms, legislative positions, bill tracking and other items of interest can be found on the Governmental and Legislative Affairs’ website.

Washington, DC Updates

Build Back Better and Voting Rights: Progress on Build Back Better, continues to stall as discussions between President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), a holdout on the measure, have dragged on with no signs of nearing a breakthrough.

Manchin's opposition to the Build Back Better legislation has led Democratic leadership to place the bill on the backburner for the foreseeable future. To save Biden's agenda, Democrats are quickly pivoting to reform the 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster after Senate Republicans blocked debate on three major Democratic voting rights and democracy reform bills in 2021.

Most legislation in the Senate requires a three-fifths majority to pass under the current Senate rules. The reforms to the filibuster Democratic leaders are discussing with Manchin, according to Schumer, include creating a carveout to allow voting rights legislation to pass with a simple majority and a return to the “talking” filibuster.

However, Democrats are running up against a familiar problem with Senator Manchin, who has repeatedly opposed such a carve out for voting rights and argued that it could come back to bite Democrats when the Republicans regain control of the Senate. Manchin has also consistently opposed passing election-related legislation or Senate rule changes along party lines.

Democrats are holding off on Biden's economic spending plan until after completing their aggressive push on elections reform.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): On December 27th, President Biden signed a $768 billion defense policy bill marking the 61st consecutive year Pentagon-related legislation has become federal law. The enactment of the compromise NDAA (S. 1605) rejects Biden's $715 billion Pentagon budget request and instead calls for $740 billion for the Defense Department.

In total, the bill authorizes $768 billion for national defense programs, which includes the Pentagon and nuclear weapons programs overseen by the Department of Energy. However, the defense policy bill only authorizes spending, it does not actually allocate any money. Lawmakers must still come to an agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year for the defense increase to become reality. 

Congressional Calendar: The House and Senate have released session calendars for 2022. While the Senate will meet every month, the House plans to remain at home in their districts for the entire months of August and October in the run-up to the midterm elections, set for November 8th. Please see the graphic below for more details.