Legislative Affairs Committee of West Orange County -- Legislative Updates as of July 7, 2017





In a shortened week—official legislative business was
interrupted by the Fourth of July holiday this past
California Senate passed
SB 2 by
Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), otherwise known as the Building Jobs and
Homes Act. SB 2 is legislation to establish a real estate transaction fee to
fund more affordable housing. As reported by the
, the bill would impose a $75 fee on documents such as
deeds and notices, with a cap of $225 per transaction, generating hundreds of
millions of dollars annually for affordable housing. A nearly identical
version of the bill died in the legislature last year amid concerns of a
potential conflict of interest with the bill’s author, Senator Atkins. Atkins’
wife, Jennifer LeSar, runs a pair of consulting businesses that specialize in
affordable housing. The Office of Legislative Counsel said those rules did not
apply to the affordable housing bills Atkins unveiled in 2015 because they
didn’t benefit specific people or companies.



California Junior Senator, Kamala Harris (D), has been
in the national political spotlight this week amid continued speculation about
her ambitions to run for higher office. Reports in the
York Times
and CNN
speak to the fact that Harris is capitalizing on her rising star power and
raising money—over $600,000 during the first half of 2017—for Senate Democrats
facing reelection in 2018. California’s other senator, Dianne Feinstein (D), is
downplaying the speculation that Senator Harris could mount a 2020 White House
run, saying her junior colleague "just got here." Feinstein told the New
York Times
that her fellow California senator is “on the way to becoming a
good friend of hers,” but continued, “What she should do is concentrate on
being a good, and possibly great, United States senator. The rest will either
happen or not happen.” Harris has made statements to the Los Angeles Times
saying: “I’m not giving that any consideration. I’ve got to stay focused.”




California GOP Assembly Member and gubernatorial candidate, Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), is taking a hard stance on crime. According to a statement on his Governor 2018 website: “California needs a new vision. California needs new leadership… I have seen crime increase in every major metropolitan area." Allen added, "Crime is on the rise in every major market." According to Mike Males, Allen’s citation of the data amounts to "cherry picking." Males is a senior researcher at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, a policy research group that makes recommendations on alternatives to incarceration. In a February 2017 report, Males examined recent figures that show total crime—or the raw number of property and violent crimes—actually decreased in 41 of California’s largest 69 cities from the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015. That contradicts the portion of Allen’s statement that says "Crime is on the rise in every major market." Males also described Allen’s overall statement as "completely wrong," adding, "certainly crime is not up in every major market."