The 2007 California legislative session began on December 4, mostly for swearing in ceremonies and organizational purposes. There are 46 new legislators and 26 of them come with a local government background.
The Assembly committee chairs were announced this week. Announcement of the Senate committee chairs is not expected until next week. Of note for city officials are the following Assembly committee chairs:
- Appropriations: Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)
- Budget: John Laird (D-Santa Cruz)
- Budget Subcommittee #4: Juan Arambula (D-Fresno)
- Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials: Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael)
- Housing & Community Development: Lori Saldana (D-San Diego)
- Judiciary: Dave Jones (D-Sacramento)
- Local Government: Anna Caballero (D-Salinas)
For a complete list of Assembly Committee chairs, see "Núñez Appoints State Assembly Committee Chairs."
Assembly members Jared Huffman and Anna Caballero are new members of the Legislature. Caballero served on the Salinas City Council and has served as Mayor since 1998. Huffman was an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and president of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors.
A top priority on the Legislature’s 2007 agenda will be implementing legislation for the infrastructure bond package passed by the voters last month. All bond monies have to be appropriated by the Legislature, which is not a given for some of the bonds. The Legislature will be constrained by restrictions on the state’s debt service (it can not exceed 6 percent of revenue) and by a two-thirds approval requirement on appropriations bills
Eminent Domain Measures Filed
On the first day of the 2007 Legislative session, Sen. Tom McClintock filed SCA 1, "The Homeowners and Private Property Protection Act," and Assemblymember Mimi Walters filed ACA 2, also relating to eminent domain. While the two measures are different, both would eliminate the use of eminent domain for redevelopment purposes if the property acquired will be privately owned. Neither measure deals with regulatory takings.
On November 21, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a voter initiative called the "California Property Owners Protection Act," with the Attorney General for title and summary. It is similar to the measure that was filed for the last election but never circulated for signatures. It contains regulatory takings features as well as eminent domain provisions.
In the meantime, the League is working with its partners from the Prop. 90 campaign to develop reasonable eminent domain reform proposals to be considered by the Legislature in 2007.