Legislative Update February 2019


On December 28, 2018, the Office of Administrative Law approved changes to state guidelines for implementing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and are now in effect. This includes a revised Appendix G Environmental Checklist. As a service to our members, AEP has provided the new checklist in PDF format on our website and is now available for download. http://califaep.org/docs/2019-Appendix_G_Checklist.pdf

Two months into 2019 and the Legislature is beginning to hit its stride. With a new Governor taking the reins in January, this year was already certain to be different from the last. Governor Newsom has been swift to lay out new policy priorities, direct significant investment in those priorities through his proposed budget, and is slowly changing key personnel within the administration. During his State of the State Address, Governor Newsom announced his intention to narrow the focus of High Speed Rail to a line in the Central Valley without SF and LA connections (for now), reduce the Water Fix twin tunnels to a single tunnel to move water south through the Delta, and to extend to housing projects the expedited judicial review for CEQA lawsuits that some stadiums get.

The Legislature certainly does not want to be left behind. With new Democratic Supermajorities in both houses, we saw a record number 2,589 bills and constitutional amendments introduced before the Bill Introduction deadline on Friday, February 22. While many of these bills relate to environmental issues and initiatives, over 100 relate to housing and planning and nearly 50 of these bills contain proposed changes to CEQA. The AEP Legislative Committee has begun reviewing the many proposals and will be providing input to the Legislature.

On March 5 and 6, the AEP Legislative Committee will be holding its annual Capitol Day where committee members come to Sacramento to meet with key Legislators and staff to introduce them to AEP, highlight certain priority bills, and provide a presentation on pertinent CEQA issues.

CEQA & Housing Production Survey

Be sure to check out the report summarizing the AEP CEQA and Housing survey that was conducted during Summer and Fall of 2018!

AEP commissioned this study to answer the following questions:

  1. How does CEQA review affect overall housing production for both market-rate and affordable units in California?
  2. Are available streamlining/exemption methods being used?
  3. How does CEQA review affect the timing of housing project approvals?
  4. How could CEQA be further refined to increase both market-rate and affordable housing production?