California Affordable Housing Bills Clear Assembly, Take Aim at State's Homelessness Crisis

Saul Bowman
September 17, 2017

The state's Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, is expected to sign off on the bill, which he and the senator negotiated over at great length regarding certain amendments.

Also passed on Thursday was SB 3, which will put a $4 billion affordable housing bond on the ballot next year, and SB 2, which adds a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents not related to house sales and which garnered the closest vote in the assembly.

Senate Bill 54 will place limitations on how state and local law enforcement officials can communicate and coordinate with federal immigration authorities.

Earlier, the bill also would have prevented local and state law enforcement from relaying information to federal immigration officers unless it was about a person convicted of a violent or serious crime.

Multiple cities have sought to defy President Trump's immigration enforcement policies, which require that state and local communities allow federal immigration access to detention facilities and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities.

The agreement came on the same day the state sued the Trump administration over its decision to end a program that shields young immigrants from deportation.

California's immigration laws are considered among the friendliest in the country and the state is often referred to as a "sanctuary state". They've also approved money for legal assistance and college scholarships for people living illegally in the USA, and made it harder for businesses and government agencies to disclose people's immigration status.

The original draft of SB 54 drew protest from many of California's law enforcement officials and some Democratic lawmakers, who anxious its severe restrictions on cooperation with ICE would allow unsafe criminal aliens to avoid detention. It was amended Monday to include a much longer list of exceptions than originally proposed as well as changes that would allow federal agents to interview inmates in jails.

A pair of bills seeking to ban smoking at California's parks and beaches are heading to Gov. De Leon's compromise with Brown made the bill palatable for California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and moved the California Police Chiefs Association from opposed to neutral, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, a former criminal prosecutor, said from "first-hand experience" that fear of deportation among immigrants actually makes cities less safe.

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