The most controversial housing bill in the state was unexpectedly put on life support last week. Senate Bill 50, which would have prohibited many cities from banning mid-rise apartments around public transit, failed to advance out of a key state Senate committee, to the shock of its supporters.
The bill’s shelving raises difficult questions for Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has pledged to build 3.5 million new units of housing by 2025 to help ease the state’s soaring rents and home prices. While Newsom never explicitly supported the bill, his bid to pass a comprehensive housing package that made it easier and cheaper for developers to build may have a lost a signature component. Newsom has also called on lawmakers to send him a suite of tenant protection bills, which face an uphill political climb.
“I’m not optimistic that the tenant bills are going to make it through unless we also have bills like SB 50,” said Brian Hanlon, executive director of California YIMBY, which sponsored SB 50. “I think it is going to be incumbent upon Senate and Assembly leadership and the governor in order to make sure that by the end of this legislative year that the governor has on his desk a range of bills to meaningfully address these issues.”
On this emergency episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CALmatters’ Matt Levin and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon discuss why the bill failed, and what it means for other housing legislation going forward this year.