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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Californian lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday that caps rent increases at 5% after inflation and expands protections to some 8 million tenants, according to the bill's author, Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco).

Why it matters: Per the New York Times, this is the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address a nationwide affordable-housing crunch. California in particular has been struggling with chronic housing and homeless crises, AP notes.

  • The rent bill won the support of the California Business Roundtable, representing leading employers, and was unopposed by the state’s biggest landlords’ group — an indication of how dire housing problems have become, the NYT notes.

The big picture: Per Reuters, California is the third state to impose statewide rent controls; Oregon enacted a measure in March to limit annual increases to 7% plus inflation and New York passed rent controls in June.

  • Trump administration officials visited sprawling homeless encampments in Los Angeles just days ago, AP reports.
  • The bill will go to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to sign into law. Newsom has made tenant protection a priority in his first year in office, the Times notes. He said in a statement after the bill passed 25-10 that the action was "the strongest package in America."
"These anti-gouging and eviction protections will help families afford to keep a roof over their heads, and they will provide California with important new tools to combat our state’s broader housing and affordability crisis."

The other side: Politico reports that the California Association of Realtors fought the bill because the group said it would hurt construction — a sentiment echoed by Republicans who rose in opposition, including Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).

"We all know California has an unacceptable housing and unaffordability crisis. Unfortunately, this bill will only pour fuel on the fire."
— Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.