Axios San Francisco
February 27, 2023
It's Monday, y'all. Hop to it!
- Today’s weather: Showers and breezy. High of 51 and low of 44.
Situational awareness: After snow blanketed our hills last week, another storm is expected today, likely bringing a quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain to nearby lowland areas. Snow levels will be around 3,000 feet of elevation.
Today's newsletter is 961 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Issues to watch at the state Capitol
State lawmakers rushed to propose hundreds of new bills ahead of a key legislative deadline earlier this month.
- When the dust settled, senators and assemblymembers submitted 2,632 bills to be considered this year — the most in the past decade.
Why it matters: Legislation that state lawmakers discuss in Sacramento can eventually become laws that directly impact our day-to-day lives on issues like housing, health care and workers' rights.
By the numbers: Of the 2,000 bills proposed last year, CalMatters reports that 1,200 passed and nearly 1,000 became law with approval from Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Be smart: More bills are usually proposed in odd-numbered years — like 2023 — since they're the first year of California's two-year legislative sessions, CalMatters notes.
- Senators and assemblymembers are also limited to introducing 40 bills per two-year session.
What we're watching: Here's some legislation proposed by San Francisco's state lawmakers that stood out to us.
S.B. 4: Sen. Scott Wiener wants to allow the building of affordable housing on land owned by religious institutions or nonprofit colleges, regardless of local zoning laws.
- Referred to as YIGBY, or "Yes in God's Backyard," the aim of the measure is to help turn excess land, like oversized church parking lots, into spaces that can help California reach its ambitious housing goals.
A.B. 1114: Assemblymember Matt Haney proposes eliminating building-permit appeals after a project has been fully approved by a planning department.
- Notably, the change would apply only to San Francisco since it's the only city in California that allows for such a process to occur.
- "We're literally the only city in the state that allows anyone to stand up and object and stop a project even after it has received all its approvals. It's insane," Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle.
S.B. 58: Wiener wants to decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), in an effort to treat conditions like depression, anxiety and PTSD.
- The statewide decriminalization push follows successful local efforts in San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz.
S.B. 253: In what Wiener's office says would be a "first-in-the-nation measure," S.B. 253 would require all large corporations doing business in California to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions.
- This bill — focused on companies doing over $1 million in annual revenue — passed the Senate last year but came up one vote short in the Assembly.
A.B. 881: Assemblymember Phil Ting wants to raise the daily pay for low- to moderate-income jurors from $15 to $100 to increase the racial and economic diversity of juries in criminal cases.
- "No person should be dissuaded from serving on a jury just because of financial hardship," Ting told the Chronicle.
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2. How to follow the action at the Legislature
With so many bills having been filed this session, it can be a lot to track all of them. We're here to help.
Be smart: Bills can start in either the Assembly or the Senate.
- To become law, bills must pass both the Assembly and the Senate. If either chamber makes a change, the amended bill must go back to the chamber of origin for reapproval.
- The bill then heads to the governor's desk, who can sign the bill into law, veto it or allow it to become law without signing it.
- Of note: The Assembly and Senate can override a governor's veto with a two-thirds vote in each house.
How to participate: Each bill has its own page on the Legislature's website, showing its current status, text and summary documents and where it is in the legislative process.
- You can search by bill number or keyword.
- If you want to comment on a particular bill — say, housing bill A.B. 1114 — scroll down to "Comments to Author."
- You'll need to create an account first, but then you can leave a comment to the state legislator who wrote the bill. In this case, that's Assemblymember Matt Haney.
You can also email your lawmaker directly. You can find out who they are and how to contact them using this tool.
- And here's where you can see what's on the docket in the Assembly and the Senate.
- Live programming information for the Senate and the Assembly is available online.
Lastly, the Chronicle has this handy tool to help you track some of the most pressing bills.
3. The Wiggle: Navigating the news
🚆 BART plans to more than double the number of police on foot patrol in March in an effort to address surveys that revealed safety is one of the top concerns among riders. (Mercury News)
🌆 Office landlord Columbia Property Trust has defaulted on $1.7 billion in loans on seven buildings, two of which are in downtown San Francisco. (SF Chronicle)
💉 Some Bay Area health officials are concerned that just 38% of eligible residents have received the bivalent COVID-19 booster shot. Health experts are urging residents, especially those without insurance, to get the booster while it's still available for free. (Mission Local)
4. "London N. Breed" tulips in bloom
Thousands of pink and white tulips are in full bloom in Golden Gate Park, according to San Francisco's parks department.
State of play: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands gifted the city 5,000 tulip bulbs, named after Mayor London Breed, when she visited San Francisco in September.
- Of note: It was the first trip by a member of any royal family to San Francisco in 17 years.
- The "London N. Breed tulips" were inspired by the dresses Queen Máxima and Breed wore during their meeting. The queen wore pink, while Breed wore white.
- The bulbs are located in the Queen Wilhelmina Garden, below the Dutch Windmill, in Golden Gate Park.
What they're saying: The tulips are "a symbol of the enduring friendship between the Netherlands and San Francisco," Dirk Janssen, consul general of the Netherlands, said in a written statement.
🏀 Megan is glad the Dubs got another win last night.
🚗 Nick is still thinking about his first driverless car ride the other night. It's probably something he'll remember forever.