2014 Legislative Updates

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Aimee Inglis

Despite the challenging climate for pro-tenant legislation at the state level, Tenants Together members and allies worked hard to push our issues forward. Beginning with our Renters' Day of Action in February, 500 tenants marched on the Capitol to demand Ellis Act reform, restoration of the Renters' Rebate, and passage of SB 391 the Homes & Jobs Act.

Our bill for Ellis Act reform, SB 1439 (Leno), made it off the floor of the State Senate, going further than any bill for Ellis reform in over a decade. We assembled a broad coalition of support, with tenant groups, unions, tech companies, local politicians, and grassroots activists working together to stop unfair Ellis Act evictions. Unfortunately the bill failed in an Assembly committee where two Democrats joined Republicans in killing our efforts for reform. Senator Leno has stated that he is committed to changing the Ellis Act to stop its use by real-estate speculators.

Following our Renters' Day of Action, Tenants Together co-sponsored legislation to restore the Renters' Rebate. The bill was held up in the Assembly Appropriations committee due to objections to the high price tag. TT will continue to fight for restoration of these essential funds.

Our last demand for the legislative session this year, passing SB 391 the Homes & Jobs Act to secure dedicated funding for affordable homes in California, also failed to pass into law. However, according to our allies at Housing California who co-sponsored the bill, limited funds were secured through the Cap-and-Trade program for affordable housing near transit hubs. Still California does not have money specifically set aside to build more affordable housing, so this fight continues.

Things don't change overnight in Sacramento. Despite our legislative losses this session, we made headway in organizing tenants in large numbers to show up in the Capitol for the first time in decades. Legislators were forced to take a stand on tenant issues and consider our arguments. If we continue to organize, tenants can become a voice to be reckoned with in the Capitol. You can help us build power by becoming a member today.

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