PROPOSED LOS ANGELES COUNTY PARCEL TAX

On Tuesday July 5th, The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted  to put a measure on the November ballot that would levy a one-and-a-half cent per square foot parcel tax on properties countywide to fund parks development and maintenance.

If approved by voters, the parcel tax is estimated to raise roughly $95 million annually. The annual tax bill for a 1,500-square-foot house would be $22.50.

The board’s vote was 3-1. Supervisor Don Knabe voted against the measure because a sunset clause that would end the tax in 35 years was eliminated. Supervisor Michael Antonovich was absent for the vote.

The Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, Rivers and Water Conservation Measure would replace funding under Proposition A, first passed more than 20 years ago. The last of that Proposition A funding is set to expire in 2019.

Supporters noted that the measure seeks to raise $10 million more than the original Proposition A.

In 2014, the board tried to replace Proposition A funding with Measure P, which fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage, with 62.8 percent in favor.

The new measure has a greater needs-based component, though 50 percent of dollars raised will go back to the communities where they were raised.

Advocates said parks are about more than play, citing studies that green space can boost health and help keep neighborhoods safe.

The parks assessment found that about 51 percent of county residents do not live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations opposed the measure.

A representative for the Motion Picture Association of America warned that the tax could impact future production decisions, saying it would amount to a five-fold increase over what its members currently pay.

Priorities for spending the money — should the measure pass — have been set based on meetings with residents from 188 study areas aimed at identifying each community’s top 10 parks projects. Thirty-five percent of funds will be tagged to pay for those projects.

Another 15 percent will be used to fund parks maintenance in the communities where taxes were levied. Thirteen percent will go to high-needs communities.

Another 13 percent will be used for environmentally-oriented projects, including beach and waterway clean-up; with 13 percent more for regional trail and accessibility projects that connect urban areas to nature.

The balance will go to related job training for youth and veterans and to administrative costs.

Should the  measure pass, the county will only have a fraction of the money needed to complete the $8.8 billion in priority projects identified by the area study groups and another $12 billion in deferred maintenance.

A two-thirds majority of November voters is required for passage.

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The Top 17 November Ballot Measures

 

17 ballot measures set to go before voters Nov. 8 will number 51 through 67. The Secretary of State has announced the numbering of the ballot on Friday July 1, 2016.

Given the financial wherewithal of some of the groups and people involved, voters can expect to become very familiar with various proposition numbers in the coming months.

Here is how the numbers line up:

▪ 51: Authorizes $9 billion school construction bond

Authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds: $3 billion for new construction and $3 billion for modernization of K-12 public school facilities; $1 billion for charter schools and vocational education facilities; and $2 billion for California Community Colleges facilities. Bars amendment to existing authority to levy developer fees to fund school facilities, until new construction bond proceeds are spent or December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier. Bars amendment to existing State Allocation Board process for allocating school construction funding, as to these bonds. Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State General Fund costs of $17.6 billion to pay off principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on bonds over a period of 35 years. Annual payments would average $500 million. Annual payments would be relatively low in the initial and final few years and somewhat higher in the intervening years.

▪ 52: Locks in a quality assurance fee on hospitals

Increases required vote to two-thirds for the Legislature to amend a certain existing law that imposes fees on hospitals (for purpose of obtaining federal Medi-Cal matching funds) and that directs those fees and federal matching funds to hospital-provided Medi-Cal health care services, to uncompensated care provided by hospitals to uninsured patients, and to children’s health coverage. Eliminates law’s ending date. Declares that law’s fee proceeds shall not be considered revenues for purposes of applying state spending limit or determining required education funding. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State savings from increased revenues that offset state costs for children’s health coverage of around $500 million beginning in 2016-17 (half-year savings) to over $1 billion annually by 2019-20, likely growing between 5 percent to 10 percent annually thereafter. Increased revenues to support state and local public hospitals of around $90 million beginning in 2016-17 (half-year) to $250 million annually by 2019-20, likely growing between 5 percent to 10 percent annually thereafter.

▪ 53: Requires public vote on revenue bonds of more than $2 billion

Requires statewide voter approval before any revenue bonds can be issued or sold by the state for projects that are financed, owned, operated, or managed by the state or any joint agency created by or including the state, if the bond amount exceeds $2 billion. Prohibits dividing projects into multiple separate projects to avoid statewide voter approval requirement. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The fiscal effect on state and local governments is unknown and would vary by project. It would depend on (1) the outcome of projects brought before voters, (2) the extent to which the state relied on alternative approaches to the projects or alternative financing methods for affected projects, and (3) whether those methods have higher or lower costs than revenue bonds.(15-0003.

▪ 54: Prohibits votes on bills not in print for three days

Prohibits Legislature from passing any bill unless it has been in print and published on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the vote, except in cases of public emergency. Requires the Legislature to make audiovisual recordings of all its proceedings, except closed session proceedings, and post them on the Internet. Authorizes any person to record legislative proceedings by audio or video means, except closed session proceedings. Allows recordings of legislative proceedings to be used for any legitimate purpose, without payment of any fee to the State. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased costs to state government of potentially $1 million to $2 million initially and about $1 million annually for making additional legislative proceedings available in audiovisual form on the Internet.

▪ 55: Extends a temporary income tax increase on wealthy filers

Extends by twelve years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings over $250,000 (for single filers; over $500,000 for joint filers; over $340,000 for heads of household). Allocates these tax revenues 89% to K-12 schools and 11% to California Community Colleges. Allocates up to $2 billion per year in certain years for healthcare programs. Bars use of education revenues for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how revenues are to be spent. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues annually from 2019 through 2030—likely in the $5 billion to $11 billion range initially—with amounts varying based on stock market and economic trends. Increased revenues would be allocated under constitutional formulas to schools and community colleges, budget reserves and debt payments, and health programs, with remaining funds available for these or other state purposes

▪ 56: Increases the state tax on cigarettes by $2 to $2.87

Increases cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack, with equivalent increase on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. Allocates revenues primarily to increase funding for existing healthcare programs; also for tobacco use prevention/control programs, tobacco-related disease research and law enforcement, University of California physician training, dental disease prevention programs, and administration. Excludes these revenues from Proposition 98 funding requirements. If tax causes decreased tobacco consumption, transfers tax revenues to offset decreases to existing tobacco-funded programs and sales tax revenues. Requires biennial audit. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net increase in excise tax revenues in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion annually by 2017-18, with revenues decreasing slightly in subsequent years. The majority of funds would be used for payments to health care providers. The remaining funds would be used for a variety of specified purposes, including tobacco-related prevention and cessation programs, law enforcement programs, medical research on tobacco-related diseases, and early childhood development programs

▪ 57: Changes parole rules for some nonviolent offenders

Allows parole consideration for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies upon completion of full prison term for primary offense, as defined. Authorizes Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to award sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, or educational achievements. Requires Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to adopt regulations to implement new parole and sentence credit provisions and certify they enhance public safety. Provides juvenile court judges shall make determination, upon prosecutor motion, whether juveniles age 14 and older should be prosecuted and sentenced as adults. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net state savings that could range from the tens of millions of dollars to the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually primarily due to a reduction in the prison population from additional paroles granted and credits earned. Net county costs that could range from the millions to tens of millions of dollars annually, declining to a few million dollars after initial implementation of the measure.

▪ 58: Restores some bilingual education programs

(1) Existing law, as added by Proposition 227, a measure approved by the voters at the June 2, 1998, statewide primary election requires; among other things, that all children in California public schools be taught English by being taught in English. Proposition 227 specifies that English learner pupils, as defined, be educated through sheltered English immersion, as defined, during a temporary transition period not normally intended to exceed one year. Proposition 227 further, provides that its requirements relating to sheltered English immersion instruction may be waived with the prior written consent of a pupil’s parent or legal guardian as specified. Proposition 227 also encourages family members and others to provide personal English language tutoring to English learner pupils.

This bill would amend and repeal various provisions of Proposition 227. The bill would, among other things, delete the sheltered English immersion requirement and waiver provisions, and would instead provide that school districts and county offices of education shall, at a minimum, provide English learners with a structured English immersion program, as specified. The bill would authorize parents or legal guardians of pupils enrolled in the school to choose a language acquisition program that best suits their child, as provided.

(2) Existing law requires, on or before July 1, 2014, the governing board of each school district and each county board of education to adopt a local control and accountability plan and requires the governing board of each school district, and each county board of education to update its plan on or before July 1 of each year. As part of the process for developing the local control and accountability plan, existing law requires the superintendent of the school district or the county superintendent of schools to both present the plan or annual update to the plan to a parent advisory committee and an English learner parent advisory committee for review and comment, and to respond, in writing, to comments received from the committees. Existing law also requires the superintendent of the school district and the county superintendent of schools to notify members of the public of the opportunity to submit written comments regarding the specific actions and expenditures proposed to be included in the local control and accountability plan or annual update to the plan.

This bill would, as part of the parent and community engagement process required for the development of local control and accountability plan, require school districts and county offices of education to solicit input on, and provide to pupils, effective and appropriate instructional methods, including, but not limited to, establishing language acquisition programs, as defined.

(3) Proposition 227 also specifies that a pupil’s parent or legal guardian has standing to sue for enforcement of its provisions and, if successful, to receive normal and customary attorney’s fees and actual damages, but not punitive or consequential damages. Proposition 227 further provides that school board members, other elected officials, and public school teachers or administrators who willfully and repeatedly refuse to implement its provisions may be held personally liable for fees and actual damages by a pupil’s parent or legal guardian.

This bill would delete those provisions.

(4) Proposition 227 provides that its provisions may be amended by a statute to further its purpose passed by a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

This bill would delete the requirement that the amendment further the purpose Of Proposition 227, and would revise the vote threshold to a majority vote in each house of the Legislature.

(5) This bill would make these provisions operative on July 1, 2017.

(6) The California Constitution authorizes the Legislature to amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective when approved by the electors.

This bill would provide that it would become effective only upon approval of the voters, and would require the Secretary of State to submit this measure to the voters for approval at the November 2016 statewide general election.[8]

▪ 59: Questions voters on “Citizens United” ruling (Advisory only)

Shall California’s elected officials use all of their constitutional authority, including, but not limited to, proposing and ratifying one or more amendments to the United States Constitution, to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 558 U.S. 310, and other applicable judicial precedents, to allow the full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another, and to make clear that corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as human beings?[4]

▪ 60: Requires condoms for adult film actors

Requires performers in adult films to use condoms during filming of sexual intercourse. Requires producers of adult films to pay for performer vaccinations, testing, and medical examinations related to sexually transmitted infections. Requires producers to obtain state health license at beginning of filming and to post condom requirement at film sites. Imposes liability on producers for violations, on certain distributors, on performers if they have a financial interest in the violating film, and on talent agents who knowingly refer performers to noncomplying producers. Permits state, performers, or any state resident to enforce violations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially reduced state and local tax revenue of millions or tens of millions of dollars per year. Likely state costs of a few million dollars annually to administer the law. Possible ongoing net costs or savings for state and local health and human services programs. (

▪ 61: Imposes price controls on state drug purchases

Prohibits state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Applies to any program where the state is the ultimate payer for a drug, even if the state does not purchase the drug directly. Exempts certain purchases of prescription drugs funded through Medi-Cal. Fiscal impact: It is the opinion of the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance that the measure, if adopted, may result in a substantial net change in state or local finances

▪ 62: Replaces the death penalty with life in prison

Repeals death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death. States that persons found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without possibility of parole must work while in prison as prescribed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Increases to 60% the portion of wages earned by persons sentenced to life without the possibility of parole that may be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduction in state and local government costs of potentially around $150 million annually within a few years due to the elimination of the death penalty.

▪ 63: Imposes new gun-control restrictions

Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and requires their disposal by sale to dealer, destruction, or removal from state. Requires most individuals to pass background check and obtain Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition. Requires most ammunition sales be made through licensed ammunition vendors and reported to Department of Justice. Requires lost or stolen firearms and ammunition be reported to law enforcement. Prohibits persons convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms. Establishes new procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by felons and violent criminals. Requires Department of Justice to provide information about prohibited persons to federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually related to regulating ammunition sales, likely offset by various regulatory fees authorized by the measure. Increase in court and law enforcement costs, not likely to exceed the tens of millions of dollars annually, related to removing firearms from prohibited persons as part of court sentencing proceedings. These costs could be offset to some extent by fees authorized by the measure. Potential increase in state and local correctional costs, not likely to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, related to new and increased penalties.

▪ 64: Legalizes recreational use of marijuana

Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana. Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors. Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment.

▪ 65: Redirects revenue arising from state ban on plastic bags (see Proposition 67)

Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through sale of carry-out bags, whenever any state law bans free distribution of a particular kind of carry-out bag and mandates the sale of any other kind of carry-out bag. Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board to support specified categories of environmental projects. Provides for Board to develop regulations implementing law. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: If voters uphold the state’s current carryout bag law, redirected revenues from retailers to the state, potentially in the several tens of millions of dollars annually. Revenues would be used for grants for certain environmental and natural resources purposes. If voters reject the state’s current carryout bag law, likely minor fiscal effects

▪ 66: Speeds up the death penalty process

Changes procedures governing state court appeals and petitions challenging death penalty convictions and sentences. Designates superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions. Imposes time limits on state court death penalty review. Requires appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals. Exempts prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods. Authorizes death row inmate transfers among California state prisons. States death row inmates must work and pay victim restitution. States other voter approved measures related to death penalty are null and void if this measure receives more affirmative votes. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs that could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually for several years related to direct appeals and habeas corpus proceedings, with the fiscal impact on such costs being unknown in the longer run. Potential state correctional savings that could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

▪ 67: Referendum to uphold or repeal a law restricting single-use carryout bags

If signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed with the Secretary of State, this petition will place on the statewide ballot a challenge to a state law previously approved by the Legislature and the Governor. The challenged law must then be approved by a majority of voters at the next statewide election to go into effect. The law prohibits grocery and certain other retail stores from providing single-use bags but permits sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags

State law sets the ballot order based on the type of measure as well as when signature checkers finished sampling millions of signatures turned in by supporters. The fall election will feature the most measures since March 2000, when voters saw 20. Lawmakers could add still more after they return from summer recess Aug. 1.

For complete information please visit the Secretary of State website:  http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures/

It should be noted that these ballot measures do not include a number of local measures which will also be on the ballot.

NAR Goes After Patent Trolls Targeting REALTORS®

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The NAR has filed a petition with the U.S. Patent Office challenging patent infringement claims by companies that demand payment from real estate companies for “old and widely available” technology.

The action was taken to protect real estate professionals who are allegedly being victimized by “patent trolls,” according to the NAR. One company singled out is Data Distribution Technologies (DDT), which has sent letters to real estate companies demanding payment for infringing on its patent. But DDT is considered a “patent troll,” NAR reports, because its “business” is buying over-broad patents and sending “license letters” to users of the products.

“With this action, we’re telling the company and other patent trolls that our industry won’t tolerate these kinds of tactics against innocent real estate professionals who use well-known, ordinary technologies and business methods,” said NAR Associate General Counsel Ralph Holmen. “We intend to help protect members from being forced into cost-of-litigation settlements based on over-broad, invalid patents.”

NAR filed what is known as an Inter Partes Review (IPR) petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  While the IPR is pending, most courts will stay any related litigation under the same patent. A win for NAR will make it difficult for the company to proceed against other real estate companies with similar over-broad patent claims.

“We’re sending a message to this company, and more broadly to any company that relies on over-broad, invalid patents coupled with illegitimate ‘troll’ patent litigation tactics to make money, that the real estate industry is prepared to fight back,” Holmen said.

The Patent Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board is expected to respond to the Petition in about four months.

CAR Request: Help Stop Rent Control Bill

Chris Holden AssemblymanRED ALERT – Call to Action

C.A.R. is OPPOSING AB 2502 (Mullin), a bill that would weaken the rent control limitations contained in the landmark “Costa-Hawkins” law sponsored by C.A.R. in 1995. C.A.R. opposes AB 2502, which undermines existing Costa-Hawkins’ protections by allowing local governments to impose mandatory inclusionary zoning (i.e. rent control) on newly constructed rental housing, without any consideration for the economic viability of the project.

  • You can help by using the information below and calling your representative at:
    (800) 798-6593, and enter the PIN number for your legislator. Representing Citrus Valley are:
    Assemblymember Chris Holden, Pin 5844# (Pictured above)
    Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, Pin 5270#.

    (Enter your PIN number followed by the # sign) Urge the Assemblymembers to oppose AB 2502AB 2502 effectively repeals part of the C.A.R. sponsored Costa-Hawkins legislation that says new construction in a rent control jurisdiction is exempt, or NOT subject to rent control. It is vitally important that you reach out to your elected representative today!
  • Background: Under existing law (Costa-Hawkins), new construction of rental units is not subject to local rent control ordinances. AB 2502 seeks to use “inclusionary zoning” to undo that provision in Costa-Hawkins. “Inclusionary Zoning” ordinances allow local government to require builders to set aside (include) a percentage of units at below-market rent levels. In the appellate case Palmer v. The City of Los Angeles, the court held that the City of Los Angeles could not use inclusionary zoning to evade Costa-Hawkins. AB 2502 essentially undoes that court decision, and would effectively repeal the new construction exemption of Costa-Hawkins.Talking Points
    • AB 2502 would exacerbate the housing affordability crisis in California. The Governor has proposed a far better solution in the May Revision of the state budget.  C.A.R. supports the Governor’s proposal to streamline the local government approval process for housing developments that have 5 – 20% of the newly constructed units set aside for low or very low-income residents. Unlike AB 2502, this proposal incentivizes developers to build new affordable housing units.
    • AB 2502 discourages the creation of new rental housing. The bill would make it a virtual certainty that local jurisdictions with rent control ordinances would expand their ordinances to include new construction, discouraging the development of rental housing, at a time when it is most needed.
    • AB 2502 dramatically weakens Costa-Hawkins. Costa-Hawkins was passed by the Legislature in 1995, at a time, like today, when new rental housing was desperately needed. The new construction exemption in Costa-Hawkins was specifically designed to encourage the building of new rental units.
    • AB 2502 seeks to disguise the expansion of rent control as “inclusionary zoning.” This bill gives local government the power to adopt a “my-way-or-the-highway” policy for the new rental housing construction. If the builder doesn’t agree to the demands of local government and set aside the required number of units, the builder CANNOT build the housing.
    • Rental housing is desperately needed. At a time when rental housing is scarce, it makes no sense to discourage the building of new rental units!
    • Inclusionary zoning makes every unit in a development much more expensive because the cost of the units must be increased to accommodate the below market rate units.  

For More Information, please contact Rian Barrett at rianb@car.org.