This week, the Assembly is voting on bills that must pass by January 31 as a deadline and pass the Senate or they are dead for the year. Some of these bills deserve to be dead for good.
Assembly Bill 854 is one such bill. It aims to force landlords who are in the rental housing business to stay in that business for at least five years, no matter how much money they lose, before the state of California allows them to go out of business.
It is the latest attempt by activists and allied lawmakers to ax the Ellis Act, a state law passed in the mid-1980s. The law was the legislature’s response to a decision by justice that a California landlord who wanted to get out of the rental housing business could be forced by the local government to continue renting their units to tenants because the housing was badly needed.
When housing is in dire need, the solution is not to force people to lose money to get it. The solution, in a free country, is to reconsider all the costly, inefficient and counterproductive government mandates and restrictions that make the rental housing industry unprofitable.
AB 854 would prohibit buyers of rent-controlled apartment buildings from filing an Ellis Act notice of intent to remove units – otherwise known as evicting tenants – until they have owned the building for at least five years. This means that current owners of rent-controlled buildings would have a harder time selling them. The law is an effort to force owners to stay in a loss-making business.
If this bill is signed into law, mark the calendar for five years from now for a wave of affordable housing evictions to sweep the state like a tsunami. AB 854 is not a solution. It’s a disaster.
Another terrible bill that will soon be put to a vote is Assembly Bill 257, authored by late Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who left the Legislature to lead the California Federation of Labor. . AB 257 is a union wish list to help organize workers in the fast food industry.
AB 257 would establish the “Fast Food Industry Council” within the State Department of Industrial Relations. The eleven-member council, appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, would set “industry minimum standards” for wages, hours and working conditions at fast-food chains.
The board would have the power to subpoena acquiring information for regular reviews of the “adequacy” of minimum standards in the fast food industry, and the bill would require standards set by the board to be enforced by the Labor Standards Application Division. Allegations of violations could be made by an employee or their representative, and franchisors and franchisees could be held liable for violations.
Restaurants in California are already operating under strict health regulations, workplace safety regulations, minimum wage laws, labor laws, COVID pandemic orders, and all the tax laws and regulatory requirements that are dragging California down. of so many lists of the worst places to do business. Naming fast-food restaurants for an “industry-wide” regulatory crackdown is just another damaging blow to an industry currently plagued by inflation and labor shortages.
These bills should be defeated.