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Councilwoman Cori Schumacher disclosed she is working for State Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), pictured above, as a field representative in Vista. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram
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State legislative bills keep Carlsbad City Council busy

CARLSBAD — The California State Legislature has introduced more than 2,700 bills this session.

And as time has expired to submit new legislation, the clock to get those on the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom has begun.

As such, the city of Carlsbad is also continuing its lobbying efforts with numerous bills targeting building height limits, transit, public safety, mental health and others.

The council unanimously approved its lobbying firm, California Strategies, to return April 16 analyzing more than a dozen bills.

Also, Councilwoman Cori Schumacher disclosed she is working for State Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) as a field representative in Vista helping residents navigate through state bureaucracy such as the DMV.

Schumacher said other than the Assembly Bill 467, the Gender Equity in Sport bill, also known as “Equal Pay for Equal Play” bill, she does not write legislation for or with Horvath.

Each council member does have several bills they are keen on, especially when it relates to housing.

“You’re different from Marin County and Folsom,” said John Benton of California Strategies in regard to some of the housing bills. “Aligning with your surrounding cities and having that discussion is probably an important one. Also, engaging with the administration about what is unique to Carlsbad.”

Benton and Monique Ramos of California Strategies presented the council with a rash of happenings at the state level including the transition from former Gov. Jerry Brown to Newsom.

With Newsom, Benton said there are three main themes, which include budget resiliency, affordability and opportunity and justice and dignity.

One issue the city has kept its eye on closely is Senate Bill 1, also known as the Gas Tax. An amendment to the bill would redirect some of those funds for transportation to housing.

Ramos said there are several bills focusing on reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, including amendments to AB 1197 and AB 1515.

For the council, some of the bills they requested Benton and Ramos to return with more analysis on include AB 136, AB 847, AB 1031, SB 4, SB 5, SB 6 and SB 50, to name a few.

Additionally, Mayor Matt Hall asked Carlsbad Police Chief Neill Gallucci to identify several public safety bills to pass to Benton and Ramos.

The council had a robust discussion around housing and its potential implications on the city.

An amended version of SB 50, which was introduced by Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), would require more dense housing with few to no restrictions on height limits near transit.

“We need to be proactive this legislative cycle,” Schumacher said.

Mayor Matt Hall said the mayors of the five cities along the state Route 78 corridor banded together years ago to focus on jobs and housing, to keep those businesses and residents from moving elsewhere.

And more housing, Hall said, requires infrastructure, which is something Sacramento is unlikely to pay for. He said developers cite high fees regarding projects, but cities need roads, water, sewage and other necessities.

“We need to be respectful not only from a safety standpoint but a quality of life standpoint,” Hall said. “There has to be some mechanism for that to happen.”