CEQA Roundup: Reform wins unanimously in Senate, what to watch for next

Justin Ewers : caeconomy.org – excerpt

After months of debate, the state Senate demonstrated overwhelming, bipartisan support for CEQA reform this week, passing—unanimously—Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s bill to streamline the CEQA process for infill development.

“[This bill] has received a lot of attention over the months,” Steinberg said from the Senate floor. “It seeks to find that elusive middle ground between those who believe the statute is irrevocably broken and must be fundamentally changed and those who say ‘Don’t touch it, there’s nothing wrong.'”

The lopsided 39-0 vote followed a parliamentary move by Senate Republicans, who pulled the bill from the consent file—where it would have been bundled together with other non-controversial legislation—so they could speak in praise of it.

“Both the President pro Tem and myself had competing bills a couple weeks ago,” said Republican Sen. Tom Berryhill. “But I rise in support of this bill…I think everybody would agree it’s not sweeping reform. But it’s the nature of this body that we incrementally move things forward, and this bill does that.”

Steinberg acknowledged that his much-discussed legislation, which now moves to the Assembly, still faces its challenges. “This is a work in progress as the combative stakeholders…seek to find common ground,” he said.

Still, there’s no doubt the vote dramatically improved the prospects of a complicated bill Steinberg himself has jokingly referred to as the How to Make No Friends Act. “We go into the Assembly with a lot of momentum,” Steinberg said.

Three things to look for next.. (more)

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