SACRAMENTO — Nine of ten of YIMBY Action’s priority California housing bills have passed the Legislature and are on their way to Governor Newsom’s desk for final sign-off or to the ballot for voter approval. YIMBY Action applauds the Legislature’s commitment to addressing California’s housing affordability crisis. The successes of the 2023 legislative session demonstrate the increasing influence of the YIMBY movement on California housing policy.
SB 423 (Wiener), AB 1449 (Alvarez) and SB 4 (Wiener) will help to significantly expand the amount of affordable housing in California by opening up new land for building and making it easier to get these projects approved. Legislation like AB 1633 (Ting) will address the misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to block new housing under the guise of environmental concerns.
YIMBY Action members proudly supported these bills throughout the entire legislative session by lobbying members of the Senate and Assembly. Activists sent over 1,376 letters of support, made phone calls, and educated their communities.
“This has been a banner year for housing in California,” said Laura Foote, Executive Director of YIMBY Action. “The Legislature’s commitment to addressing our housing affordability crisis is profoundly different from just ten years ago. More and more lawmakers are joining the YIMBY movement and saying yes to housing. We’re going to see the impacts of these critical bills for decades to come.”
YIMBY Action’s priority legislation includes:
- SB 423 (Wiener): SB 35 Extension – More Affordable Housing. In the five years since it was passed, SB 35 has proved to be one of the state’s primary mechanisms for building affordable housing. This bill has helped approve at least 18,000 affordable homes by making it easier to approve projects in cities that are struggling to keep up with demand. SB 423 would expand and extend SB 35, ensuring that California increases its production of affordable housing.
- SB 4 (Wiener): Yes in God’s Back Yard. Some prime real estate is owned by religious organizations with deep experience in charity. Longtime YIMBY partner Senator Scott Wiener’s bill would allow affordable homes to be built on this underutilized, surplus land. Under SB 4, religious organizations and nonprofit colleges would be able to pursue affordable housing development on their properties, regardless of local zoning restrictions. This bill also guarantees that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) cannot be used to derail these projects.
- AB 1633 (Ting): A Fix for Bad-faith CEQA-related Delays. Many jurisdictions use CEQA to delay housing projects indefinitely by requesting unnecessary environmental reviews even when a project has submitted sufficient environmental study. AB 1633 is a straightforward solution that will end local governments’ abuse of CEQA by creating a 90-day time period for cities after which they can be challenged for a bad-faith delay of a housing project related to CEQA.
- AB 1449 (Alvarez): Faster Affordable Housing Approvals. Dense, affordable housing is crucial to California's climate and fair housing objectives. This bill takes bold steps to achieve these goals by providing a CEQA exemption for 100% affordable housing projects that meet environmental and labor standards. By doing so, this legislation promotes the production of affordable housing across the state, helping to meet the critical housing needs of Californians.
Additional YIMBY Action priority bills:
- AB 309 (Lee): Social Housing
- AB 894 (Friedman): Shared Parking
- ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry): Money for Housing & Public Infrastructure
- AB 821 (Grayson): Consistency in Local Zoning Ordinances
- AB 1287 (Alvarez): Moderate Income Density Bonus