Dems hold climate change bill hostage until affordable housing is addressed

While conversations over climate change have dominated recent debate at the Capitol, California lawmakers are accelerating bills to address the state’s housing affordability crisis, and may vote on a series of measures before they break for summer recess next Friday.

The move comes after progressive Democrats in the Assembly balked at approving an extension to cap and trade, the state’s landmark program to fight climate change, without also addressing housing problems.

Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) announced a cap-and-trade deal Monday that would strengthen the state’s air quality rules and extend through 2030 the program that forces businesses to pay to pollute.

The three had hoped for a vote late Thursday to comply with a new rule approved by voters requiring legislation to be publicly available for 72 hours before final action is taken.

De León and Rendon said in a joint statement Wednesday that moving the vote to Monday will avoid a late-night floor debate and “will also allow our discussion on long-term housing affordability solutions in California to catch up to the climate effort.”

For two years, Brown and lawmakers have discussed increasing funding for low-income housing and reducing local government barriers to development, but have yet to reach any major decisions. Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown, called the current housing discussions “productive.”

The governor has been pushing lawmakers to approve a cap-and-trade extension this year, and wants a two-thirds supermajority vote in the Legislature to insulate the decision from potential legal challenges. But some legislators have been reticent to embrace the plan, with many wanting to address the state’s housing problems first.

Source: LA Times

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