Assembly bill could put brakes on slow-growth ballot measures

Bill would raise threshold from simple majority to two-thirds vote for initiatives like Measure S

February 17, 2017 05:00 PM
California homes, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (Getty/Twitter)

Decades of ballot measures in Los Angeles and across the state have sought to curb development. The so-called “ballot box planning” attempts have inspired a state lawmaker to introduce a bill targeting slow-growth ballot measures.

Democratic Assembly member Miguel Santiago introduced Assembly Bill 943 on Thursday that would increase the threshold from a simple majority vote to a two-thirds majority for passing any local ballot measures blocking or delaying development, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Santiago, whose district includes Downtown L.A., said suppressing the construction of housing doesn’t address the state’s housing crisis.

“I think even my 3-year-old can understand that,” he told the L.A. Times.

The bill’s timing comes as voters prepare to pick a side on Measure S. The initiative would impose a two-year moratorium on real estate projects requiring special planning approvals, essentially slowing development in L.A.

If Santiago’s bill passes, however, it would be implemented next year and would not impact the results of Measure S.

California law states cities and counties can increase taxes to fund day-to-day operating budgets by a majority vote but tax increases toward a specific purpose such as spending on low-income housing requires two-thirds majority.

Santiago said the same threshold should be placed on slow-growth measures that give too much power to opponents of development. [LAT] — Subrina Hudson

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