The California Assembly passed a controversial package of housing bills at the eleventh hour Thursday night — a day before the legislative session is slated to end.
Legislators approved Senate Bill 2 — the most controversial of the bunch — thanks to an unexpected Republican vote, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Arguments over the bill, which will charge a $75-$225 fee on most real estate transactions — and would raise an expected $250 million a year from those charges — had been holding up more than a dozen other housing bills in the Legislature. Opponents of SB-2 claim it will only add more barriers to development.
Proposed by Sen. Toni Atkins, SB-2 required two-thirds support from Assembly members before it could make it to the governor’s desk.
The hour-long roll call was an unexpected turn of events. The sole Republican Assembly member, Brian Maienschien, threw his support behind the bill, while Democratic Assembly member Sabrina Cervantes voted nay.
Two other Democratic assembly members, Marc Levine and Adrin Nazarian, initially held out, but thanks to lobbying efforts, ultimately voted in favor. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon denied allegations that Levine and Nazarian received any side deals for their supportive vote.
Five other housing bills passed the Assembly Friday, including Senate Bill 3 and Senate Bill 35.
The measures still have to pass the Senate Friday to make it to the Governor Jerry Brown, who has already indicated he will support it. Legislators say the hardest obstacle has already been overcome. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman