Capitol Update– January 4, 2024
By Chris Wysocki

Legislature Returns to Deficits, Deadlines, New Bills, and New Committee Chairs

On Wednesday, the Legislature returned from its recess, and much has happened since lawmakers left Sacramento in September.

State Auditor Releases Audit of Mobilehome Residency Law Protection Program (MRLPP)

On December 19 last year, the State Auditor released its audit of the MRLPP administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and the findings were significant. The State Auditor found that the program was not well run and lacked accountability. The Auditor provided numerous recommendations to HCD’s management of the program and suggested a suspension of the $10 per space annual fee through 2027.

After WMA’s request to suspend the $10 per space annual fee fell on deaf ears in 2023, we requested a thorough audit of the MRLPP, which was approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in a 13-0 vote.

Since the release of the Audit, WMA has begun discussions with Assemblymembers and Senators to introduce legislation required to implement many of the Auditor’s recommendations.  Once language is drafted, one or more pieces of legislation will be introduced to make HCD more accountable for its administration of the MRLPP, and either reduce or eliminate the annual fee that caused a nearly $9 million surplus in HCD’s budget. To view the Audit, please click here.

$68 Billion State Budget Deficit Projected

On December 7 last year, the Legislative Analyst’s Office issued its fiscal outlook for the 2024-25 state budget, and the report projected that California faces a 3-year deficit of $68 billion. This is the largest state budget deficit in the history of California, and it will present significant challenges for Governor Newsom and lawmakers to maintain current spending on programs in virtually every agency and department.

The Governor must submit his proposed budget to the State Legislature by January 10, and there will likely be numerous accounting techniques such as internal borrowing from the state and overstating projected revenues in future budgets. 

However, it will be difficult to avoid making cuts to dozens of programs passed and authorized in prior years, when the state saw record surpluses. The pressure of the state budget will weigh heavily on the Legislature when considering bills with a significant fiscal impact.

Legislative Deadlines Quickly Approaching

While the Legislature just returned from its recess, committees are under strict deadlines to take action on bills introduced in 2023 but that had not been acted on. January 19 is the deadline for committees to pass bills introduced last year to the full Senate and full Assembly for consideration. 

WMA’s sponsored legislation (Assembly Bill 661, authored by Assemblymember Joe Patterson) which would allow for electronic notification of utility disruptions to residents instead of having to provide paper notices to each resident – will be heard on January 10 at 9:00 am by the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. 

We are also waiting to learn whether the Assembly Judiciary Committee will take up Assembly Bill 919, (authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra) providing resident groups a right of first refusal to purchase a mobilehome park.

Requests to have Legislative Counsel draft legislation for consideration in 2024 must be submitted by January 19, and actual language must be introduced in either the Senate or Assembly by February 16 to be eligible for consideration this year. WMA is currently working on several pieces of proposed legislation, and more updates will follow about the status of some of the ideas submitted by WMA members for consideration.

New Members on the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee

In late December of last year, the newly elected Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon made significant changes to several committees in the Assembly.  Of primary concern to WMA is the Housing and Community Development Committee, and several changes occurred:

  • The new Chair of the Housing Committee is Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) and replaces Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), who has been removed from the Committee and is the new Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.
  • Other members removed from the Committee include Assemblymember Juan Carrillo (D-Palmdale) and Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles).
  • New Committee members include Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose), and Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Fairfield).
  • Returning members to the Committee include Assemblymember Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin), who will continue as Vice Chair; Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton); Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Colton); and Assemblymember Kate Sanchez (R-Rancho Santa Margarita).

The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee deals with the vast majority of legislative measures of concern to WMA, and the new membership provides both challenges and opportunities for the manufactured housing industry.

Park Tours a Big Success

Over the recess, WMA and many parkowners hosted legislators and candidates running for the Legislature on over a dozen park tours that allowed current and prospective lawmakers to learn about the realities of what it takes to own and operate a mobilehome park.  These tours provide policymakers a perspective on the laws being considered that too often hinder a park’s ability to operate.  These tours also allow for personal relationships to develop between parkowners and their state elected officials. 

Our goal with these tours is to foster these relationships so that when bills arise affecting the manufactured housing community industry, legislators will be inclined to call parkowners in addition to  WMA’s legislative staff.

2024 Elections Move to Front Burner

In addition to the state budget deficit, the upcoming 2024 election will materially impact the way many legislators vote on key pieces of legislation.  With 33 open seats representing over 25 percent of the Legislature, many legislators not running for re-election are opting to run for other elected offices - like City Council, County Board of Supervisors, or United States Congress.  Especially among those running for other offices, votes will be cast with an eye on how their stances on bills are perceived by voters in their sought-after positions.

In addition to the open seats, many districts currently held by incumbents will see competitive races, and incumbents may be more likely to consider how their votes will be interpreted by the 2024 electorate. That is why WMA is working to not only educate lawmakers about the policy impacts of legislative proposals, but also to educate them about the political ramifications of their votes on issues important to our industry.

2024 Shaping Up to Be a Very Busy Year

As we go through the coming months and year ahead, please be on the lookout for requests from WMA to engage in the legislative process through our VoterVoice platform.  We will attempt to give you as much notice as possible to weigh in with your individual legislators on issues important to our industry, but please remember that these personal communications are crucial in a year when legislators tend to focus more on how their constituents feel about their voting record.

We try to be judicious in how many times we call on our members to engage, but please understand that we do so because we believe your participation will have a material impact on an individual legislator’s vote on a bill up for consideration.

Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving WMA, and with your help, I’m optimistic that 2024 will be a year where we can defeat the worst of the bills, and even get some positive changes to state law passed and signed into law.  If you have any questions, please email me at or feel free to call me directly at 916.288.4026.

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