Intergovernmental Affairs


The City of Palo Alto engages in state and federal legislative activities pursuant to our Council-approved Advocacy Process Manual and Legislative Guidelines. Additionally, City staff:

  • Tracks multiple bills that may impact or are of interest to the City
  • Directs legislative representatives in Sacramento and Washington D.C. who advocate on the City’s behalf
  • Collaborates with external partners whose interests align with our own
  • Supports the engagement of our local elected officials with state and federal policymakers

For items related to the FAA and airplane noise, please visit our separate FAA web portal

2020 items with City action

Note that while City staff and our advocates track numerous bills and issues and engage with policymakers often, the items noted below are only those with formal written City action.

Please check back for 2020 letters to state and federal policymakers.

2019 action items

State items

FASTER Bay Area. A potential Bay Area November 2020 ballot measure, FASTER is a proposal to increase the sales tax by one cent to raise more than $100 billion over 40 years for transportation-related projects. On December 30, 2019, the City submitted a letter to Senator Hill and Assemblyman Marc Berman regarding the proposal.

Grade separations. To help fund the future Environmental Impact Report required for any Caltrain grade separation projects, the City requested State monies and asked Senator Hill and Assembly Member Berman for their support. Please view this March letter requesting support for more information. The City's request was not included in the final state budget.

Housing. The Mayor sent a letter on August 6, 2019 to Senate President Toni Atkins, Senator Jerry Hill, Assemblyman Marc Berman, and the entire Bay Area Caucus to provide information on the City's efforts to help increase the housing supply.

AB 533 (Holden):  Income taxes: exclusion: water conservation or efficiency programs. The City supported an earlier version of the bill; view our letter of support for AB 533.

SB 5 (Beall/McGuire/Portantino): Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program.  The City submitted a letter of support in June.

SB 38 (Hill): Flavored tobacco products, the City supported this bill and SB 39 (Hill): Tobacco products. Please view our January letter supporting both SB 38 and 39.

SB 50 (Weiner): Planning and zoning: housing development: incentives. The City opposed the latest 2019 version of the bill unless amended, as explained in our April letter noting our opposition and our recent affordable housing actions.

SB 424 (Jackson):Tobacco products: single-use and multiuse components. The City submitted a letter of support for SB 424 in April.

Regional items

CASA (MTC's Committee to House the Bay Area) Compact: Letter to the Association of Bay Area Governments in January

Stanford's General Use Permit Development Agreement: Letter to the County's Planning and Development Director in February

Federal items

Small cell wireless infrastructure issue and H.R. 530 (Eshoo) the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019

S.2012 (Feinstein), the Restoring Local Control Over Public Infrastructure Act, a small cell companion bill to H.R. 530 introduced in June 2019.

2018 action items

State items

AB 3014 (Quirk)Brake friction materials: copper limits: high performance road and track capable vehicle exemption.  City's May 21 opposition letter


SB 998 (Dodd)Discontinuation of residential water service: urban and community water systems. City's June 18 opposition letter; City's August veto letter


SB 212 (Jackson): Solid waste: pharmaceutical and sharps waste stewardship. City's June 21 support letter      

SB 328 (Portantino): Pupil attendance: start time.  City's August 28 letter of concern    


SB 881 (Wieckowski)  Flood control: County of Santa Clara: South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project. City's March 23 support letter; City's September signature request letter


SB 827 (Wiener): Planning and zoning: transit-rich housing bonus. City's February 13 opposition letter 


AB 2308 (Stone): Single use filter cigarettes.  City's March 6 support letter 


 AB 2809 (Patterson): California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program: hydroelectric generation facilities. City's March 22 support letter 

Regional items

CASA compact: Letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in December


    Federal items

"Small Cell" wireless infrastructure issue: Letter to the FCC regarding proposed rules related to infrastructure on city poles

Net neutrality: Letter to U.S. Senate leaders urging a vote to repeal the FCC's December 2017 action on net neutrality