The City of Palo Alto engages in state and federal legislative and regulatory activities pursuant to our Council-approved Legislative Program Manual and Legislative Priorities. 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
2019 items with City action
While City staff and our advocate track numerous bills and issues and engages with policy makers, the items noted below are those with formal written City action.
For items related to the FAA and airplane noise, please visit our separate FAA web portal.
With housing such a significant regional and legislative issue, 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. Provides an exclusion from gross income for any amount received as a rebate, voucher, or other financial incentive issued by a local water agency or supplier for any water conservation, water efficiency program, or water runoff management improvement program. The City supported an earlier version of the bill; view our letter of support for AB 533.
April 2019 update: This bill was amended to become about turf removal and water conservation. The City's support letter was for an earlier version regarding water rebates.
SB 5 (Beall/McGuire/Portantino): Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program. Provides immediate ongoing, sustainable funding for the construction of affordable housing. Provides ongoing, sustainable funding for the construction of affordable housing by allowing local governments to collaborate on state-approved community development plans, funded by a reduction in contributions to local Education Revenue Augmentation Funds. The City supports this measure, which protects school funding and allows for funds to be spent on protection from sea level rise, wildfires, and flooding. Please view our June letter of support for SB 5.
SB 38 (Hill): Flavored tobacco products. Prohibits the retail sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in stores and vending machines as a way to stop the alarming increase in youth nicotine consumption. The City supports this bill.
May 2019 update: Senator Hill will not move the bill forward.
SB 39 (Hill): Tobacco products. Imposes stricter age verification requirements for tobacco products sold online. The City supports this bill as noted in our January letter supporting both SB 38 and 39.
SB 50 (Weiner): Planning and zoning: housing development: incentives. Requires upzoning in certain areas, including near mass transit. Overrides local decision-making, particularly related to parking, housing density, and height. The City opposes the bill unless amended, as more fully explained in our April letter noting our opposition and our recent affordable housing actions.
May 2019 update: SB 50 is a two year bill and as such, will again move forward in the legislature in 2020.
SB 424 (Jackson): Tobacco products: single-use and multiuse components. To prevent litter and pollution from cigarette filters, this bill prohibits a person or entity from selling, giving, or in any way furnishing to a person of any age any single-use filters, plastic devices, electronic cigarettes, and vaporizer devices. The City submitted a letter of support for SB 424 in April.
Grade separations: To help fund the future Environmental Impact Report required for any Caltrain grade separation projects, the City will request State monies and asked Senator Hill and Assembly Member Berman for their support. Please view this March letter requesting support for more information.
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
Small cell wireless infrastructure issue and H.R. 530 (Eshoo) the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019
- Letter to Congresswoman Eshoo supporting H.R. 530 in February
- Letter from Palo Alto Mayor Filseth and over 75 other Mayors and County Executives in February
- Letter from Palo Alto, over 120 local governments, and more than 125 public utilities in support of H.R. 530 in March
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
CASA compact: Letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in December
"Small Cell" wireless infrastructure issue: Letter to the FCC regarding proposed rules related to infrastructure on city poles
AB 2809 (Patterson): California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program: hydroelectric generation facilities. City's March 22 support letter