AB686

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AB-686 is a California legislative bill introduced February 15, 2017, titled "Housing discrimination: affirmatively further fair housing." It aims to enact for California a version of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rules which had been issued by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, but suspended in enforcement under President Trump. 

See California housing legislation 2018 for all housing bills.

Twitter search for #AB686 (to track discussion). 

Introduced by Assembly Member Santiago
Principal coauthor: Senator Wiener
Coauthors:

  • Assembly Member Gloria
  • Assembly Member Chiu
  • Assembly Member Cristina Garcia
  • Senator Hertzberg
     

Summary (Legislative Counsel's digest):

AB 686, as amended, Santiago. Housing discrimination: affirmatively further fair housing.

Existing federal law, the federal Fair Housing Act, requires, among other things, certain federal executive departments and agencies to administer their programs relating to housing and urban development in a manner affirmatively to further the purposes of the federal act. Existing federal law requires specified state and local agencies that contract with, or receive funding from, specified federal agencies to certify that they will affirmatively further fair housing by completing an assessment of fair housing and submitting that assessment to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Existing law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, generally prohibits housing discrimination with respect to the personal characteristics of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, or genetic information. Existing law also prohibits the discrimination through public or private land use practices, decisions, and authorizations because of one of those personal characteristics. Existing law establishes the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, with the powers and duties to, among other things, receive, investigate, and conciliate complaints relating to housing discrimination. Existing law requires the Director of Fair Employment and Housing to investigate verified complaints that allege a violation of the act, subject to certain procedures and requirements, and requires the director, if attempts at mediation or other forms of dispute resolution do not eliminate a violation of the act, to file a civil action on behalf of the aggrieved person, as provided.

This bill would require a public agency to administer its programs and activities relating to housing and community development in a manner to affirmatively further fair housing, and to not take any action that is inconsistent with this obligation. The bill would make it unlawful under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act for a public agency to fail to meet its obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, and would provide that failure would constitute housing discrimination under the act. The bill would authorize the Director of Fair Employment and Housing to exercise discretion to investigate, or to bring a civil action, based on a verified complaint that alleges a violation of these provisions.

The Planning and Zoning Law requires each city, county, and city and county to prepare and adopt a general plan that contains certain mandatory elements, including a housing element that is required to contain specified information and analysis, including a program setting forth a schedule of actions during the planning period that the local government is undertaking or intends to undertake to implement the policies and achieve the goals and objectives of the housing element, as provided.

Existing law requires certain transportation planning activities on the part of designated regional transportation planning agencies, including development of a regional transportation plan. Certain of these agencies are designated under federal law as metropolitan planning organizations. Existing law requires metropolitan planning organizations to adopt a sustainable communities strategy or alternative planning strategy, subject to specified requirements, as part of a regional transportation plan.

The bill would require a public agency that completes or revises an assessment of fair housing pursuant to specified provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act and its implementing regulations to submit a copy of that assessment or revised assessment to the department. The bill would require the department to post any assessment received pursuant to these provisions on its Internet Web site within a reasonable period of time. This bill would require a public agency that is required to adopt a housing element or a sustainable communities strategy to include in that element or strategy an analysis of barriers that restrict access to opportunity and a commitment to specific meaningful actions to affirmatively further fair housing. The bill would authorize a public agency of that nature that also is required to complete or revise an assessment of fair housing pursuant to the federal act, as described above, to include relevant portions of that assessment or revised assessment in its housing element or sustainable communities strategy, as applicable. The bill would also require that the above-described program for achieving the goals and objectives of the housing element affirmatively further fair housing pursuant to provisions added by this bill.

The bill would define the term “public agency” for these purposes to mean any state or local agency, regional transportation agency, or council of governments. By imposing additional duties upon a local government, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that with regard to certain mandates no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

 

References