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California Winces As Housing Bill Fails For The Third Time

State Sen. and SB 50 author Scott Wiener speaks alongside Assemblyman David Chiu at an event last year.

Sweeping legislation to boost housing in California failed in the state's legislature for the third year in a row on Thursday.

SB 50, which would upzone development and transit- and job-rich areas around California, fell short of the 21-vote mark it needed from California's 40-member Senate on Thursday.

California lawmakers decided following Wednesday's vote to allow another one on Thursday, giving state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-11th District) and the bill's other advocates a chance to bring votes to their side on the last day SB 50 is eligible to pass. But efforts fell short once again on Thursday, with sponsors unable to reach the 21-vote threshold.

SB 50 has faced hurdles before, including being suspended last year by the Appropriations Committee, and having a previous version, SB 827, die in a committee hearing

Generally, SB 50 would relax height limits and density restrictions, while also preventing cities from rejecting certain apartment projects close to train stations and ferry terminals.

Its latest version also includes attempts by Wiener to address many of the concerns raised by critics of SB 827, including concerns about minimal affordable housing and gentrification.

The latest iteration of the bill is a concession to local governments, giving them two years to develop alternate building plans before SB 50 would take effect.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Senate rejected SB-50,” said Wiener. “California’s housing status quo is badly broken. Today’s vote perpetuates that dysfunction. While I’m disappointed, I also know that the fight continues. We will not give up until we have put California on a positive and sustainable path to a better housing future.”

Related Topics: Scott Wiener, SB 50