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California's Changing Approach to Housing Policy

August 1, 2019 Articles
The Daily Journal

Hardly a day goes by without news headlines reminding us that California is in the midst of a severe housing crisis. As with any crisis situation, questions abound. How did we get here? How do we solve this problem? Does a solution even exist? If nothing else, it is clear we simply cannot continue to do what we have always done. Business as usual has not been up to the task. This moment requires an "all the above" response that includes not only specific, targeted changes in the law, but also about how decisions over land use should be made.

In this context of urgency, the start to the 2019-2020 state legislative session saw the introduction of an unprecedented volume and variety of housing bills – around 200 in all. Out of this burst of legislative activity, one clear trend has emerged: the State Legislature is showing unmistakable signs of re-negotiating its traditional deference to local communities' control over land use decision-making.

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