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ACA-22 Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act: housing projects: injunctions: exemptions.(2019-2020)



Current Version: 02/20/20 - Introduced         Compare Versions information image


ACA22:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Constitutional Amendment
No. 22


Introduced by Assembly Member Melendez

February 20, 2020


A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by adding Article XXXVI, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACA 22, as introduced, Melendez. Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act: housing projects: injunctions: exemptions.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA establishes a procedure by which a person may seek judicial review of the decision of the lead agency made pursuant to CEQA. CEQA requires a court, if it finds that any determination, finding, or decision of a public agency has been made without compliance with CEQA, to enter an order that, among other things, suspends any or all specific project activity that could result in an adverse change or alteration to the physical environment, until the public agency has taken actions that may be necessary to bring the determination, finding, or decision into compliance with CEQA.
This measure would prohibit a court, in granting relief in an action or proceeding brought under CEQA, from enjoining a housing project, as defined, unless the court finds that the continuation of the housing project presents an imminent threat to public health and safety or that the housing project site contains unforeseen important Native American artifacts or important historical, archaeological, or ecological values that would be materially, permanently, and adversely affected by the continuation of the housing project. The measure would, except as provided, prohibit the Legislature from enacting legislation to exempt projects from the requirements of CEQA unless the projects are housing projects, projects for the development of roadway infrastructure, or projects to address an emergency circumstance for which the Governor has declared a state of emergency.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019–20 Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

 That Article XXXVI is added thereto, to read:

Article  XXXVI Environmental Quality

SECTION 1.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “CEQA” means the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code).
(b) “Housing project” means a project for the development of residential units. Housing project includes a mixed-use development project, in which a portion of the project involves residential development.

SEC 2.
 (a) In granting relief in an action or proceeding brought under CEQA, the court shall not enjoin a housing project unless the court finds either of the following:
(1) The continuation of the housing project presents an imminent threat to the public health and safety.
(2) The housing project site contains unforeseen important Native American artifacts or unforeseen important historical, archaeological, or ecological values that would be materially, permanently, and adversely affected by the continuation of the housing project unless the court stays or enjoins the housing project.
(b) If the court finds that either paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a) is satisfied, the court shall only enjoin those specific activities associated with the housing project that present an imminent threat to public health and safety or that materially, permanently, and adversely affect unforeseen important Native American artifacts or unforeseen important historical, archaeological, or ecological values.

SEC 3.
 (a) Notwithstanding any provision of this Constitution and except as provided in subdivision (b), the Legislature shall not enact legislation to exempt a project from the requirements of CEQA unless the project is any of the following:
(1) A housing project.
(2) A project for the development of infrastructure for roadways, as defined in Section 530 of the Vehicle Code.
(3) A project that addresses an emergency circumstance for which the Governor has declared a state of emergency pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
(b) This section does not abrogate, abridge, alter, or affect exemptions from CEQA in existence as of the effective date of this section.