Three bills sponsored by the Conference of California Bar Associations – AB 1738 by Assemblymember Ed Chau, AB 2104 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, and AB 2309 by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown – were signed into law by Governor Brown during the past three days. The actions bring to eight the number of CCBA-sponsored or supported bills signed into law so far this year.
AB 1738 would specifically permit homeowners in a common interest development to bring someone to assist them in an Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) negotiation with representatives of the homeowners’ association (HOA). The bill responds to abuses of the process by some HOAs, which have prohibited homeowners from bringing their attorney or other helper to an IDR session – while at the same time bringing several board members well-versed in association law, and even the association’s attorney.
The bill is based on Resolution 02-03-2012 by CCBA delegate Daryl Miller out of the Orange County Bar Association delegation. It was supported by homeowners’ organizations and seniors groups, and opposed by organizations and law firms representing HOAs, which mounted a major – but ultimately unsuccessful – effort to obtain a gubernatorial veto.
AB 2104 reinforces and strengthens the law preventing common interest development homeowner associations (HOAs) from penalizing homeowners for replacing water-hungry lawns with aesthetic, drought-tolerant landscaping. The bill is based on CCBA Resolution LF-02-2013 by Contra Costa County Bar Association delegate Steve Steinberg. It was supported by numerous environmental, real estate, business and consumer organizations.
As Assemblymember Gonzalez noted in her press release on the bill’s signing: “Brown is beautiful, and around the state HOAs are penalizing good-intentioned homeowners who replace their lush, water-intensive lawns with attractive, well-designed landscaping centered around drought-resistant plants. Allowing homeowners the freedom to use conservation-friendly landscaping is one important ingredient in reaching our goal of protecting our economy by saving water.”
AB 2309 would make persons convicted of misdemeanor/infraction possession of benzodiazepine drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, eligible to participate in deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) programs, the same as individuals convicted of felonies involving far more serious drugs, such as the possession of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The bill was based on Resolution 03-03-2011 by Monterey County Bar Association delegate Don Landis, and received support across the board from groups as diverse as the California District Attorneys Association, California Public Defenders Association, California Narcotics Officers Association, and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem across the nation,” said Assemblymember Brown in a press release. “In California, we have a large population of offenders who have been incarcerated for prescription drug related offenses. In 2000, when voters passed Prop 36, drug diversion programs were not available for prescription drug users. By amending the law to include simple possession of specific benzodiazepines, we can help alleviate some of the backlogs in the courts and provide relief in our overcrowded prison system.”