Legislative Updates Effective January 1, 2024

by on January 21, 2024

posted in Legislative Updates,


All bills take effect January 1, 2024, unless otherwise noted.  

Brown Act: AB 557 revises the Brown Act (Govt. Code Section 54953) to remove the requirement (and corresponding references to that requirement) that there be a state declaration of an emergency to allow an all-zoom meeting.  Instead, local agencies may continue to use teleconferencing during a proclaimed local state of emergency. 

Public Agency Internet websites:  AB 1637 adds Govt. Code Section 50034 which provides that no later than January 1, 2029, all public agencies must identify their internet website as .gov or ca.gov.  All email addresses also must have the same designation by that time.  

Council member Salaries: SB 329 revises Govt. Code Section 36516 to allow general law cities to adjust council member salaries for inflation and sets out such salaries based upon population. The revisions include the ability to further increase salaries by no more than 5% and the procedure to adopt an ordinance increasing salaries, which must be considered in open session at two council meetings.  

Mitigation Fee Act: AB 516 amends the Mitigation Fee Act (Govt. Code Sections 66006, 66008 and 66023) by requiring that local agencies provide annual reports of development fees, including details on public improvement projects, delays and refunds.  The local agency also must inform the person paying the fee of the ability to request an audit and provide notice of a public meeting to consider mitigation fees; as well as provide a link to fee information on the local agency website.  Except for water and sewer capacity fees, the audit process must include when the revenue from the fee will be expended and when the public improvement will be completed.  

LAFCO changes of organization: AB 1753 amends Govt. Code Section 56658 regarding LAFCO to provide that the Executive Officer cannot issue a certificate of filing for a change of organization unless an agreement for the exchange of property tax revenue has been adopted by both entities. 

City and District Redistricting: AB 764 extensively revises and adds to redistricting criteria to provide the same criteria for review of voting districts in both cities and special districts.  Changes include increased public hearing requirements, a public education outreach plan, and a dedicated internet website with comment summaries and draft maps. The Secretary of State must develop a mapping tool and templates for websites. The revised law also would allow redistricting if the number of City Council members changes. 

Public Works Contracts: Prior Contractor’s Conflict of Interest: AB 334 adds Govt. Code Section 1097.6 which provides that when an independent contractor did not engage in or advise on the making on an upcoming contract, that independent contractor is not an officer subject to the prohibition of being financially interested in that upcoming public works contract; therefore, the City can enter into a contract with that contractor for a later phase of the same project.  A person who acts in good faith in reliance of such provisions does not violate conflict of interest prohibitions. To use this exemption, specific language must be included within the initial contract with the independent contractor:  

Contractor/consultant’s duties and services under this agreement shall not include preparing or assisting the public entity with any portion of the public entity’s preparation of a request for proposals, request for qualifications, or any other solicitation regarding a subsequent or additional contract with the public entity. The public entity entering this agreement shall at all times retain responsibility for public contracting, including with respect to any subsequent phase of this project. Contractor/consultant’s participation in the planning, discussions, or drawing of project plans or specifications shall be limited to conceptual, preliminary, or initial plans or specifications. Contractor/consultant shall cooperate with the public entity to ensure that all bidders for a subsequent contract on any subsequent phase of this project have access to the same information, including all conceptual, preliminary, or initial plans or specifications prepared by contractor pursuant to this agreement.” 

Water Rate Setting: AB 755 adds Chapter 3.8 to the Water Code (Water Code Sections 380 et seq.) to provide that a public entity must include a water usage demand analysis as part of the cost-of-service analysis conducted to revise fees and charges.  That water usage demand analysis must identify the highest users and annual volume of water delivered to those users as part of the cost-of-service analysis. 

Notice to Business License Applicants regarding Single Gender Restroom Identification: AB 783 adds Business & Professions Code Section 16000.2 to require that a City that issues business licenses must provide written notice to each applicant for a business license (or its renewal) of the requirement that all single-user toilet facilities in any business or place of public accommodation be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.  No sample language is provided so a copy of the revised code section could be provided. The requirement also applies to public agencies themselves. 

Emergency Information in a Language other than English: AB 1638 adds Govt. Code Section 7299.7 which requires that, commencing January 1, 2025, all cities provide information related to an emergency in English and in all other languages spoken by 5% or more of the population that speaks English “less than well.”  An emergency is the normal definition of an emergency: a “situation that calls for immediate action to respond to the threat of serious harm or mass casualties, including conditions of natural disaster or conditions posing extreme peril to the safety of persons and property in the territorial limits of the local agency.” 

The City must use data from the American Community Survey and/or other reliable sources to determine if more than 5% of its population speak English less than “very well” and speak a language other than English fluently.  Emergency information then must be provided in that other language.  There could be more than one other language. The information provided in the other language(s) must be the same quality as that provided to English-speakers.  Cities must use community members with “cultural competencies and language skills” to communicate with those who speak English less than “very well.”   
The population must be reviewed every five years to confirm emergency service information is properly provided.  Starting in 2027, the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) will survey cities for compliance with this new law. 

City Emergency Plan: AB 781 adds Govt. Code Section 8583.10 to provide that the City’s emergency plan must be updated to include plans for warming and cooling centers that will accommodate pets.  

Mandatory Batch Broadband Service Approvals: AB 965 adds Govt. Code Section 65964.3, inaccurately called the Broadband Permit Efficiency and Local Government Staff Solution Best Practices Act of 2023. It applies to both charter cities and special districts. The bill requires that broadband permit applications must be undertaken in a batch when the public agency receives 2 or more permit applications for similar sites submitted at the same time by the same applicant.  Broadband is broadly defined to include towers and small cells; this essentially is a small cell deployment bill.   

Although the law provides that the public agency may determine the number of sites, that actually is not the case. For jurisdictions with fewer than 50,000 people, the maximum number of approvals in a batch is 25; for a population over 50,000, the maximum number of sites is 50 in a batch.  

A local agency, only, may remove a broadband project site from grouping under a single permit by mutual agreement with the applicant or to expedite the approval of other substantially similar broadband project sites. 

Batches are deemed approved if the public agency does not approve or reject the application and notify the provider within a reasonable time. The reasonable time is determined by the public agency but is subject to federal Shot Clock provisions.  The applicant must be notified of the reasons for denial of a permit.  

Although the legislation indicates that the local agency may impose a fee, that statement is not completely correct. A local agency may impose a fee on batch broadband permitting processing consistent with Section 50030. In other words, the fee will be reduced because sites are grouped together for processing.  

Where limited resources affect a local agency’s ability to process applications for a broadband project, including batched applications, a local agency shall work with the applicant in good faith to resolve those resource limitations, which may include, but is not limited to, provision by the applicant of supplemental resources 

The legislation states it does not replace safety or other public agency standards. Please let us know if you would like additional information. 

Disability Access Information to Business License Applicant: SB 748 adds Govt. Code 4469, which provides that a city must provide a business license applicant (for an initial permit or renewal) with an additional and specific statement (set out below) of the applicant’s legal obligations under state and federal disability access laws and information on obtaining a Certified Access Specialist inspection: 

Current law requires a city to provide to an applicant for the issuance or renewal of a business license with following information regarding its legal obligation to comply with disability access laws:  

Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies: 

The Division of the State Architect at www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Home.aspx. 

The Department of Rehabilitation at www.rehab.cahwnet.gov. 

The California Commission on Disability Access at www.ccda.ca.gov.” 

This bill now also requires the additional following statement which is at least 81/2 inches by 11 inches in size, the heading and first paragraph of which shall be written in a 28-point font, and the second of which shall be written in an 18-point font. The language below shows content, not font size:   


ATTENTION: You may be subject to liability for failure to meet your legal obligation to comply with state and federal disability access laws. The recent issuance or renewal of a business license or equivalent instrument or permit, does not mean that your business has been determined to be in compliance with state and federal disability access laws. 


The State of California wants to ensure that all people have equal access to public and private services. Many people with disabilities do not have equal access to services because many business owners do not take the time to ensure that their businesses are accessible. Some common problems disabled people encounter are: 

(1) The building has architectural barriers that make it difficult or impossible for someone using a wheelchair, walker, or other mobility device to get inside or move around. 

(2) The business uses a website that does not work with screen reading devices and other assistive technology. 

(3) The business does not allow people with disabilities to enter the building with their service animals. 

(4) The staff do not receive ADA training and do not know about the requirements to modify practices or to provide auxiliary aids and services. 

As the operator of a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that your business provides equal access to people with disabilities. Refusing to make your business accessible is discrimination under state and federal law. People with disabilities and the government have the right to sue businesses that discriminate. 

The best way to protect yourself from a lawsuit is to make your business accessible. Here are some important steps you should take: 

(1) Schedule an inspection with a Certified Access Specialist. A Certified Access Specialist (CASp) is a person who the State of California recognizes as having specialized knowledge of accessibility standards. They can inspect your business and tell you what changes you need to make for your business to be accessible to disabled people. Getting a CASp inspection has important benefits, like giving you extra protection in a lawsuit. 

To find a CASp in your area, contact the CASp Program at the Division of the State Architect. You can also visit www.apps2.dgs.ca.gov/DSA/casp/casp_certified_list.aspx. Additionally, you should contact your local government and ask what resources it has to help businesses comply with disability access laws. The State of California makes money available to local governments to create programs that help business owners comply with disability access laws. 

(2) Learn about accessibility laws from reliable sources. There is a lot of misinformation about accessibility laws. Get information about your rights and responsibilities as a business owner from reliable, trustworthy sources. California has several agencies that provide fact sheets, training, and other educational materials about accessibility. In fact, one of these agencies, the California Commission on Disability Access, was created by the Legislature for the purpose of helping businesses comply with accessibility laws. You should contact the following agencies and ask for information on how to comply with accessibility laws: 

The California Commission on Disability Access: www.ccda.ca.gov. 

The Division of the State Architect: www.dgs.ca.gov. 

The Department of Rehabilitation: www.dor.ca.gov. 

(3) Making your business accessible is good for everyone. It makes your business available to more customers. It also promotes fair and equal access. We thank you for doing your part to help make California a great place for everyone!” 

Notice to Housing Developers – Special Districts only: AB 281 adds Govt. Code Section 65913.3.1 which requires a special district to provide written notice to developers submitting housing development applications.  The notice must include the steps in the review process for the application and/or list any additional information required to begin the review for the application or permit.  The notice must be provided within 30 business days of receipt of an application for 26 units or fewer, and 60 business days for a development of 26 units or more.  


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