BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  AB 441
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          Date of Hearing:  April 6, 2011

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
                                Cameron Smyth, Chair
                    AB 441 (Monning) - As Amended:  March 24, 2011
           
          SUBJECT  :   State planning.

           SUMMARY  :   Requires the Governor's Office of Planning and 
          Research (OPR) to develop guidelines that contain advice on how 
          local and regional agencies can incorporate health issues into 
          local or regional general plans and requires the California 
          Transportation Commission (CTC) to include health issues in 
          guidelines promulgated by CTC for the preparation of regional 
          transportation plans.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires the general plan guidelines to contain voluntary 
            guidelines for local and regional agencies to incorporate 
            health and health equity factors, strategies, goals, and 
            objectives.

          2)Requires OPR to develop guidelines, with the appropriate state 
            agencies and departments, for cities and counties to include 
            health and health equity factors, goals, strategies, and 
            objectives in local general, specific, or regional plans. 

          3)States that health and health equity factors, goals, 
            strategies, and objectives can be included as an optional 
            element of a general plan or can be integrated into one of the 
            mandatory elements. 

          4)Requires OPR to include a variety of equity factors, goals, 
            strategies, and objectives in the guidelines, including, but 
            not limited to, data, goals, strategies, and policies to 
            improve:

             a)   Community health status;

             b)   Opportunities for recreational and physical activities;

             c)   Availability of retail food establishments offering 
               fresh produce;

             d)   Health-promoting transportation systems;









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             e)   Social networks, capital, and civic participation; and,

             f)   Economic and community development

          5)Requires OPR, if requested, to provide technical assistance to 
            local and state agencies and departments on incorporating 
            health equity criteria into local general, specific, or 
            regional plans.

          6)Requires OPR to report to the Governor, Legislature, and any 
            relevant local and state agencies regarding the number of 
            general plans that include health equity criteria and to 
            provide best practices or models for incorporation into local 
            general, specific, or regional plans.


          7)Requires CTC, in consultation with the appropriate state 
            agencies and departments, to include, at the next revision, 
            health and health equity factors, strategies, goals, and 
            objectives in the regional transportation plan (RTP) 
            guidelines.

          8)Specifies that until the next revision of the RTP guidelines, 
            CTC shall include an appendix to the current guidelines to 
            highlight best practices, share resources and support the 
            adoption of health equity criteria in RTPs.

          9)Makes findings and declarations regarding the need to have 
            health in all policies. 

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires each planning agency to prepare and the legislative 
            body of each county and city adopt a comprehensive, long-term 
            general plan for the physical development of the county or 
            city, and of any land outside its boundaries which in the 
            planning agency's judgment bears relation to its planning.  

          2)Requires that the general plan consist of a statement of 
            development policies and shall include a diagram or diagrams 
            and text setting forth objectives, principles, standards, and 
            plan proposals.

          3)Requires OPR to develop and adopt guidelines for the 
            preparation of and content of mandatory elements of city and 








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            county general plans.


          4)Authorizes the CTC, in cooperation with the regional 
            transportation planning agencies, 

          to prescribe study areas for analysis and evaluation by such 
            agencies and guidelines for 
          the preparation of the RTPs.

          5)Requires CTC, in consultation with Caltrans and the State Air 
            Resources Board, to 
          maintain guidelines for travel demand models used in the 
            development of RTPs by 
          federally-designated metropolitan planning organizations.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 
            physical inactivity contributes to increased risk of many 
            chronic diseases and conditions, including obesity, 
            hypertension, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, colon cancer, 
            osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and coronary heart disease.  
            Despite the health benefits of physical activity, 74% of U.S. 
            adults do not get enough physical activity to meet public 
            health recommendations and about one in four U.S. adults 
            remains completely inactive during their leisure time. 

            The U.S. Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 
            2010 states that two-thirds of adults and nearly one in three 
            children are overweight or obese, and the prevalence of 
            obesity in the U.S. more than doubled (from 15% to 34%) among 
            adults and more than tripled (from 5% to 17%) among children 
            and adolescents from 1980 to 2008.  The U.S. Surgeon General 
            goes on to say that "neighborhoods and communities should 
            become actively involved in creating healthier environments.  
            Communities should consider the geographic availability of 
            their supermarkets, improving residents' access to outdoor 
            recreational facilities, limiting advertisements of less 
            healthy foods and beverages, building and enhancing 
            infrastructures to support more walking and bicycling, and 
            improving the safety of neighborhoods to facilitate outdoor 
            physical activity."








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            A healthy community provides opportunities for people of all 
            ages and abilities to engage in routine daily physical 
            activity in a safe environment, be it walking to a transit 
            stop or school, commuting by bicycle to work, or playing in a 
            neighborhood park.  Healthy communities are also supported by 
            food environments that ensure access to healthy foods, and 
            make healthy eating the more accessible and more appealing 
            option.  Cities, counties, and school districts play key roles 
            in the creation and support of healthy communities. 

          2)To some degree health has always been a factor in making land 
            use decisions.  Going back to the 1926 U.S. Supreme Court 
            decision in Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 
            U.S. 365 (1926), where the practice of zoning was upheld, the 
            justices said Euclid would promote "the health and safety of 
            the community" by protecting residential areas from the 
            "danger of fire, contagion and disorder, which attach ? to the 
            location of stores, shops or factories."  In the years that 
            followed, many other government policies promoted population 
            increases in suburbs designed using the new template, 
            separating the components of the city into isolated segments 
            for residential, shopping, office, industrial and 
            institutional uses.

            A 2005 article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine 
            stated that "zoning was born and grew up in a time 
            dramatically different from today.  Instead of overcrowding 
            and the spread of fire and disease, American cities confront 
            an array of health and economic challenges ?. Population 
            declines and stagnant economies continue to plague many cities 
            and inner suburbs as market forces and government policies 
            have redirected jobs and housing into outlying suburban and 
            rural communities.  Zoning's separation of uses created vast 
            suburban communities where routine daily trips to stores and 
            schools must be done in automobiles.  Walking ? is often not a 
            practical or safe alternative."  

            Complementary land use controls play a critical role in the 
            design and construction of more healthy and active 
            communities.  New urbanist statutes and codes, such as 
            transit-oriented development and form-based coding, are now 
            leading the charge for land use change.  While zoning has a 
            long public health lineage, the public health challenges of 








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            today will require a concerted effort to help address health 
            equity issues through zoning and land use planning. 

          3)California has taken some steps to include health in planning. 
             One of the most notable is requiring a reduction in vehicle 
            miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions through 
            coordinating regional transportation and land use plans ›SB 
            375 (Steinberg), Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008].  Moreover, 
            the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has been working to 
            implement Governor Schwarzenegger's Executive Order (EO-04-10) 
            which created a Health in All Policies (HiAP) task force.  The 
            HiAP task force was created to collaborate with existing SGC 
            working groups to identify priority programs, policies, and 
            strategies to improve the health of Californians while 
            advancing the SGC's goals of improving air and water quality, 
            protecting natural resources and agricultural lands, 
            increasing the
            availability of affordable housing, improving infrastructure 
            systems, promoting public
            health, planning sustainable communities, and meeting the 
            state's climate change goals.  In its report the HiAP task 
            force focused on two strategic directions:  a) building 
            healthy and safe communities with opportunities for active 
            transportation; safe, healthy, affordable housing; places to 
            be active, including parks, green space, and healthy tree 
            canopy; the ability to be active without fear of violence or 
            crime; and access to healthy, affordable foods; and, b) 
            finding opportunities to add a health lens in public policy 
            and program development and increase collaboration across 
            agencies and with communities.  One of the recommendations to 
            come out of the task force was to promote health equity in 
            planning, the objective of AB 441. 

          4)AB 441 incorporates voluntary health criteria into OPR's 
            General Plan Guidelines and CTC's RTP Guidelines.  If this 
            measure were to pass, it would not be the first time that OPR 
            has created a technical advisory document.  As part of its 
            technical assistance program, OPR offers a variety of 
            publications on land use planning.  These publications range 
            from general topics, including guides to planning in 
            California for citizens and planning commissioners, to 
            technical advice for planners on fire hazard planning, to 
            guidelines on tribal consultation.  

          5)There are numerous times when state agencies have conflicting 








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            policy goals, including goals that effect land use planning.  
            One example of a conflict is the promotion of infill 
            development and the conflict that may cause when a project is 
            reviewed for air quality concerns and deemed to have issues 
            because of the project being close to a freeway.  The state 
            needs to work to resolve these conflicts and determine 
            adequate mitigation measures. The author may wish to consider 
            adding in the requirement that OPR also develop best practices 
            for local governments to follow to help mitigate conflicting 
            policies of state agencies.  Also, some of the categories 
            currently listed in the bill are very broad in scope, i.e. the 
            sections on economic development and civic engagement.  The 
            author may wish to narrow and more define the health equity 
            policies that OPR should cover in the guidelines in 
            relationship to those categories.  

          6)Support arguments: According to the sponsors, California 
            Pan-Ethnic Health Network, 
          AB 441 promotes creating communities that are designed to 
            prevent health conditions before they occur.  Supporters 
            believe that AB 441 enables the state to provide a flexible 
            blueprint on integrating health criteria into planning so that 
            local governments can use these guidelines to begin developing 
            plans that increase access to healthier food, safer parks, and 
            transit option strategies that meet the needs of all users. 

            Opposition arguments: Opposition could argue that since the 
            guidelines in AB 441 are optional for cities and counties to 
            use, there really is no need for a bill since locals already 
            have the authority to include health in planning.  In fact, 
            opposition could say that there are already many communities 
            across the state and even the country that are already 
            including health equity in planning and that other communities 
            that want to do the same can just follow those best practices 
            without adding additional costs to the state to create the 
            guidelines. 


           




          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   









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           Support 
           
          CA Pan-Ethnic Health Network ›SPONSOR]
          American Heart Association
          American Lung Association in CA
          American Stroke Association
          Asian Health Services
          CA Food Policy Advocates
          Children Now
          County of Santa Cruz Public Health Department
          Health Access CA
          Human Impact Partners
          Latino Health Access
          Libreria del Pueblo Inc. 
          Madera Coalition for Community Justice
          Natural Resources Defense Council 
          PolicyLink
          Public Health Law & Policy
          Regional Asthma Management Prevention
          The G.R.E.E.N. Foundation
          Time for Change Foundation 
          Individual letter (1)

           Opposition 
           
          None on file 
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Katie Kolitsos / L. GOV. / (916) 
          319-3958