A bill to give cities and counties the authority to regulate and require licensure of sober living residences failed to move past the Senate Health Committee on April 20.
The bill, which was introduced by State Sen. Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel, was voted 1-1 with the rest of the committee not casting a vote.
If the bill had passed, sober living residences would have been required to apply for licensure and to submit the address, homeowner’s full name and phone number, provide a supervisor at the home at all times of operation and to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bill also included requirements to maintain the property to local ordinance compliance.
Currently, such facilities are protected by laws that ensure fair housing and therefore cannot be sanctioned based on their intent.
Bates contended these facilities are operating as businesses and not as traditional homes in residential neighborhoods.
An Assembly bill related to the regulation of sober living facilities introduced by Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar also failed to pass committee on Tuesday.
However, the Assembly Health Committee passed through two other bills on April 19 that request similar licensure and regulation as the Bates and Chang bills. One bill is from Assemblywoman Melissa Mendez of Lake Elsinore and the other is from Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica. Bloom’s and Mendez’s bills would allow the California Health Department to deny licenses to sober living facilities in addition to local and county governments’ authority. Mendez’s bill would also allow cities and counties to monitor the facilities under a “good neighbor” policy, which typically includes consideration of community engagement and opinion. The bills will now be voted on by the Assembly.