By Julie Carter, CMCA, AMS, General Manager
I attended the CAI-CLAC Legislative Day at the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, April 8th and Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 after receiving the Duncan McPherson Memorial Scholarship. The experience, education and information were invaluable.
Legislative Day at the Capitol Recap
Monday’s sessions provided an overview of the legislative process and how proposed bills become law in California. The keynote speaker, Dawn Bauman, CAI National’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, addressed the top legislative trends in 2019 impacting community associations such as property rights, service animals, and affordable housing. CAI is working hard to ensure homeowners are represented fairly. There are more than 40,000 CAI members and 64 chapters worldwide. CAI tracks federal and state legislation impacting Common Interest Developments (CIDs). CAI is working to combine state efforts and our national efforts to ensure California’s HOA’s are covered by federal resources.
Tuesday’s sessions began with keynote speaker Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, who was awarded CAI’s 2018 Legislator of the Year. The CAI-CLAC 2018 awards were also announced, and I was able to stand and be acknowledged as the Duncan McPherson Scholarship recipient.
Both days, we received bill briefings on the top legislative hot bills from CAI-CLAC Advocate Louie Brown and the Legislative Task Force Chairs. We reviewed SB 323 (Wieckowski) that CAI-CLAC is strongly opposed to as it threatens privacy in homeowner associations. We also received valuable talking points that helped us communicate our concerns regarding this bill to legislators. These briefings enabled us all to speak to members as one unified voice.
Groups were assigned to the various district assembly and senate offices to lobby support for bills impacting CIDs and discuss CAI’s position. When some assembly and senate members were not present, we presented bills to their staff and discussed the positions held by CAI. Meetings consistently ran between 15-20 minutes and were impactful.
It was fascinating to sit down with legislators and their staff to discuss the bills and express our concern. Some legislators and their staff members were well informed on the bills discussed and knowledgeable of CID’s. Others not as informed were willing to listen to learn more about what a CID is and how CAI-CLAC works to represent the concerns of all members who live in community associations.
We provided each office an educational binder specific to each legislator’s district with important and relevant details such as: data obtained from the California Secretary of State, census information on the number of constituents living in Common Interest Developments that each legislator serves, a colored heat map of CID’s for their district, the geographic profile detailing the age, buying power and size of CID’s, and Statewide numbers that reflect the more than 13 million Californians currently residing in over 50,000 CID’s.
My Personal Takeaway
As this was my first time visiting our state Capitol, I spent most of my time listening and learning. I cannot say enough good things about the industry professionals I teamed up with to visit my district’s representatives. The level of knowledge, dedication and passion exhibited by our members was very impressive!
Advocate Louie Brown was thrilled to report that as a group we were able to visit with, or drop off educational materials to EVERY member of the California legislature! It was a huge accomplishment, and each group reported they were well received by the legislators.
In closing, my experience was educational, inspiring and humbling. I was impressed with the level of knowledge, dedication and passion that each member of the CAI group exhibited. I left with a renewed focus on the important need for our community members and leaders to advocate for our communities to self-govern. It was so important to come together to educate and empower one another. As a united CAI group, we are powerful not only at the Capitol, but in our own communities.
CAI serves over 13 million Californians in over 50,000 Associations. Proposed bills will impact CIDs both positively and negatively. This is why it’s important for community association members and leaders to continue their support of CAI-CLAC.
I’m inspired to continue my education and advocacy. I am now interested in participating further in my local Orange County Chapter’s Legislative Support Committee to continue educating and advocating for community associations here in Orange County.
Julie Carter, CMCA, AMS – General Manager
Lake Forest Community Association
Julie is the General Manager of the Lake Forest Community Association and recipient of this year’s Duncan McPherson Scholarship Award. She has worked at Lake Forest Community Association since 2015 and has been in the Homeowners Association Industry for over 16 years. She has been a member of the CAI-OC chapter since 2015.