Committee Discussing Rent Control Bill Draws Huge Crowd to State Capitol

SACRAMENTO -- Hundreds of people rushed inside a packed room at the State Capitol holding signs, hoping their voices would be heard as lawmakers discussed a controversial rent control bill Thursday.

Assembly Bill 1482 would limit how much landlords throughout the state can raise their rent.

“Rents should not be increased more than the consumer price index, plus 5%, which is roughly about 8% per year,” Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said.

Chiu authored the bill.

“We have millions of Californians who are one rent increase away from being evicted, losing their homes, really struggling. We have proposed for the first time in California that there be an anti-rent gouging policy,” Chiu said.

Those in support of the proposed legislation say there need to be regulations for families struggling with the high cost of housing throughout the state.

“There needs to be something, whether it’s rent control, whether it’s rent stabilization, whether it’s a cap, whether it's protections for all residents just being evicted for no cause,” supporter Ginger Hitzke said.

Those against the bill, including some landlords and real estate groups, agree there needs to be more housing in California but say putting a cap on rent is not the answer.

The Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee voted to move AB 1482 forward for consideration by the full Assembly.

Another rent control bill, AB 36 was supposed to be heard Thursday as well, but its author pulled the bill late Wednesday night.

Two Advocates Stay Overnight at Governor's Office

It wasn't an easy night for Mari Sanchez but it was hardly the first time she has not had a comfortable place to sleep.

Sanchez said due to some new life circumstances, finding affordable housing in San Diego County is out of her reach.

"I’m sleeping on the floor, I don’t even have a mattress," she told FOX40. "I never thought I would be in this position. I have worked in the health care field for many years."

That’s why she’s been in Sacramento since Tuesday alongside other activists, lobbying lawmakers to pass a trio of affordable housing bills, Assembly Bills 1482, 36 and 1481.

Sanchez said she found a lot of lawmakers' doors were closed to her. So as a last resort, they went to the governor’s office and refused to leave.

To her surprise, the governor’s staff listened to their concerns and did not have them arrested or attempt to kick them out.

"That gave me hope," Sanchez told FOX40.

Yesenia Miranda Meza and Sanchez stayed all night with no restrooms.

"I’m going to stay. I'm going to make, you know, the 17 million renters, tenants that live in the state of California's voices be known," Meza said.

Sanchez decided to sit in, knowing it might be her last stand.

"I'll be starting the first round of my chemo hopefully soon," she said. "Right now I can do it, but who knows. Maybe later I won’t be able to."

The way she sees it, pancreatic cancer isn’t the only life and death fight she’s in.

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