Dear friends and neighbors:

You may have noticed how the pandemic’s electronic chip shortage has crimped the supply of new cars, making them harder to find and costlier to buy. Well, the same thing is happening with our housing: supply is lagging behind demand, especially in the case of affordable housing.

My Senate Bill 5964 would fix this by giving local permitting offices state funds to outsource the processing of backlogged building permits. This would eliminate the long delays that have stalled new home construction, and it would do it without in any way compromising our important building codes and construction standards. It would simply allow permits to be processed more efficiently, as I explain in this short video.

Our state has allocated lots of funding for affordable housing in recent years, but that doesn’t get us anywhere if no one can get permits to build the homes. Clearing the backlogs of permits will make more housing available, with an emphasis on affordable homes. At the same time, easing the supply crunch could help meet demand and reduce housing prices in general.

In addition, the bill would provide grants to enable local counties and cities to set up systems to receive permit applications electronically, eliminating paperwork that slows the process, and would simplify the processing of permits for kitchen and bathroom remodels.

It’s pretty rare to get agreement on a bill from environmental groups, the construction industry and local governments, but this one has it. Everybody can see it’s just a good, common-sense way to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Take care and stay safe,