by Katy Grimes, E&E Legal Senior Media Fellow and California Globe Editor
As Appearing in the California Globe

Lawmakers don’t like living under the laws they impose on everyone else

In September 2020, while the state was still suffering under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s oppressive COVID restrictions of lockdowns, and business and school closures, the Joint Legislative Committee on Rules held a hearing on the plans for the $1.2 billion renovation of the State Capitol while ignoring actual state business urgencies.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay) told the Globe, “The issues we should be holding hearings on aren’t happening. But the Legislature can spruce up its own digs.”

The State Capitol Annex Project entails a great deal, and it should for $1.2 billion. According to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA):

“The project would demolish and reconstruct the existing 325,000 square foot existing Capitol Annex building with a new approximately 525,000 square foot building. The project would address numerous deficiencies in the existing building, including: life safety/building code deficiencies, non-compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, overcrowding, aging and failing infrastructure, and insufficient public and working space. A new underground visitors/welcome center would be located between 10th Street and the west steps of the Capitol. Existing basement parking under the Annex would be abandoned and replaced with new underground parking (approx. 200 spaces) on the south side of the Capitol.”

In a Globe interview, according to Paula Peper, a now-retired Urban Ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service, and appointed member of the Historic State Capitol Commission, there are 860 trees with 210 different types of species in the the California State Capitol Nationally Registered Historic Park. First plantings began in 1874 and continue through to today.

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