It’s immediate. The legislative solution directs money immediately from former lead paint manufacturers into a state fund, making money available to homeowners in 2019.
Creating Long-Term Program
It provides long-term support. The fund continues collecting money from the paint companies for ten full years, and unused funds will remain in the state program to be used by homeowners for at least ten years.
It builds on success. The solution supports California’s existing and successful Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Together, these two powerful programs will screen for lead in children and remediate lead paint in homes, one of the sources of childhood lead exposure.
It stops the stigma. The legislation clarifies California law that homes are not a public nuisance simply because they may contain old lead paint.
It holds former lead paint manufacturers accountable. Every company that has already been determined to have historically sold or manufactured lead paint will pay into the statewide program. The three companies named in the court ruling will pay the majority of costs, including additional funds to the 10 jurisdictions that were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The court was likely well-intentioned. Not long ago, the risks of lead paint on interior walls was not well known, and lead paint was actually required for many California construction projects; today, however, we know more, and remediation may be the next step, but the court’s plan is not the best way to do it.
Courts often aren’t the best public policy makers; their job is to interpret and enforce laws on the books. Our legislature is the right entity to represent Californians’ interests and develop sound public policy for all.
At a time of spiking home and rental prices, a widening affordable housing deficit and rising homelessness, state leaders should be doing everything they can to support homeownership. The court’s ruling does the opposite, burdening millions of Californians whose only crime is owning an older home.
Our legislature faces a simple choice: Do more, faster for all homeowners…or less, slower for a few? The answer is clear. We urge strong support across the aisle for the Lead Safe Homes legislative solution.
Julian Canete is president and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce