FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The California State Assembly has voted to extend emergency COVID tenant protections through June 30. If passed by the state senate, it would pause eviction proceedings if a rent relief application is pending.

“I fear that if we don’t move this bill forward, we’re going to see a mass wave of evictions in all of our communities,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland).

If it’s not passed by the Senate, however, renters in Fresno can still be protected from eviction, as the city still has its COVID Emergency Order in place.

“If the state decides to lift up the veil on eviction protection, we’ll have that in place until the city council decides otherwise here at the local level. You cannot be displaced from your apartment or home because you’re short on money due to a covid related reason,” said City Councilmember Tyler Maxwell.

It’s a topic that’s caused controversy at city hall. Councilmember Gary Bredefeld urged his colleagues to lift the emergency order.

“The reality is, this is going on forever. You guys won’t release your authoritarian control on the public. These emergency orders should’ve been removed long ago,” he said.

Council President Nelson Esparza and Councilmember Miguel Arias say they don’t believe the moratorium should be lifted.

“I’m not prepared to do that, I don’t think the council is prepared to do that…” Esparza said.

“There’s approximately 30 million dollars of unpaid utility bills and we’re not prepared yet to clearly tell the public how quick we’re going to seek to get that money paid back to the city,” Arias said.

According to Maxwell, the COVID subcommittee has been meeting with Mayor Dyer about which parts of the emergency order they are prepared to lift. He said he believes the city council will discuss the emergency order in the next couple of meetings.