2006 California Legislative Wrap-Up

PSR-LA's Martha Dina Arguello
PSR-LA's Martha Dina Arguello

PSR-LA was at the forefront of a number of legislative battles in Sacramento this year. There were many victories and a few defeats. To follow is a snapshot of how our busy year in Sacramento went.
AB 32: A landmark global warming initiative that imposes the nation’s first cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
AB 289: Authorizes CalEPA to request that chemical manufacturers provide analytical test methods for detecting their chemicals in our bodies and the environment. This will be a useful tool to implement the newly signed SB 1379, the nation’s most comprehensive “biomonitoring” law that will screen and document human exposure to chemicals.
AB 1632: Requires the state to assess the vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants in the event of a major earthquake as well as problems associated with the aging and decrepitude of the state’s nuclear plants. This bill also looks at the costs associated with radioactive waste accumulating at nuclear power plants.
AB 1953: Reduces the maximum allowable levels of lead in pipes and plumbing fixtures from 8% to 0.25% in order to prevent lead poisoning in children. This bill does not require any plumbing fixtures to be replaced before normal change-out is needed. Beginning in January 2010, however, all faucets and plumbing fittings sold in California must be “lead-free” (containing no more than 0.25% lead).
AB 2823: Requires that local governments, schools, and residents within 1,000 feet of a polluter be notified when a violation of an air emission permit occurs that could contribute to unhealthy air quality.
AB 2861: Increases the penalties for a person who fails to abate a lead hazard after receiving an order from an enforcement agency. Provides failure to abate a lead hazard, after receiving a second order of violation from the Department of Health Services (DHS) or a local enforcement agency, is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or by imprisonment up to six months in a county jail.
SB 162: Establishes a new Department of Public Health (CDPH) within the existing Health and Human Services Agency and statutorily transfers some responsibilities from the Department of Health Services (CDHS) to the new CDPH, effective July 1, 2007. At the same time, DHS is being renamed as the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The Governor will appoint a State Public Health Officer, who must be a licensed physician or surgeon, to head the new DPH as well as two chief deputy directors. This bill further strengthens California’s ability to respond to and prevent any man-made or natural disaster.
SB 849: Establishes the Interagency Office of Environmental Health within the Department of Health Services to track and evaluate a variety of chronic diseases in relation to environmental exposures.
SB 1368: Requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to set a global warming emissions standard for electricity used in California—regardless of whether it’s generated in-state or purchased from plants in other states. This law could help prevent new dirty coal plants from being built to serve California’s growing electricity demand and will instead encourage development of clean electricity generation technologies including renewables.

AB 1012: Would have required the Air Resources Board to increase the use of clean alternative fuels.
SB 840: Would have provided comprehensive health insurance coverage to all California residents along with the ability to choose your own physician.
SB 927: Would have required the owners of container cargo to pay $30 for each shipping container moving through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to help fund security, transportation, and air quality improvements at the ports.
SB 999: Sought to create accountability by adding more representatives to the district board from the urban centers most impacted by air pollution in California’s Central Valley, as well as representatives with expertise in public health and air pollution science.
SB 999 passed through the Senate and all policy committees in both houses. Unfortunately, some Assembly members in the Valley were not supportive, so the bill was left hanging until next year. The good news is that because SB 999 was transformed into a two-year bill, next January it will not have to go through the entire process all over again.

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