Last Week in Sacramento

The 2014-2015 Legislative Session ended last Friday, September 11th. Alongside our allies and partners, PSR-LA staff members were hard at work up in Sacramento, and we had some great wins this session, as well as some hard losses. Read below to see which bills made it to the Governor’s desk, which bills failed, and what amendments were made.

SB 350: The Clean Energy and Pollution Reductions Act
Senate Bill 350, the 50-50-50 bill, originally called for 50% of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources, a 50% increase in energy efficiency in existing buildings, and a 50% reduction in petroleum use. By the end of legislative session however, SB 350 had lost one of its central mandates to the influence of Big Oil — the 50% reduction in petroleum use. While the loss of the petroleum reductions mandate is a huge loss for California’s air quality (you can read our statement about SB 350’s amendments here), the passage of the renewable energy and energy efficiency goals is a landmark victory that will help our state produce and use energy in cleaner, more equitable ways. In addition, the striking of the petroleum reduction goal has only reinvigorated our efforts to reduce petroleum use and improve California’s’ air quality, and we hope that Governor Brown will issue an Executive Order to reduce our state’s petroleum use. SB 350 passed through the Assembly with a 52-27 vote.

SB 32: The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006
Senate Bill 32 would have established greenhouse gas reduction targets of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In recent weeks the bill’s author, Senator Pavley, introduced amendments that included important steps to directly improve the quality of air and health in California’s most overburdened communities. New amendments aimed to increase reporting and oversight requirements of AB 32 – specifically to better understand how our state climate regulations are impacting our most disadvantaged communities – and to prioritize policies which utilized direct emissions reductions strategies. Unfortunately, SB 32 did not pass through the Assembly this session and was instead turned into a two-year bill.

AB 1288: Air Resources
AB 1288 turned into an excellent surprise for PSR-LA and our partners and allies! What started out as a bill to extend cap-and-trade that many groups – PSR-LA included – did not support, instead became a bill that placed two Environmental Justice representatives on the California Air Resources Board. Thanks to groups like the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), Environmental Justice was an important topic of discussions in many of this year’s climate change bills, and the rapid shift of AB 1288 from a bad bill to an EJ bill is a huge win that will help bring a greater health and equity dialogue to the CA Air Resources Board. AB 1288 passed through the Assembly Floor with a 52-26 vote.

AB 693: Multifamily Affordable Housing Renewable Energy Program
AB 693 also passed through the Assembly, making its way to the Governor’s desk. This bill creates a pilot project to install solar panels on affordable housing complexes and send the energy savings directly to renters. AB 693 passed with a 51-28 vote.

AB 1071: Supplemental Environmental Projects
AB 1071 requires agencies within Cal EPA to create a policy that directs polluter projects and funds to have a focus on benefiting environmental justice communities. AB 1071 passed with near unanimous support!

SB 673: Hazardous Waste
SB 673 aimed to improve transparency and responsiveness at the Department of Toxic Substance Control by creating a California Communities Committee, and requiring the adoption of stricter permitting criteria to protect especially vulnerable and overburdened communities. While SB 673 passed, it passed without the California Communities Committee piece. As it stands, the bill will require DTSC to establish permitting criteria that looks at a variety of things including the vulnerability of nearby communities, compliance history, setbacks for sensitive sites such as schools, and financial assurances. SB 673 was led by the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment and The People’s Senate, and passed through the Assembly with a 50-25 vote.

AB 708: Consumer products: content information
AB 708 would have required cleaning product manufacturers to label each ingredient contained in the product, as well as post certain additional information about it on the manufacturer’s website. This bill became a two-year bill before passing out of the Assembly, and is in the process of being amended before it is brought back up for vote in January.

SB 328: Pesticide Disclosure in Rental Housing
SB 328, a bill sponsored by our allies at Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP), requires landlords to notify tenants when pesticides are applied to their unit or building. Current law requires tenants to be notified when a licensed pest control operator applies pesticides to rental property. SB 328 ensures the same notifications are required when over-the-counter pesticides are applied by the landlord or other agent. This not only gives tenants advanced notice of when pesticides will be applied in their vicinity,but allows them to make any arrangements to leave the property during the application if they choose. SB 328 passed through both the Senate and the Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 8th!

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