CA legislative session wraps up, environmental priority bills await action by Governor Brown

Sep 13, 2011
By Rebecca

This has been a busy year for environmental advocates in the State Capitol, and though the legislative session wrapped up last Friday (well, very early Saturday morning), there's still plenty of work to do to ensure Governor Jerry Brown signs our priority bills.

CLCV has worked throughout 2011 with Green California to pass (or stop) dozens of environmental priority bills. Green California is a powerful network CLCV Education Fund facilitates of more than 75 environmental, public health and social justice organizations. We work collaboratively in order to speak to the state legislature and regulatory agencies with a unified voice on issues impacting California’s air, water and natural resources.

With the help of champions in the State Senate and Assembly, Green California and CLCV passed seventeen of our priority bills through both houses. Fifteen bills now sit on Governor Brown's desk, while two were acted upon earlier this year.

Below is a full list of bills we worked on, but here is further information about a few key bills we hope the Governor will sign and one bill we opposed that we were able to stop:

AB 1319: Authored by Assemblymember Betsy Butler, this bill would ban the use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups, marking a victory for health and environmental advocates who’ve worked on similar measures since early 2006.

AB 376: Authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong and Assemblymember Jared Huffman, this bill helps to stabilize declining shark populations and balance the health of ocean ecosystems by prohibiting the sale, possession or trade of shark fins in California.

AB 1112: Authored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman, this bill ensures the highest level of oil spill prevention, by requiring state agencies to beef up efforts to monitor and inspect the highest risk marine oil transfers, and would give the state the authority to increase the per barrel fee by a penny and a half through 2015 to prevent drastic budget cuts to critical oil spill prevention programs.

SB 454: Authored by Senator Fran Pavley, this bill would improve enforcement of California's energy efficiency standards for appliances such as air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators and light bulbs.

AB 650: Authored by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, this bill establishes a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Public Transportation to help identify solutions to California’s transit funding crisis. State transit funding has been drastically cut over the past several years, and public transit is key to meeting California's greenhouse gas reduction and air quality goals.

AB 42: Authored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman, this bill would allow the Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) to enter agreements for the operation, improvement, restoration, maintenance, or administration of State Parks with nonprofit organizations. This bill provides an option to the state to try to alleviate financial and resource burdens for parks that may otherwise close.

The Human Right to Water Package: This package of six bills, four of which made it to the Governor's desk, is designed to make safe, clean drinking water a human right for all Californians. (The bills that passed the legislature are AB 938 (V.M. Perez), AB 983 (Perea), AB 1221 (Alejo), and SB 244 (Wolk)).

AB 1178 (OPPOSE): Authored by Assemblymember Fiona Ma, this bill would completely preempt cities and counties from placing reasonable restrictions on the import of garbage to local landfills. The bill would severely limit the local control over landfills that California cities and counties have possessed since the State’s founding.

On the Governor's desk

We passed several of our priority bills through both houses of the state legislature and they now await action by Governor Brown:

Bills we opposed

Not all bills are positive bills and this year we fought against many bad bills. Early in the year, we stopped dozens of bills that would have rolled back environmental protections before they reached the floor of their first houses. Since then, we've focused on stopping two bills:

  • AB 628 (Conway): Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: County of Inyo - Passed both houses; on the Governor's Desk.
  • AB 1178 (Ma): Solid Waste- Place of Origin - Stopped in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

We'll keep working next year...

Legislative sessions last two years so bills are sometimes held for the next year for a variety of reasons. We'll keep working next year to pass these important bills:

Signed and vetoed

Two bills made it to Governor Brown's desk earlier this year and he took action:

  • SB 2X (Simitian): Renewable energy - This landmark bill mandates that providers of electricity in California increase their supply of renewable energy to 33 percent by the year 2020. It had been a CLCV and Green California priority for years so we were very excited when Governor Brown signed this bill in April.
  • SB 582 (Emmerson Yee): Commuter benefit policies - This bill would have established a commuter benefit pilot program to encourage employees to ride public transit, carpool, or bike to work. Sadly, Brown vetoed it earlier this month.

Take action today

Governor Brown has until October 9th to sign these priority environmental bills, and we need your help to ensure he does so.

Please call him at 916-445-2841 or visit our take action page to urge him to sign these important bills.



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