California Legislative Update, October 2011

Governor Brown worked up until the midnight deadline on October 9th to sign or veto the more than 600 bills sent to him by the State Legislature. Overall, he demonstrated a core commitment to California’s environment and the health of our citizens. There were a few disappointing vetoes and there are some bills that stalled in the Legislature and will have to wait until January when the second half of this legislative session begins. California’s new laws continue to advance environmental priorities including: clean energy, healthy oceans, reduction of toxic chemicals, increased recycling, and clean water. Below is a summary of top bills signed and vetoed.   

NRDC Priorities Signed into Law
OceansAB 376 (Fong/Huffman) protects sharks from cruel practice of shark finning by banning possession, sale or trade of shark fins in California. 

Clean Energy:  SB X1 2 (Simitian) increases renewable energy supplies in California to 33 percent by 2020 (signed in April, 2011).  

Energy Efficiency:  SB 454 (Pavley) saves money and reduces pollution by improving enforcement of building and appliance energy efficiency requirements. 

Safe Baby ProductsAB 1319 (Butler) bans Bisphenol-A or BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups sold in California. 

Additional Environmental Bills Signed
Recycling:  AB 341 (Chesbro) expands recycling opportunities to businesses and apartment buildings.  Also sets statewide solid waste diversion goal of 75% by 2020. 

Oil Spill Prevention:  AB 1112 (Huffman) ensures adequate funding for state agencies tasked with inspecting and monitoring oil operations in California.  

State Parks:  AB 42 (Huffman) allows nonprofit organizations to operate, restore or maintain state parks which have suffered drastic funding cuts in recent years. 

Clean Drinking Water:  A package of bills helps ensure access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water for disadvantaged communities (AB 938, AB 983, AB 1221 and SB 244). 

Coalition Bills Signed
Jobs and Green Construction:  SB 292 (Padilla) expedites judicial review for a new football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The stadium needs to meet strong environmental performance criteria to receive the fast-track benefits. 

Solar Energy:  SB 618 (Wolk) provides an incentive for solar developers to site projects on agricultural land that is least suited for growing food and best suited for growing renewable energy.

Environmental Bills Vetoed
Gregory Canyon:  SB 833 (Vargas) would have protected a sensitive aquifer and Native American sacred sites by preventing a new landfill in Northern San Diego County.  

Sustainable Communities:  SB 582 (Yee) would have authorized regions to create commuter benefit programs to encourage employees to ride transit, carpool or bike to work. 

Unfinished Business
Clean and Energy Investments:  AB 724 (Bradford) and SB 870 (Padilla) would reauthorize “public goods charge” funding for clean energy research, demonstration and development; renewable energy, and energy efficiency programs. 

Climate Change and Communities:  SB 535 (DeLeon) would invest revenues from the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) in the most disadvantaged communities.    

Fracking:  AB 591 (Wieckowski) would require disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. 

Clean Waterways and Oceans:  SB 568 (Lowenthal) would phase-out Styrofoam food containers by 2016. 

Related Issues
Climate Change

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