Top California Environmental Bills to Watch This Summer

Senator Hertzberg and supporters of water efficiency package
Sen Hertzberg celebrates with advocates of water efficiency bills

The legislature is more than halfway through its session and California remains at the forefront in resisting the Trump administration’s environmental assaults. In addition to pursuing strong legislation for the environment and social justice, some of which have already been signed in to law, the legislature made history earlier this year by electing Toni Atkins as the first woman and the first LGBTQ person to lead the State Senate.

NRDC and our partners are advocating for several important environmental measures and hoping to pass them this session. (The legislature is required to wrap up all regular business by August 31.)  Governor Brown recently signed into law two water efficiency bills that finally passed after nearly two years of advocacy and negotiations. Below is a report on this recent victory, as well as a rundown of some of the key environmental bills to watch through the summer as they (hopefully) advance to the governor’s desk.

Signed into Law

Governor Brown recently signed a two-bill package, AB 1668 by Assembly Member Friedman and SB 606 by Senator Hertzberg, to promote more efficient use of water statewide. These bills build on lessons learned during California’s recent drought and help move California toward a more resilient and stable water future for our communities, businesses, and environment. We know that droughts are going to be more frequent and intense due to our changing climate. These bills establish a new template for water conservation to ensure that water districts throughout the state are each doing their part to ensure efficient use of precious water supplies. For more information on AB 1668 and SB 606, see my colleague Tracy Quinn’s blog, Senator Hertzberg’s website, Assembly Member Friedman’s release and a recent article in the Sacramento Bee that debunks some outlandish claims about the legislation.  

Asm Friedman presents water efficiency bills
Assembly Member Friedman presents her bill on Assembly Floor

NRDC Supports the Following Bills Moving Through the Legislature


SB 100 (De León) – Accelerate the requirements for renewable energy to 60 percent by 2030, and commit the state to 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2045. You can send a message of support for SB 100 to your state legislator here.    

SB 1013 (Lara) -  Continues California’s progress in curbing hydrofluorocarbon “super-pollutants” or HFCs.

SB 1090 (Monning and Cunningham) - Ensures a safe and responsible closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.  

SB 1477 (Stern) - Establishes an incentive funding program to promote low-emission space and water heating for homes and offices.

AB 813 (Holden) - Establishes oversight and conditions for the participation of California entities in a multistate regional transmission organization (RTO), a regional electric grid.

AB 3232 (Friedman) - Requires the California Energy Commission to assess options and develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in homes and offices.


AB 2998 (Bloom) - Phases out the sale of upholstered furniture, mattresses, and certain juvenile products that contain toxic flame retardant chemicals. State and federal flammability standards for these products have been updated so that chemicals are no longer needed. To send a message of support for AB 2998 please visit our action page here.

Endangered Species and Defense Against Trump Administration

SB 49 (De León and Stern) – Maintain federal environmental protection standards in state law, even if the Trump administration or anti-environment Congress weakens or eliminates them.

AB 2369 (Gonzalez Fletcher) - Increases penalties to deter poaching in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and prohibits the transfer of permits while enforcement action is being taken or there is an ongoing investigation into poaching activity by the license or permit holder.

AB 2627 (Kalra) – Permits an entity to take a migratory nongame bird if the take is incidental to otherwise lawful activity and the entity certifies their compliance with best management practices for avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating take of migratory nongame birds.

Offshore Oil Drilling

AB 1775 (Muratsuchi) – Prohibits the State Lands Commission or a local trustee from entering into any new agreement that would authorize new construction of oil-and-gas-related infrastructure within state waters associated with federal drilling leases issued after January 1, 2018.

SB 834 (Jackson) – Prohibits the State Lands Commission or a local trustee from entering into, renewing, extending, or modifying any lease that facilitates oil drilling in federal waters.

Reduce Plastic Waste

AB 1884 (Calderon and Bloom) – Prohibits dine-in restaurants from giving out plastic straws, except upon request by the customer. 


AB 2371 (Carrillo) - Implements recommendations of the multi-stakeholder “Independent Technical Panel” to make landscaping more water efficient. 

AB 3206 (Friedman) - Authorizes the adoption of state standards for the accuracy of new urban water meters and for the testing of existing water meters for accuracy.

You can read the text of any of these bills here