The California legislative session was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and several bills were put on hold earlier this year. But NRDC, coalition partners, and our allies in the state legislature still helped pass several important bills that support a sustainable economic recovery, help schools reopen safely, improve public health and promote racial justice. Below are key bills that NRDC and our partners are urging Governor Newsom to sign before the September 30 deadline.
Banning PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam: Manmade PFAS chemicals—which contaminate drinking water systems that serve as many as 19 million California residents—have been linked to immune system dysfunction, cancer, liver damage and developmental issues, even at very low exposures. Researchers have found that firefighting foam is one of the largest sources of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
SB 1044 by Senator Allen would ban the sale and use of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals in California, mandating a switch to available and effective PFAS-free firefighting foam.
Healthy Schools and Clean Transportation: Schools often have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that are unhealthy for students and teachers and that use excessive energy. To prevent spreading COVID-19 and reduce water and energy bills, AB 841 by Assembly Member Ting, would create a program to repair and replace HVAC systems and water fixtures while creating high quality green jobs. Additionally, this bill accelerates the infrastructure needed for zero-emission vehicles to combat air pollution and climate change.
Additional bills that NRDC supports
Health and Toxics
AB 995 (C. Garcia): Broadly reforms the Department of Toxic Substance Control
AB 2762 (Muratsuchi): Prohibits the sale of cosmetics containing 12 toxic chemicals that have already been banned from cosmetics in the European Union member nations, and many other countries around the globe.
SB 312 (Leyva): Requires disclosure of hazardous fragrance or flavor chemicals in personal care or beauty products sold in California.
Climate and Transportation
SB 288 (Wiener): helps expedite sustainable mobility projects including pedestrian safety improvements and bicycle lanes and facilities.
SB 1320 (Stern): Requires development of the California Climate Change Assessment
Nature, Lands and Wildlife
AB 1426 (Boerner Horvath): Protects San Onofre State Park from a new highway
AB 3214 (Limón): Increases fines and penalties for oil companies that knowingly spill oil into state waters
Justice and Emergency Response
AB 2043 (R. Rivas, E. Garcia and Gonzalez): Protects agricultural workers during the COVID-19 crisis
AB 2054 (Kamlager): Enacts the Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems Act, or CRISES Act
AB 793 (Ting and Irwin): Increases recycled content requirements for plastic beverage containers up to 50 percent by 2030.
There is also one bill that NRDC is asking Governor Newsom to veto. That bill, AB 3163 would divert focus away from zero-emission energy sources and enable a new, costly source of methane to be created, sold and burned.
While we’re disappointed that other priority bills, including AB 345, AB 3030 and SB 54/AB 1080 didn’t make it this year, we’re already planning and strategizing on how to advance California’s leadership on several fronts in 2021.
If you’d like to send a message urging Governor Newsom to sign key environmental and health priorities, you can do so here.