California Legislative Roundup

Legislature passes new bills to push back on the Trump administration’s environmental attacks

When the California legislature adjourned its two-year session just before midnight on August 31, it sent hundreds of bills to Governor Brown’s desk, including several that NRDC and our partners worked hard to pass. The governor has already signed some of them into law in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week. He has until September 30 to sign or veto all remaining bills. Below are some of the key environmental and public health bills that passed in 2018.

Signed into Law

SB 100 (De León) – Accelerates the requirements for renewable electricity to 60 percent by 2030, and 50 percent by 2026. Commits the state to 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2045. Read the governor’s signing statement here.

In addition, Brown signed a groundbreaking new Executive Order establishing a state goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 moving to net negative greenhouse gas emissions after that.  See “California Gov. Jerry Brown casually unveils history’s most ambitious climate target” from Vox.  

SB 100 Vote Watch
Waiting for SB 100 to pass the Assembly

SB 834 (Jackson) and AB 1775 (Muratsuchi) – Protects California’s coast from the Trump administration’s plans for new offshore oil drilling by prohibiting the State Lands Commission or a local trustee from authorizing new construction of oil-and-gas-related infrastructure within state waters associated with federal drilling leases issued after January 1, 2018.

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 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg) – Establishes a new template for water conservation to ensure that water districts throughout the state are each doing their part to guarantee efficient use of precious water supplies.

On Governor Brown’s Desk

Toxics and Health

AB 2998 (Bloom) – Phases out the sale of upholstered furniture, mattress foam, and certain juvenile products that contain toxic flame retardant chemicals. State and federal flammability standards for these products have been updated so that these chemicals are no longer needed.

AB 2122 (Reyes) - Requires the Department of Health Care Services to ensure that children enrolled in Medi-Cal receive blood lead tests. Also requires the department to notify a child’s parent or guardian, as well as the child’s health care provider, if a child misses a required blood lead test.

AB 2447 (Reyes) – Ensures that the most pollution-burdened communities in California have an informed say in industrial land use decisions that may impact their neighborhoods, their homes and their health.

Climate and Clean Energy

SB 1013 (Lara) –  Continues California’s progress in curbing hydrofluorocarbon “super-pollutants” or HFCs, despite inaction at the federal level. 

SB 1090 (Monning and Cunningham) – Supports adequate staffing and emergency services leading to the pending closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, and a just transition for the community.  

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

AB 3232 (Friedman) – Requires the California Energy Commission to assess how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in homes and offices by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

SB 901 (Dodd) - Provides for wildfire mitigation and avoidance measures, with environmental protections.

Coastal Protection and Access/ Plastic Pollution Reduction

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

AB 2534 (Limón) – Improves access to parks, outdoor experiences, and recreational opportunities, particularly for youth in disadvantaged communities, and helps to facilitate public access along a portion of the Santa Barbara coastline.

AB 2797 (Bloom) – Advances affordable housing options along California’s coast.

SB 1335 (Allen) – Requires food service packaging provided at state parks, beaches and other state facilities to be reusable, compostable, or recyclable.

Water

AB 2371 (Carrillo) – Helps to make landscaping throughout California more water efficient by promoting water efficient plants and encouraging home inspectors to check irrigation systems.   

See NRDC Action Fund’s alert on key bills here.

If you would like to contact Governor Brown about other bills on his desk you can do so here

Looking Ahead

California will have a new governor and several new state legislators in 2019. NRDC and our partners are already working to ensure that California’s environment and public health remain among the highest priorities for the new administration and the legislature. In addition, NRDC intends to keep working to pass policies that didn’t make it across the finish line this year. As noted in my colleague Ralph Cavanagh’s blog, the need to fully integrate our western power grid hasn’t gone away, even though the bill to facilitate this transition, AB 813 stalled just short of floor votes in each house. Governor Brown noted the need for a regional grid in his signing statement for SB 100, in addition to storage and greater efficiency, and Senate President pro Tem Atkins vowed to "continue this important discussion next year." NRDC is ready to advance policies to fully realize our 100 percent clean energy goals.

We’ll also keep fighting the Trump administration’s egregious assaults on our environment with California bills like SB 49 that would have created a backstop in state law for endangered species, water and air quality, and worker protections, and SB 120 that would have required a state review process for potential groundwater pumping projects in the desert.  

More immediately, NRDC is weighing in on a few state and local ballot measures on the November ballot. Stay tuned for email alerts with our recommendations as election day approaches.   

California capitol at sunset

About the Authors

Victoria Rome

California Legislative Director

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