The month of July is the “Legislative Recess” in the California Legislature. Much like the seventh-inning stretch in a game of baseball, it’s a chance for one last deep breath before the excitement of the final innings. Here are a few updates on how our bills are doing with just over a month left in the legislative session.
Plastics: A Step Forward!
First of all, thank you to all who worked to make sure that SB 54 (Single Use Plastics) eventually contained enough safeguards that the sponsors of the November Plastics Initiative could safely withdraw that initiative. Governor Newsom signed the bill into law on June 30th. Advocates call this the most comprehensive law to phase out single use plastics in the U.S. The law will set recycling performance standards and source reduction requirements for single-use plastic packaging and food ware, require plastics producers to fund recycling infrastructure, and fund pollution mitigation and conservation efforts.
However, some environmental and climate justice advocates, as well as some legislators, are concerned that additional safeguards are needed. Senator Allen, the bill’s author, has committed to continue working with stakeholders on the issues.
Statewide Effort to Pass SB 260 (Climate Corporate Accountability Act)
The Climate Corporate Accountability Act would require all US-based corporations with annual revenues of $1 billion or greater that do business in California to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. This information is vitally important to hold large corporations accountable. This would be a first in the nation policy and would send shockwaves across the US.
SB 260 passed out of the CA State Senate. It is now in Assembly Appropriations and ultimately will move to the Assembly Floor where we need at least 41 out of 80 Assemblymembers’ yes votes. This bill is supported by over 120+ organizations, but faces tough industry opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, the Western States Petroleum Association (AKA Big Oil), and Big Tech. These groups are ramping up opposition efforts. We are working with other environmental and climate justice groups to make sure that our Assemblymembers vote for this bill.
Our Priority Bills Are Moving Forward
AB 2026 (Friedman) will help address the global plastics crisis by phasing out single-use plastics used to ship online purchases in and into California. The bill complements SB54 by specially targeting the plastics used to ship products via e-commerce into and within California. While California represents 12% of the U.S. population (6), we currently represent 27% of the country’s total plastic waste exports. AB 2026 requires a shift to non-plastic packaging that is recyclable, compostable, or reusable and accepted in curbside bins. This is already being done in other countries and practical packaging alternatives are already available in California.
AB 2438 (Friedman) requires state-funded transportation programs to align with California’s climate action plan and requires the California Transportation Plan to establish a budget to enable this alignment. Transportation is the largest contributor to California’s greenhouse gas emissions, so comprehensive and common sense reforms that emphasize climate, health and equity are needed to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
AB 2649 (Garcia) sets a goal of removing 60 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent by 2030 through natural non-technological carbon sequestration practices, a huge step towards restoring California’s natural lands and waters. Nature-based carbon sequestration practices like restoring riparian and wetlands, applying compost on rangelands, non-conversion of existing natural lands, and planned grazing can help California reach our carbon net neutrality goals.
SB 1482 (Allen) would require that new multi-family housing provide EV Ready access for every unit that has access to a parking space. This requirement would support both building electrification efforts and the use of EVs.
SB 1010 (Skinner) would require 100% of all vehicles purchased for state fleet operations to be ZEV by 2028, and direct the state to track and increase the miles driven by their ZEV fleet. By requiring rapid conversion of the state vehicle fleets to ZEV, this bill will not only reduce carbon emissions, but also accelerate the ramp-up of a robust charging infrastructure needed to support 100% ZEV in California.
SB 1314 (Limón) would prohibit Carbon Capture, Use and Storage projects (CCUS) from being used in California to increase the recovery of oil. CCUS used to enhance oil recovery releases 4 times more carbon dioxide than it captures and further damages already burdened frontline communities. This technology is NOT currently used in California and banning it supports our transition away from fossil fuels instead of moving in the opposite direction.
Check here for a complete list of our endorsed bills that are still “alive” and moving forward.
SUMMERTIME IS THE RIGHT TIME TO MEET WITH OUR LEGISLATORS!
One of our most effective tools in supporting climate legislation is to meet in person (or by Zoom) with our legislators. It’s also fun and a good way to learn more about California climate legislation. Please fill out the form below if you want to take part in a meeting with YOUR Senator or Assemblymember!