SB 185 Coal Divestment


SB 185 has passed the legislature, and the governor has signed it!

Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 185 on October 8, 2015. The California State Assembly and the State Senate previously passed it, so it has now been enacted into law. The bill requires the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to divest from companies that receive at least half their revenues from coal mining. Fossil Free California believes that passage of this bill in our state will be a major step toward divestment from all fossil fuels and a big boost for the divestment movement nationwide.

How the Bill Made History

  • April 13: The California State Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee approved SB 185.
  • April 13: A coalition of health organizations issued a joint letter of support for the bill.
  • During April: CalPERS and CalSTRS boards voted to take no position on SB 185.
  • May 17: The California Democratic Party voted to urge all state entities to divest from coal, oil, and gas.
  • June 3: The bill passed the State Senate 22–14.
  • June 5: The Assembly Rules Committee assigned SB 185 to the appropriate policy committee.
  • June 24: The Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security passed the bill on a party-line vote, 5-1, and referred it to the Appropriations Committee, which will vote later this summer. The final vote by the entire Assembly is expected in late August.
  • August 22: SB 185 is on the suspense file for the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It will probably go to the Assembly floor for a final vote during the week of August 31.
  • August 27: SB 185 was approved by the Appropriations Committee 12–5 along party lines, setting the stage for a vote by the entire Assembly.
  • September 2: The Assembly passed the bill, 47–30.
  • October 8: Governor Brown signed SB 185.

What can you do?

If you’re a union member:

  • Ask your local and union to urge the pension fund that your retirees are members of (CalSTRS or CalPERS) to divest from all fossil fuels.

Want to learn more?

Check out our petition and information page to find more data and stories and photos about the effects of coal pollution. Coal accelerates global warming faster than any other fossil fuel. It causes disease and shortens lives. Oh, yes, it’s also a bad investment.

For more details about divestment and SB 185, read our Frequently Asked Questions. The official legislative description of the bill is here, and the full text is here.

 Divestment by these large and globally influential funds will:

Divestment will not:

  • Bankrupt fossil fuel companies in the foreseeable future
  • Reduce pension security for current fund members or retirees