State legislation in California is our state’s central tool both in addressing climate change and in pushing back on the regressive environmental policies of the Trump administration. In 2015, Fossil Free California was a leader in the fight to pass SB 185 – the first (and still the only) divestment bill to pass a state legislature. The bill requires CalSTRS and CalPERS to divest from thermal coal.
In 2017, Fossil Free California is following key climate-related legislation, and educating and advocating about important bills.
Fossil Free California’s Legislative team works with 350 Bay Area and with 350 local groups throughout California to select, review, and set priorities for our legislative work. Through our membership in Green California, a consortium of more than 100 environmental groups statewide, we partner with other climate leaders to ensure passage of key legislation. Our legislative volunteers join delegations to legislators’ district offices, give public comment at committee hearings, and write letters to legislators and newspapers about the issues we follow.
With our partner Environment California, we sponsored SB 560 (authored by Sen. Ben Allen of Santa Monica), a bill that will define “financial climate risk” in law and require CalPERS and CalSTRS to consider and report on climate risk in their portfolios. SB 560 was held in Senate Appropriations this spring, and will be re-introduced in January, 2018.
Other bills that Fossil Free California has endorsed (or opposed) in 2017:
- SB 100: Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León’s bill requires utilities to sell 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. See fact sheet.
- SB 488: A bill that passed the Senate unanimously but was amended in the Assembly Insurance Committee to essentially bar our state’s Insurance Commissioner from continuing his groundbreaking work requiring insurance companies to disclose climate risk and fossil fuel holdings in their vast investment portfolios. See this letter, drafted by Fossil Free California with the Center for International Environmental Law in New York, to legislative leaders in Sacramento asking them to remove the poison pill language from the bill. FFCA’s position is “oppose unless amended” to remove the language.
- SB 49, SB 50, and SB 51: The State Senate’s package of bills protecting California’s environmental regulations, public lands, whistleblowers, and scientific data from Trump. See press release.
- SB 188: Senator Hannah Beth Jackson’s bill prohibiting oil and gas leases, and some transport, in federal waters off California. See the Assembly Appropriations Committee summary.
- SB 775: We endorsed the Senate leadership’s bill reforming the state’s Cap and Trade program after 2020. Unfortunately, this bill never made it out of its first committee. It was replaced by…
- AB 398: A compromise bill promoted by the Governor, which FFCA opposed. The bill passed with bipartisan support, which may have been a silver lining.
- AB 617: The companion bill to SB 378, designed to clarify and strengthen powers of the local air districts to regulate pollutants with the exception of CO2 (which is regulated under cap and trade). We took an “oppose unless amended” position, but the bill was not sufficiently amended, in our view.
- ACA 1: We opposed this part of the cap and trade deal, which puts a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018. If passed by the voters, the amendment will hold all cap and trade funds collected after January 1, 2024, until both houses of the legislature agree with 2/3 majorities on a spending allocation plan for those funds. After the vote, future cap and trade funds will be allocated per the usual process, or whatever the legislature decides (by majority vote).
- AB 262: Assembly member Rob Bonta’s “Buy Clean” bill, requiring state procurement processes to take greenhouse gas emissions into account. See attached fact sheet.
- SB 263: Senator Leyva’s bill creating Climate Assistance Centers in low-income communities. This bill was also held in Senate Appropriations, and may be back next year.
- SB 57: Henry Stern’s bill placing a moratorium on reopening the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility until all causes of the leak are understood and a safety review is complete. This important bill never made it out of the Senate, but work to make the facility safe continues.
Information about bills (full text, current status, etc.) is available at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Sign up for a free account to track bills and to be notified when there are changes.