(Last update – Feb 28, 2021)
We are just starting the 2021 legislative season, all initial bills now having been submitted. We are looking to see which clean energy related bills warrant our being involved in advocating for (or against), with the 350 Bay Area Action Legislative Team. Last year’s session was a dramatically scaled down version with much of the concern having been on the budget for the state due to lack of tax revenue due to the economic downturn and lack of support from the federal government for the effects of COVID on the economy. Only a few bills that legislators started the year with were allowed to go forward. “Clean Energy”, per se, was not focused in 2020, or, for that matter, climate related bills in general. This year there seems to be a willingness to put forth more bills.
Last year, all bills we had been involved with that were related to clean energy on the Assembly side were not allowed to go forward, and only one, SB 1215 related to microgrids, on the Senate side did. That one, which 350 Bay Area Action supported, did pass the Senate, but it was referred to the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities whose Chair, Asm. Holden, refused to allow it to move forward. Some bills showed up, taking the place of what had been associated with another bill number. SB 350, a bill carried over from the previous year, is one that completely changed on May 13th of last year, into a bill about how the state could take over PG&E if it fails to achieve what it is required to do after it comes out of bankruptcy. That bill, after it changed, rather quickly, went through the steps it needed to and went to the Governor on June 29th and he quickly signed it into law the next day. The 350 Bay Area Action Legislative Team sent in Letters of Support for both SB 1215 before it died, and SB 350. A “gut and amend” bill, AB 841, (similar process to SB 350 above) arose on 7/27, was amended again on 8/11. 350 Bay Area Action also supported this one. It had to do with EV charging infrastructure, school energy efficiency, and even school ventilation re: to COVID. It did make it through to the Governor’s desk and he signed it finally on Sept. 30th. See 350 Bay Area Action for more information on all bills.
In the state legislature in 2019, there were a few bills that this campaign had been watching closely and taking positions on that were important for the future of Clean Energy in the state and locally. They were mostly bills that affect Community Choice Energy and had gone through a process of being amended and required close monitoring. Our campaign’s discussion of bills occurred mostly in regular meetings of 350 Bay Area Action’s Legislative Committee. Supporting legislation to raise the threshold for how much electricity in California must come from renewable sources and stopping legislation that tries to hamper Community Choice Energy, a very effective way to increase the pace of development of local, renewable energy, are high priorities of this campaign and complements our work on similar issues in rule-makings at the CPUC.
In 2018, of course, there was SB 100 (sets a goal for the state of reaching 100% clean energy for electricity by 2045) which was former President Pro Tem Senator Kevin De Leon’s bill from 2017. In late August of 2018, it passed the Assembly, barely, right at the end of the legislative session, which was all it needed to do at that point after having passed the Senate in 2017. And then just before the Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Brown signed it into law, making Hawaii and California the only two states with that goal signed into law. This bill was a high priority of the Legislative Team and many in 350 Bay Area Action worked hard on this. It was a focus of the Clean Energy/Clean Air Campaign of 350 Bay Area to educate people about it, but also of everyone in 350 Bay Area Action working on legislation. And there were so many other organizations also working on it. Here is the website where you can still see by clicking on “supporters” at the top and scrolling down, all the groups that were pushing for SB100 to pass: https://ca100.org/ .
Please consider getting involved with us this year. If interested, send an email to Ken Jones at Ken@350BayArea.org.