Suspense Builds: Do or Die for Legislation

Next week, the legislative appropriations committees, those that look at the potential cost a new law might have for the state, will be deciding which of those bills are worthy enough to continue moving through the legislative process and which are simply too costly. All bills that have a cost are sent to the Suspense list for the appropriation committees so they can be evaluated and prioritized, and given the tight budget constraints the legislature currently faces, it is likely that many of the hundreds of suspense bills will not live beyond next week.

There are several important environmental bills on the Suspense list PCL will be watching this next week. These include:

AB 1998 (Brownley): Plastic Bags: This bill prohibits a store from distributing single-use bags, helping to reduce a significant source of waste and ocean pollution.

AB 2139 (Chesbro): Solid Waste: Product Stewardship: This bill creates a Product Stewardship Program for three types of hazardous products that typically end up in the waste-stream: home-generated sharps (needles), pesticides, and non-refillable propane cylinders. This program will help ensure products that are less toxic, more durable and easier to recycle when they enter the waste stream.

AB 2176 (Blumenfield): Efficient Lighting: This bill encourage the movement toward energy efficient bulbs, such as compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs), by  establishing a producer responsibility program for mercury-containing lamps and a fee program for “inefficient” lamps. 

AB 2289 (Eng): Smog Check: This bill saves consumers time and money and helps improve our air quality by strengthening the state’s smog check program.

AB 2376 (Huffman): Strategic Vision for DFG & F&G Commission: This bill would direct the Natural Resources Agency to convene a cabinet-level panel to develop a strategic vision for the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and the Fish & Game Commission (DFGC).  Additionally, this bill would require an examination of strategies to bolster DFG and DFGC ability to meet the challenges of the 21st century, including but not limited to adapting to climate change, State budget uncertainties, and growing impediments to the enforcement of public trust laws and regulations. 

AB 2575 (Chesbro): Watershed Resources:  This bill focuses on two proposed pilot projects to be conducted by the California Department of Forestry (CalFIRE) to demonstrate sound techniques for quantitatively assessing the effects of logging operations on soil, air, water, wildlife and climate, and to protect and repair salmon and steelhead habitat.  Evaluating and addressing the cumulative impacts of multiple timber harvests in a watershed over time is crucial to protecting watershed health, endangered species, public safety, and the long-term economic value of timberlands. 

SB 918 (Pavley): Recycled Water: This bill directs the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to complete public safety standards for using recycled water to recharge groundwater basins and augment surface storage. This will ensure the development of a safe, cost-effective, and drought-proof source of new water for the state.

SB 1006 (Pavley): Climate Change: Strategic Growth Council: This bill would require the Strategic Growth Council to provide guidelines and information to local agencies to assist them in developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies for projects which use nonstructural approaches to protect communities, and protect or enhance natural ecosystem functions.  It would also clarify the grant eligibility list to include joint power authorities and Metropolitan Planning Organizations, special districts and other local government organizations.