California’s Legislature returns to the Capitol on August 16 to begin the four-week home stretch of this year’s session, with the fates of hundreds of bills to be decided. Here are some of the bills we’re working on:
RELIEF FROM THOSE NOISY, SMELLY LEAF BLOWERS AND LAWN MOWERS
Shockingly, the smog-forming emissions from small off-road engines like lawn and garden equipment are higher than from all the cars in California. Assemblymember Marc Berman’s AB 1346 would tell the Air Resources Board that it’s time to phase out sales of the gas-powered versions in favor of much cleaner – and quieter — electric alternatives.
CLEANER CARS AND TRUCKS
AB 970, authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty and sponsored by Coalition for Clean Air and Electrify America, would streamline the process of permitting charging stations for battery-electric vehicles. A recent report by the Energy Commission found that the state needs to do much more to install charging infrastructure, but many local governments are dragging their feet. The Governor’s Office of Business Development reports that most of California’s cities and counties have not streamlined their permitting processes, even though it’s required by law.
Freshman Senator Dave Min is getting out ahead of technological progress with SB 500, which would assure that all autonomous vehicles would emit no pollution. This is a very smart policy, because automation of internal combustion cars would drive emissions up by making more trips possible.
SB 726, by Senator Lena Gonzalez, and AB 1389, by Assemblymember Eloise Reyes, would update the Clean Transportation Program at the California Energy Commission, which invests in advanced technologies to move people and goods without damaging our health and climate. Both bills would assure that the CEC’s clean transportation investments focus on helping people in our most disadvantaged and low-income communities.
REDUCING VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED
AB 1147, authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, would address a problem that our state badly needs to tackle — reducing the miles traveled by our vehicles. Reducing vehicle miles travelled and making it easier for people to walk, bike or take public transit will cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and improve health. The bill would improve a “Sustainable Communities” process that has not been effective.
Assemblymember Friedman has also introduced AB 1401, which would prohibit a local government from imposing a minimum parking requirement, or enforcing a minimum parking requirement, on residential, commercial, or other development if the development is located near public transit. This is important to lower housing costs and to prioritize land use patterns that foster sustainable modes of transportation.