While Washington DC sinks into a political swamp and the nation’s chief executive is melting down, California’s legislature is making history, thanks in large part to San Diego Democrats. Their accomplishments, even when they fall short of progressive expectations, are a welcome contrast to the vileness we see coming from the other coast.
President Donald Trump warned evangelicals on Monday that his policies will be “violently” overturned if Democrats win in November’s mid-term elections. He’s gone full-blown conspiracy-theory crazy, so let’s focus today on some better news.
The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 (SB100) was approved by a vote of 43-32 in the assembly on Tuesday.
SB100, requiring 100% of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045 passed a crucial vote following a passionate floor speech by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and an intensive whipping effort State Senator Kevin DeLeon. Gonzalez-Fletcher and Assemblyman Todd Gloria were the original the co-authors of the bill.
The commitment to carbon-free power came not long after the release of a sobering report detailing the effects of climate change on the state.
California stands to lose up to two-thirds of its beaches to erosion (by 2100), and a similar portion of its water supply (by 2050), depending on how quickly the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the report found.
By the start of the next century, average summer temperatures are set to rise between 5 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average area burned during yearly wildfires will increase by 75%.
The move by California, which is the most populated state in the union and the world’s fifth-largest economy, could be game-changing in moving the U.S. to a cleaner energy economy if it wasn’t for a certain orange-faced menace in the White House.
Last week, the Republican administration rolled its plan to undermine more Obama-era pollution restrictions, this time on coal-fired power plants. Instead of the tough regulations under the Clean Power Act, which forced utilities to start switching to solar, wind, geothermal and other sources of renewable energy, Trump’s “Affordable Clean Energy” plan allows utilities to return to burning coal in states that have no interest in restricting carbon emissions.
In Sacramento, legislators rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
From Daily Kos:
Despite that final total, the win was anything but a slam dunk. Although the majority of the opposition came from Republicans, 13 Democratic fence-straddlers held off voting for it. In the first tally Tuesday, the bill fell four short of passage. But De León, who is also running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, spent the afternoon working on those reluctant legislators, ultimately convincing enough of them to support the bill.
Miller [chair of the California Democratic Environmental Caucus], De León and other advocates had been determined not to let happen this year what happened in 2017 when the bill was defeated in the legislature by public utilities and a powerful northern California union citing costs and feasibility issues. Organizers enlisted activists ranging from barely old enough to vote college freshmen all the way to Al Gore to put the squeeze on legislators still reluctant to vote aye. The Climate Reality Project, Gore’s organization, is in Los Angeles this week, focusing on teaching some 2,200 people how to push for green policies on the local and federal levels. They got one quick-and-easy lesson when Gore urged them to call California legislators to spur a yes vote on SB100.
In a Friday letter to lawmakers Friday, Gore wrote: “I hope California will once again rise to the occasion and put the Golden State on a path to 100% clean energy by the middle of the century. This action will be seen around the world as a major step forward on our path toward a sustainable future.”
Our state is also in the news as Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB10 (The California Money Bail Reform Act), which essentially eliminates cash bail.
From the Guardian:
Each county will use the council’s framework as a basis to set its own procedures for deciding whom to release before trial, potentially creating a patchwork system based on where a suspect lives.
Most suspects arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors will be released within 12 hours of being booked under the new law. Those facing serious, violent felonies will not be eligible for pretrial release.
The legislation gives officials 24 hours to determine whether other suspects should be released before trial. That time can be extended by 12 hours if necessary.
Changes to the rules governing pretrial release have been considered, and rejected, in the Legislature for decades. Each time, the status quo prevailed.
Although the elimination of cash bail is considered to be a major reform, not everybody was happy about the language in SB10.
“SB 10 puts all Californians on equal footing before the law and makes public safety the only consideration in pretrial detention. This critical reform is long overdue,” Toni Atkins, Senate president pro tempore, said in a statement. [Atkins was one of te bill’s authors.]
But the ACLU in California expressed disappointment over the bill, saying it “is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that California should strive for.”
“It cannot guarantee a substantial reduction in the number of Californians detained while awaiting trial, nor does it sufficiently address racial bias in pretrial decision making,” said the three executive directors of the California ACLU affiliates, Abdi Soltani (Northern California), Hector Villagra (Southern California) and Norma Chávez Peterson (San Diego & Imperial Counties). “Indeed, key provisions of the new law create significant new risks and problems.”
The changes won’t happen until October 2019. But since the bill threatens the existence of the bail bonds industry, representatives of those businesses are talking about the possibility of an industry-backed referendum to invalidate the law.
Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s bill requiring training for persons permitted to carry concealed weapons received final bipartisan approval on Monday and is now on Gov., Jerry Brown’s desk.
AB 2103, introduced in February by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, mandate a minimum of eight hours of training and live-fire shooting exercises to obtain a concealed carry permit in California. Under current state law, no training is required to acquire a concealed carry permit and/or weapon, he said.
The gun control groups Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety sponsored the bill, which is strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association, Gloria said…
…Wendy Wheatcroft, leader of the California chapter of Moms Demand Action, said the legislation would “solidify California’s status as a leader in gun safety. This bill can prevent tragedy before it strikes by ensuring concealed weapons holders demonstrate that they can operate a firearm safely.”
I get it that our elected representatives in Sacramento can and do fall short. But as these three bills–and others recently passed but not included in this column–indicate there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about what our state can accomplish, especially in light of the doom and gloom coming out of the nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, in Florida…
Wondered how long it would take for this to happen in Florida Gubernatorial race. Answer? 15 hours after polls closed. https://t.co/28Y0RNlBMq
— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) August 29, 2018
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