Gov signs SB 350, most ambitious renewable energy law in US

Oct 8, 2015

Against a backdrop of Los Angeles smog, Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed a sweeping – though not nearly as sweeping as originally proposed – bill designed to reduce greenhouse gases and increase renewable energy use in California.  Chris Megerian and Javier Panzar , Los Angeles Times:


“The legislation, SB 350 by Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), was amended to remove a third component that would have required reduced gasoline use on California roads. The battle over the controversial proposal dominated the closing weeks of the legislative session last month.


“Despite ceding some ground in a tug-of-war with oil companies, Brown and De León have touted the remaining parts of the legislation as significant steps in California’s fight against climate change…


“The bill will require California to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, up from the current target of 33% by 2020.”


Even without the limit on petroleum use, de León’s bill sets the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the nationPaul Rogers and Louis Hansen, San Jose Mercury News:


“With huge new solar farms sprouting in the desert every few months and Silicon Valley driving much of the clean energy investment, the state now receives 25 percent of its electricity from renewables. Brown's act to double that at a signing ceremony in Los Angeles, however, sets in motion a green energy transformation for California over the next 15 years on a scale larger than anything any state has ever attempted.


"’It's huge,’ said Kathryn Phillips, state director for Sierra Club California. ‘It tells banks and utilities, and the people who make solar panels and windmills, that there is going to be a market. If you are thinking, “Should I invest in oil wells in Bakersfield or solar panels in Fresno,” the solar panels are now the better bet.’"


Though overshadowed by SB 350, the governor signed other bills Wednesday as well, including measures to suspend High School exit exams, require universities to adopt out dogs and cats retired from medical research, and designating cheerleading an interscholastic sport.


Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), the lead author of the Right-to-Die bill signed by the governor on Monday, came to the subject with more experience with death and dying than most.  Melanie Mason profiled Eggman for the Los Angeles Times:


A former combat medic, “[her] pivot toward hospice care came after she watched her godmother — her mother's best friend — die from cancer.


“Working with terminal patients became Eggman's passion and, perhaps paradoxically, a happy vocation.


"’In end-of-life work, there's a lot of joy,’ she said. ‘People are still living. We want to help you live every day until the end.’


“That attitude is not shared by many in what Eggman calls our ‘death-denying culture.’


“As she entered academia — completing a doctorate in social work at Portland State University just as Oregon's assisted-death law was going into effect and then teaching at CSU Sacramento — she noticed how much people avoided talking about the end.


"’People think they're immortal,’ she said. ‘It frightens them to think of their own death.’"


Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer has committed to supporting a ballot initiative proposing a $2 a pack tax on tobacco products.  Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times:


“The campaign comes after the California Legislature in September postponed taking action on a similar $2 cigarette tax to help fund Medi-Cal, the state’s public health care program for the poor and others in need. The legislation remains alive and still could be acted upon when lawmakers reconvene in January.


“Steyer, who has spent tens of millions of dollars backing Democrats vowing to fight global warming, adds substantial financial heft to a campaign expected to be bitterly opposed by the billion-dollar tobacco industry…


“Tobacco taxes in California have not increased since 1998, when voters approved Proposition 10, which added 50 cents a pack to support early childhood development programs.”


Former SF Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci published her first story at Politico California, noting that embattled congressman Mike Honda’s challenger, Ro Khanna, has more than twice as much cash on hand as the sitting legislator.


“Khanna, 39, a former Obama trade representative, raised $380,000 in the third quarter of 2015, with a net $1.3 million cash on hand, his campaign chair Steve Spinner told POLITICO California.


“Honda, 74, a fellow Democrat who represents California's 17th Congressional District based in San Jose, raised $350,000 and reported $545,000 cash on hand — not including debt — for the same period, according to spokesman Adam Alberti.”


And finally: this may come as a shock to you, but Sacramento is…cool.  Even cooler than Albuquerque.


Sacramento shows up at No. 4 on Huffpost Travel’s list of five “Secretly Cool Cities Where You Can Still Get in on the Ground Floor.


“Get a shave and a shot at Bottle & Barlow, a barber shop and bar, take a pickling class or pick up local goods at Preservation & Co., do your weekly shop at the year-round Sunday market across from Southside Park, ride the expanding light rail system or hop on two wheels and explore the scenic American River Trail, extending 32 miles from the Old Sacramento neighborhood out into the 'burbs.”


They neglected to mention Zelda’s Pizza, but that’s OK, we’ll just consider it an oversight…