2014 California Legislation


It's in the Bag: California Ban on Single-use Plastic Bags Is a Win for Oceans

By Karen Garrison

Natural Resources Defense Council

On Tuesday, we toasted healthier oceans and Governor Brown’s leadership in signing a landmark law to help keep the estimated 13 billion single-use plastic bags used in California every year from polluting our waters and lands. Building on the action taken by more than 100 local communities in the state, State Senator Alex Padilla authored SB 270 to ban single-use plastic bags from distribution by major retailers. He did an outstanding job of building a broad coalition of support. The Senator himself said it well: “A throw-away society is not sustainable. With SB 270 we have an opportunity to greatly reduce the flow of billions of single-use plastic bags that are discarded throughout our state. This is good for California and reflects our values as a state that cares about the environment, sea life and wildlife.”

Senate Committee Approves Fracking Moratorium Bill

By Dan Bacher

The California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on April 8 passed SB 1132, legislation that will place a moratorium on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and well stimulation until the state fully studies the impact of the oil extraction on California's air and water quality, public health and economy.

The bill, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and Senator Mark Leno, will next be considered by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 30, 2014.

Driverless Vehicle Regs Must Protect Users' Privacy

By John Simpson

I was up in Sacramento recently to call on the Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure that the regulations that they are developing to govern the use of autonomous vehicles – popularly known as driverless cars –will protect the operators’ privacy.

The company that will be most directly affected by the new autonomous vehicle regulations is Google, which is pioneering development of the robot-driven cars. The Internet giant was the driving force behind SB 1298, which charged the DMV with the task of developing the regulations and also rebuffed attempts to require privacy protections in the law.

Paid Sick Days a Win-Win for California

By Krista Collard

California Labor Federation

Every time I start to feel under the weather, I’m reminded of the wise words of a former supervisor. During cold and flu season she would always remind us that if we’re not feeling well or even just a little “off,” we should stay home. She’d sweetly say, “We don’t need a hero, guys. If you’re sick, please don’t come into the office. Stay home. Rest up.”

She had been around long enough to know that it took just one person trying to work with a cold to pass it around, and before long the whole staff would be down for the count. While she genuinely cared about our health and wellbeing, any smart supervisor understands that if the entire staff is ill, productivity goes down the tubes.

State Senators Mitchell and Leno Introduce Fracking Moratorium Bill

By Dan Bacher

State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) have introduced legislation that would impose a moratorium on fracking and acidization in order to protect California’s air and water from pollution caused by this dangerous form of oil and gas extraction.

The bill was introduced as California reels from a record drought and Governor Jerry Brown continues to support the expansion of fracking in California and the construction of the fish-killing peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

Soda Tax Myths: The Arkansas Argument

By Dana Woldow

California state Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) is once again trying to pass statewide legislation to add a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks, to fund statewide childhood obesity prevention activities and programs. The media's response to Monning's proposed measure, no doubt fueled by beverage industry propaganda, provides a preview of what we can expect to see in February when San Francisco Supervisors introduce legislation to levy a 2 cents per ounce tax on distributors of soda and other sugary soft drinks.