The (summer) recess bell rings: mid-session legislative update

Joshua Stark Headshot

Each year the California Legislature takes a month-long break from business in the Capitol Building – a summer vacation, if you will. This gives us advocates a moment to take a breath, step back for a bit, and look around at the legislative field before bills start moving again in August. TransForm has been advocating for a number of great bills this year, and indeed, many of them are still alive and moving on closer to the finish line.  Here’s a rundown:

AB 2222 (Holden, D-Pasadena)

AB 2222 keeps advancing!

TransForm and Move L.A.’s co-sponsored bill to create a transit pass program for low income 6-12th grade and college students passed nearly unanimously out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee last week, and the Senate Environmental Quality Committee this week. This bill, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden, would effectively create a new and important transit pass program, but no longer has a specified funding source. As we push for the passage of AB 2222, we are also working with legislators to dedicate funding for the program.

We are grateful to Assemblymember Holden for authoring and fighting so hard for this bill. Without his efforts, AB 2222 would have died months ago. Instead, he continues to work this bill so effectively that it maintains strong, bipartisan support.

We also thank Senator Jim Beall for his support of the bill in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. As committee chair, his “aye” vote encouraged others to get behind the bill, and it advanced with a strong majority.

And finally, we know how important it is for our state leaders to hear from their constituents – so thank you to the hundreds of people who took action and emailed their Legislators in support of AB 2222.

AB 2222’s next stop is in Senate Appropriations, where it faces a stiff challenge. TransForm and our allies continue to staunchly support this bill, and our supporters have grown in number and diversity. 

Reduced transit fares as proposed by AB 2222 would help thousands of low-income students throughout the state more easily get to class, work, and other destinations on the path to a better future. Please stay tuned for ways to help bring AB 2222 into law.

AB 2796 (Bloom, D-Santa Monica)

Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s bill to ensure funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure planning and non-infrastructure programs also passed out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Now it’s on its way to Senate Appropriations. While it was amended to reduce the total percentage of dollars dedicated to these important components of an equitable transportation policy, it remains a very important bill.

AB 2722 (Burke, D-Inglewood)

Assemblymember Autumn Burke’s bill would create a new Transformative Climate Communities Program within the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). Transformative Climate Communities would be a competitive grant program for disadvantaged communities throughout the state to fund projects and programs identified by their own residents. The purpose is to target more funding toward projects that improve local air quality, water quality, and other environmental impacts of climate change for communities that have historically been excluded from economic prosperity and environmental health.

The bill passed out of Senate Environmental Quality on a 5-2 vote, and is headed for Senate Appropriations.

AB 1550 (Gomez, D-Los Angeles)

AB 1550 would strengthen the requirement for dollars from carbon cap-and-trade auctions to go to disadvantaged communities, and add a percentage to benefit low-income households. The bill also passed out of Senate Environmental Quality on a 5-1-0 vote.

SB 1000 (Leyva, D-Chino)

Senator Leyva’s bill would integrate an Environmental Justice element into city and county general plans (such as goals, policies, and objectives). This bill would help local and regional leaders take a direct look at the impacts of air and water quality, toxins, and other environmental factors on their most vulnerable populations.

This great bill passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on a 6-3 vote, and is on its way to Assembly Appropriations.

SB 32 (Pavley, D-Agoura Hills)

SB 32 may turn out to be the biggest deal of the year when it comes to climate and equity. This bill would extend and strengthen AB 32 – our current climate policy which expires in 2020 – by setting a higher goal for reducing climate pollution by 2030 (specifically, reducing climate pollution by 40% below 1990 levels). 

SB 32 was blocked last year by oil industry lobbyists, but Senator Fran Pavley has brought it back and it passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee with a 5-2 vote. We expect this to be a hot debate once the Legislature is back in August, so expect to hear from us about ways you can help soon.

While the Legislature is taking a break, we won’t be slowing down our movement to pass AB 2222 and support these other great bills that would make California a more connected and sustainable place for everyone to live and get around. For more information on the legislation TransForm supports, visit our website.

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About This Blog

TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.