2013 California Legislative Wrap-up

While September marks the start of a new year for schools across the nation, it marks the end of the legislative year for California’s state government. September 13 proved to be the day of reckoning, as each 2012-2013 bill either died in its respective house, or was approved by both houses and sent to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signature. Governor Brown now has until mid October to decide if he will sign a bill into law or veto it. Global Green took action on a number of important bills this session, some of which could help set policy nationwide. Unfortunately, it proved to be a tough year for environmental bills, with few true victories. SB 217, authored by Assembly Member Steven Bradford and Senator Kevin De Leon and otherwise known as the Equitable Access to Solar Energy bill, was adopted by the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s approval. Global Green supported this bill, as it builds off Global Green’s prior leadership in creating the statewide solar in affordable housing program. AB 217 continues the low-income solar rebate program through 2021, and ensures that the benefits of solar continue to reach lowincome families and communities that most need the energy cost savings and jobs.

AB 327, authored by Assembly Member Henry Perea, was adopted by the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature; Global Green OPPOSED this bill, and will support efforts to educate the Governor on why this bill should not be chaptered into law. This bill allows California’s three biggest electricity provides to add up to $10 per month to every customer’s bill, regardless of how much electricity a customer uses. This bill would automatically increase the payback period for rooftop solar systems or efficiency retrofits, thereby creating a disincentive for people to invest in either.

SB 37, authored by Senator De Leon, was the second attempt to give the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) the authority to establish an on-bill repayment (OBR) program. Global Green supported this bill, yet the bill unfortunately failed. Otherwise known as the Clean Energy Access Act, this bill would have expanded access to clean energy by allowing consumers to attain low cost financing for energy efficiency and repay the loan through their utility bill. Paying for clean energy loans or leases on one’s utility bill would allow consumers to see the direct energy savings from their investments. This idea continues to generate discussion and enthusiasm among environmental and other advocates, and we expect it to emerge once again in future legislative sessions.

We’ll continue to work with our environmental partners to reassess our approach and targets for the 2013-2014 legislative year.