2015-16 Session Kicks Off

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Dec. 4, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Every two years legislators return in early December to officially gavel in a new legislative session. Many incumbents promptly leave town for the rest of the month while freshman scramble to find the bathroom, hire staff and settle in to their new offices.

As California continues to experience the early impacts of the top-two primary system that no longer pits a democrat against a republican in the general election along with reformed term limits that allow legislators to serve up to 12 years in one house, a significant statistic emerges with more than half of legislators at the State Capitol having two years or less experience in office.

Assembly Committee Chairs Announced

One of the earliest indications about where the State Legislature is headed is the announcement of committee chairmanships that paint a picture of upcoming policy issue debates and the layout of the Capitol power structure. In an early announcement State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) released a list of committee chair appointments. Full committee memberships are expected to be announced before the end of the year. The State Senate has yet to announce any appointments, but rumors abound.

Post-2020 Climate Change Policy, Fuels Under the Cap Ban Amongst Early Bills

No fewer than six bills were introduced in the first two days of the 2015-16 session demonstrating that California’s direction on greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be a major topic of debate for the year ahead. Among the seven bills are three Republican measures that exempt transportation fuels from California’s Cap-and-Trade system. Currently, transportation fuels and natural gas are set to come under the cap on January 1, 2015, but none of the three bills would delay implementation and at best would reverse the inclusion of fuels at a later date.

  • AB 23 by Assembly Member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno)
  • SB 1 by Senator Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin)
  • SB 5 by Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford)

Three more bills seek to set the stage for the debate over California’s plan to go beyond AB 32’s 2020 timeframe with more stringent goals for emissions reductions. In its AB 32 Scoping Plan, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) sets greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80 percent by 2050 as a goal. However, AB 32 only authorized action through 2020, so new legislation is required to implement that goal. One of the primary differences between the three measures is in which entity will establish the ultimate 2050 goal and what, if any, midterm targets will be set for 2030 and 2040.

  • AB 21 by Assembly Member Henry Perea (D-Fresno)
  • AB 33 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk (D-Hayward)
  • SB 32 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)

CMTA is already tracking these and other bills introduced in the first couple days of what will be a very active session on a number of policy fronts important to California manufacturers. 

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