Legislative update for July 9, 2020

Late-breaking news: The Senate on July 8 issued a LETTER stating that the Senate will NOT resume session on the week of July 13.

The legislature has published revised schedules for the remainder of the 2020 session.  For the Assembly schedule, click HERE.  For the Senate schedule, click HERE. All meetings are held in a modified version pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-25-20.   

Below is the list of several, but not all of the key bills that we are tracking, listed in the following categories, all in numerical order in each category:

  • Highlighted bills
  • Assembly bills
  • Senate bills
  • Bills that we have reported on that have not been active or have died

Note that the last category is a new feature to these updates. For a complete list of the 131 bills we are currently tracking in 2020, click HERE. Our next update will be published here on June 11. Please send updates, suggestions, corrections to woody@theclimatecenter.org

Highlighted Bills:

AB 78 (Multiple co-authors) SUPPORT – This is a bill that establishes a “climate catalyst revolving loan fund.”  STATUS: Signed by the Governor.

AB 345 (Muratsuchi) SUPPORT – This bill will, if enacted, establish regulations to protect public health and safety near oil and gas extraction facilities, including a minimum setback distance between oil and gas activities and sensitive receptors such as schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, residences, hospitals, and health clinics. See The Climate Center’s January Letter of Support and more recent sign-on Letter of Support. STATUS: In the Senate. Referred to the Sen Natural Resources and Water Committee on July 1. Likely to be heard on July 16.

Assembly Bills

AB 1001 (Ting) SUPPORT – This bill would establish the School Disaster Resiliency Act, which would require the Energy Commission to administer a program to provide loans to school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools for school resiliency projects. STATUS: In the Senate Education Committee.

AB 3014 (Muratsuchi) – This bill would require the commission to make specified determinations relating to distributed energy resources and the electric transmission and distribution systems by January 1, 2022. Status: Last heard in Committee on May 5 and re-referred to the Asm Energy Committee.

AB 3256 (Eduardo Garcia, Bloom, Bonta, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Mullin, Reyes, and Wood, and Coauthors: Assemblymembers Eggman and Robert Rivas) SUPPORT – This bill would place a General Obligation Bond on the November 2020 ballot. This bill would enact the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $6,980,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance projects for a wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, climate resilience, drought preparation, and flood protection program. STATUS: Referred by Approps to the Rules Comm. on June 8. No hearing date set.

Senate Bills

SB 808 (Mitchell) – Budget Bill. See this June 22 CalMatters Article for details.

SB 1215 (Stern) – Would require the CPUC, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Services, to create a database of critical facilities and critical infrastructure, and related critical circuits that are located in tier 2 or tier 3 high fire-threat districts served by electrical corporations, and identify with respect to each whether it serves a low-income and disadvantaged community. The bill would require an electrical corporation, electric service provider, or CCA, upon request, to collaborate with local governments within its service area to identify critical circuits and microgrid projects. The Climate Center has supported this bill in the past but is evaluating recent amendments. STATUS: In Asm U&E Committee.

SB 1258 (Stern) SUPPORT – Titled the California Climate Technology and Infrastructure Financing Act, this bill would enact the California Climate Technology and Infrastructure Financing Act to require the California Infrastructure Bank (IBank), in consultation with specified agencies to administer the Climate Catalyst Revolving Fund, which the bill would establish to provide financial assistance to eligible climate catalyst projects. STATUS: Heard in Sen. Approps. June 18: Held in committee and under submission

Bills that we have reported on that have not been active or have died

AB 1839 (Bonta) WATCH – The “Green New Deal” bill. Introduced on January 6, this bill would create the California Green New Deal Council with a specified membership appointed by the Governor. The bill would require the California Green New Deal Council to submit a specified report to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2022. So far the plan is scant on specifics including how goals will be met or how much the State will pay to meet those goals. STATUS: In Asm, referred to Comm. on Natural Resources on 5/11.

AB 1847 (Levine) WATCH – This bill would authorize the CPUC (contingent on the Commission finding that an electrical corporation is not complying with State law, rules, or regulations) to appoint a public administrator to the electrical corporation for a period not to exceed 180 days. The bill would vest the public administrator with oversight authority over the electrical corporation’s activities that impact public safety. See the bill author’s factsheet. STATUS: In the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee. No hearing date set.

AB 2145 (Ting) SUPPORT – This bill would state the intent of the legislature to enact legislation to reform the electric vehicle charging infrastructure approval process employed by the CPUC to help ensure that by 2030 California will safely install enough EV charging ports to meet the demand through public and private investment. STATUS: In Assembly, referred to the Asm U&E committee on May 5.

AB 2689 (Kalra) SUPPORT – This bill updates Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) confidentiality provisions to allow a broader range of market experts to participate in complex IOU cost recovery proceedings and supports California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) oversight to protect customers from unreasonable or unjustified IOU rate increases. California IOU electric generation rates have increased 49% since 2013. Between 2008 and 2018, IOU customer rates doubled from $29.3 billion to $59.3 billion per year. AB 2689 would result in greater IOU accountability and improved consumer protection, safety, and affordability. The California Community Choice Association is a sponsor of this bill. STATUS: Referred to the Asm U&E committee on May 5.

AB 2789 (Kamlager) WATCH – This bill would appropriate $1,500,000 and require the CPUC, in consultation with the CA Energy Commission, to request the California Council on Science and Technology to undertake and complete a study, as specified, relative to electrical grid outages and cost avoidance resulting from deployment of eligible renewable energy resources, battery storage systems, and demand response technologies. The bill would require the PUC to report the results of the study to the Legislature by January 1, 2022. STATUS: Awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.

AB 3014 (Muratsuchi) SUPPORT – This bill aims to improve the reliability of California electric supply by reforming the State’s resource adequacy (RA) program. Specifically, this bill creates the Central Reliability Authority (CRA), a non-profit public benefit corporation, to purchase residual RA needed to meet state requirements while still allowing load-serving entities (LSEs), such as Community Choice Agencies (CCAs), to maintain their procurement autonomy. The newly created CRA also reduces costly RA purchases currently undertaken by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and greatly enhances the RA market. The California Community Choice Association is a sponsor of this bill. STATUS: Referred to the Asm U&E committee on May 5.

AB 3021 (Ting) SUPPORT – Read The Climate Center’s SUPPORT LETTER. This bill would appropriate $300,000,000 per fiscal year in the 2020–21, 2021–22, and 2022–23 fiscal years from the General Fund to the California Energy Commission to administer a program to provide resiliency grant funding and technical assistance to local educational agencies for the installation of energy storage systems. STATUS: Double-referred to Education and Natural Resources committees.

AB 3251 (Bauer-Kahan) WATCH – This bill has been withdrawn by the  author. It would require that charging of energy storage systems be treated as load in calculations for demand response programs, and that capacity from energy storage systems installed on the customer side of the meter be allowed to be aggregated for purposes of determining resource adequacy capacity; and electricity exported to the grid from the customer side of the meter be allowed to count toward the capacity obligations of load-serving entities. STATUS: WITHDRAWN by author.

SB 45 (Allen, et al) SUPPORT – Dubbed the “Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020.” This is a proposed $5.51 billion general obligation bond to be placed on the November 3, 2020 statewide general election. Specifically, $570 million will be made available for climate resiliency initiatives including microgrids, distributed generation, storage systems, in-home backup power, and community resiliency centers such as cooling centers, clean air centers, hydration stations, and emergency shelters. STATUS: Passed out of Senate, in the Assembly, held at the desk.

SB 378 (Wiener) WATCH – Would establish customer and local government protections related to Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) incidents. Specifically, the bill requires IOUs to provide annual reports to the Wildfire Safety Division within the CPUC on the condition of their electrical equipment and provide maintenance logs to assess fire safety risk. The bill also requires the CPUC to develop procedures for consumers and local governments to recover costs from IOUs accrued during PSPS events, improves PSPS notification procedures, and makes IOUs subject to civil fines if the CPUC determines that the IOU failed to act in a reasonable and prudent manner. STATUS: In the Assembly, pending committee referral.

SB 774 (Stern) WATCH – SB 774 would require IOUs to collaborate with the State’s Office of Emergency of Services and others to identify where back-up electricity sources may provide increased electrical distribution grid resiliency and would allow the IOUs to file applications with the CPUC to invest in, and deploy, microgrids to increase resiliency. Concerns focus on too much control being placed in the hands of the IOUs over microgrid development when other LSEs and stakeholders can and should play a role. STATUS: In the Assembly committee process with no committee assignment and no hearing date.

SB 1240 (Skinner) The Climate Center was a sponsor of this bill. This bill has been withdrawn by the author due to the health crisis. The author is committed to re-introducing a similar bill in the 2021 session. It would require the California Energy Commission to identify and evaluate options for transforming the electrical corporations’ (Investor Owned Utilities’) distribution grids into more open access platforms that would allow local governments and other third parties like CCAs to participate more easily in grid activities.

SB 1314 (Dodd) The Climate Center was a sponsor of this bill. This bill has been withdrawn by the author due to the health crisis. The author is committed to re-introducing a similar bill in the 2021 session. This bill would have required the Strategic Growth Council to develop and implement a grant program for local governments to develop community energy resilience plans.

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