Climate and Equity Bills by Senator Josh Becker Advance in the State Assembly
SACRAMENTO – Five climate and equity bills by State Senator Josh Becker cleared a major hurdle today when the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee passed the legislation, giving them a green light to advance to the full Assembly for a vote.
“My bills are a very important step closer to the finish line as we head into the final two weeks of my first legislative year,” said Senator Becker, D-Peninsula. “I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues in both houses who have enabled my bills to advance.”
Bills must be passed by the Legislature by September 10 to be considered by Governor Newsom this year.
“We must do more, and we must move faster to combat climate change and enable California to achieve its ambitious goals. My SB 596 on low carbon cement and SB 68 to make building electrification easier would put California on a stronger path to clean energy and net zero emissions,” said Senator Becker, who is vice chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Climate Change Policies.
SB 596: Decarbonizing Cement
Strongly supported by environmental advocates and California’s leading cement industry group, SB 596 provides a strategy to achieve cement with net zero emissions by 2045. The bill would make California “the leader in decarbonizing one of the hardest to decarbonize industries,” Senator Becker said.
Producing 2% of the state’s emissions, cement manufacturing is the single largest source of emissions in the California’s industrial sector after oil and gas. Globally, cement production accounts for 7% of all carbon emissions.
SB 68: Clearing the Path to Clean Energy Buildings
SB 68 makes it easier for owners to convert their property into electricity powered homes and buildings. The bill aims to lower costs and reduce delays for property owners seeking to update their electrical panels to accommodate electrical heating of rooms and water, vehicle charging, solar power, and energy storage.
“We need people to make these changes, so we must make this process easier,” said Senator Becker.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee also passed legislation by Senator Becker on justice reforms for sentencing modification eligibility and waivers of civil court fees, and to ensure fairness in voter registration.
SB 775: Equitable Sentencing
SB 775 clarifies existing law so people who are convicted of attempted murder or manslaughter, and are the least culpable in such cases, have the right to petition for sentences that better align with their crimes. Current law allows others convicted of more serious charges in such cases to seek modified sentences, but the least culpable are not allowed to do so. This reform would aid hundreds of incarcerated people who were deemed ineligible to petition for sentencing modification because of a legal technicality.
SB 355: Expanding Access to Civil Court Fee Waivers
SB 355 improves access to civil justice by updating the eligibility criteria for low-income Californians seeking a waiver of filing fees and other costs associated with litigation. Current criteria for automatically qualifying for a waiver are tied to the federal poverty level, which does not accurately reflect the true cost of living for Californians. Inspired by Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, SB 355 is supported by more than a dozen legal aid and advocacy groups.
SB 504: Voter Registration Equity
SB 504 ensures that Californians who were involved in the criminal justice system and have paid their debt to society are not inadvertently removed from voter registration rolls. The bill also ensures that members of the military, other Californians overseas, and individuals who are living with disabilities have equal access to remote same-day voter registration as other Californians.
2021 Bill Portfolio
In all, eight bills by Senator Becker are moving through the Legislature.
In addition to the five passed by Assembly Appropriations today, two await a floor vote by the Assembly:
In the Senate, SB 591, which would close a legal loophole impeding financing for affordable housing developments that accommodate senior citizens and transitioning youth, awaits a final vote.
One bill by Senator Becker has already been signed into law by Governor Newsom. Inspired by the city of Belmont, SB 640 takes effect on January 1 and will allow cities and counties to pool the state transportation funds they receive if they pursue road projects that mutually benefit neighboring committees.