August 13, 2021
Weideman Group Weekly

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Back to Session

The Legislature will return from summer recess on Monday for the last few weeks of the legislative session. There are hundreds of pending bills in both houses and many of these must first clear the fiscal committee before receiving a full house vote. Some of these include high profile bills such as SB 2 (Bradford) on police decertification, SB 380 (Eggman) on the End of Life Option Act, SB 222 (Dodd) on water rates assistance, to name a few. In addition to the bill action there are expected to be additional budget-related bills, specifically budget trailer bills dealing with energy, transportation and potentially housing. The drop dead deadline for the legislature to pass any bills and send them to the Governor is September 10th.

DC Infrastructure Dollars

The U.S. Senate has passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes $550 billion in new federal spending over five years, with $8 billion for water infrastructure, $110 billion for roads and bridges, $73 billion to upgrade power infrastructure, $65 billion to expand high speed internet access, $39 billion to modernize public transit, $5 billion for zero-emission buses and $7.5 billion for a network of electric vehicle chargers along highways. The infrastructure bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives. Democrats in both houses are separately pushing for an additional $3.5 trillion package through budget reconciliation with additional social infrastructure spending, but the fate of this effort remains uncertain.

Back to School

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new public health order issued by the Department of Public Health that will require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all school staff.  The policy took effect on August 12 and requires all schools to be in compliance by October 15. The California Department of Public Health also released a Q&A and exemptions from the health care worker vaccine mandate, which exempts lower risk environments such as pharmacies and chiropractic offices.

Climate Crisis and Action

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a 3,900 page report stating that while we can limit the worst effects of climate change through swift action, conditions such as heat waves and sea level rise are irreversible. In order to stabilize the rise in temperature, the report highlights that there must be a massive push to phase out fossil fuels, and achieve net-zero emissions around mid-Century.

In that vein, the California Energy Commission adopted new code standards aimed at reducing emissions from homes and businesses. The standards for new and remodeled buildings will encourage the use of heat pump technologies, establish electric-ready requirements, expand solar systems and storage, and strengthen ventilation standards. The new standards will be submitted to the Building Standards Commission in December, and if approved will go into effect January 1, 2023.