March 11, 2022
Weideman Group Weekly
State of the State
In an uncharacteristically short 18-minute speech, Governor Newsom delivered his annual State of the State address this week. Newsom highlighted homelessness, crime, education and health care, but seemed to get most excited when talking about addressing the impact of high gasoline prices on Californians and addressing climate change. Acknowledging that gas prices are hitting Californians hard, the Governor announced he will be unveiling a proposal to put money back in the pockets of consumers to combat rising gas prices. On the climate front, Newsom focused on the unprecedented levels of funding he has proposed in the state budget to support clean energy development in the state. Before the Governor can claim victory on his proposals, they will undergo a thorough vetting by the legislature over the months ahead.
In another sign that California is turning the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature is reopening to public visitors and lifting the mask mandate inside the Capitol. Additionally, some policy committees are ending the ability for lead witnesses to testify remotely. This signals the beginning of a return to full in-person legislative business.
Clean Vehicle Rules Advance
A busy week for clean vehicle regulations began with the Biden Administration announcing new rules, similar to those already in place in California, to cut smog-forming pollution from heavy-duty trucks by up to 90% by 2031. This was followed by a set of actions to accelerate clean transit buses, school buses and trucks. On the light-duty side, the U.S. EPA restored California’s Clean Car waiver, ensuring California’s ability to move forward with its own clean car standards. Meanwhile, environmental organizations are pushing the Governor and California Air Resources Board to strengthen proposed interim requirements in those new standards for zero emission vehicle (ZEV) sales, which will require 100% of new cars sold in California to be a ZEV by 2035.
The race to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles is heating up. After a televised debate of candidates, LA City Councilman Kevin De León found himself within striking distance of U.S. Representative Karen Bass according to a recent poll. Bass is currently sitting at around 16% with likely voters with De León at 12%. No other candidate in the race received support in the double digits, but with 42% of poll respondents undecided and billionaire Rick Caruso entering the race, the dynamics are likely to shift.