September 10, 2021
Weideman Group Weekly
Turn Out the Lights
The legislature wrapped up the first year of the 2021-22 legislative session today. Weideman Group helped secure a number of legislative victories in the final days of session, including:
- SB 302 (Dodd), which ratified a 25-year compact between the state of California and the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians that will allow the tribe to expand their gaming operations and achieve greater economic security;
- SB 155 (Budget Committee), which extends the Fuel Cell Net Energy Metering program that allows companies like Bloom Energy to continue providing resilient electricity while reducing emissions and criteria air pollutants;
- AB 74 (Gonzalez), which improves California’s LifeLine Program by making affordable communications options readily available to low income Californians;
- SB 570 (Wieckowski), which exempts autonomous and electric vehicles from certain equipment requirements that have become obsolete or outdated;
- AB 525 (Chiu), which directs the CEC to set planning targets for offshore wind and establishes processes to accelerate deployment;
- AB 970 (McCarty), which streamlines the permitting process for installing EV chargers;
- SB 380 (Eggman), which improves access to the End of Life Option Act and extends the sunset to January 2031; and
- SB 423 (Stern), which ensures zero carbon and multi-day resources are utilized in planning for the state’s energy needs during extreme weather events.
Governor Newsom will have until October 10th to sign or veto all the bills sent to his desk during the last two weeks of the legislative session.
With just a few days before Tuesday’s election, fresh polling shows the Governor beating the recall by a comfortable margin. Even so, Newsom isn’t taking anything for granted and he’s called in the country’s biggest Democrat heavy hitters to help him close out the campaign. Vice President Kamala Harris joined the Governor in the Bay Area this week for a “beat the recall rally” and former President Barack Obama is appearing in ads urging Californians to vote NO on the recall. President Joe Biden is scheduled to join Newsom for a campaign rally in southern California on Monday. About 33%, or 7.3 million ballots, have been returned to date and so far more Democrats have returned ballots than Republicans and no party preference voters.
California and several other states across the west endured the hottest summer on record according to federal data released this week. Nationwide, this summer tied with the Dust Bowl of 1936 for the hottest ever. The results are clear in California, with drought, record setting wildfires, and a taxed electricity grid. State officials continue working to respond to these new realities and increase energy capacity on the electricity grid. This week, the California Energy Commission took steps to accelerate deployment of energy storage systems that can come online by October 31, 2022 and the state’s grid operator asked the federal government to declare an electricity reliability emergency to allow six natural gas fired power plants to increase output above currently allowed levels.
President Biden rolled out the next phase of his vaccine plan to help curb the surge across the country. The new mandate will require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are vaccinated or tested once a week for COVID-19. It also covers health facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid, executive branch staff, and contractors that conduct business with the federal government. It is estimated that this mandate will impact 100 million individuals. The federal Department of Labor is expected to release temporary rules that will implement the President’s plan.