When Damien Newton called to ask “What’s the best or worse news out of the 2015 Legislative session?” for his #DamienTalks Streetsblog podcast, we told him that it was discovering that Senate President pro Tem Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles) is a progressive and effective leader who is both substantive and passionate: We applaud his SB 350 for building on the legacy of AB 32, SB 375 and SB 535 — the 3 bills that made California a climate leader — and SB 767 for giving LA County the opportunity to fund a clean and sustainable public transportation system. THANK YOU SENATOR DE LEON! (Refresher course below.) (Photo is DeLeon at the Griffith Observatory for the signing of SB 350.)
- AB 32 (Pavley) gave the Air Resources Board (ARB) the right to regulate sources of GHG emissions including cars and light trucks (transportation emits 40% of GHGs)
- SB 375 (Steinberg) directed the ARB to set regional GHG reduction targets
- SB 535 (DeLeon) directs at least 25% of GHG Reduction Fund money into projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.
- SB 767 (DeLeon) authorizes Metro to put a sales tax measure for transportation on the 2016 ballot.
Because the development and intensification of cities is such an important strategy for reducing GHG emissions, and because the investment and improvements that are the result leads to gentrification, SB 535 is critically important to helping disadvantaged communities remain affordable. Because state and federal funding for public transit has been declining even as demand is increasing, SB 767 makes it possible to give voters the option in 2016 to put a sales tax measure on the ballot that could raise $120 billion for transportation.
Yes SB 350 was stripped of the requirement to reduce petroleum use by 50% but we all knew that would be a heavy lift. It’s a battle for another day.
And we are looking forward to the 2016 Legislative session because Senate pro Tem De Leon will be joined by another Legislative leader from Los Angeles, Assemblymember Anthony Rendon from Lakewood, the new CA Assembly Speaker — which means both houses of the CA Legislature will be controlled by Latinos from LA County.