Last month, we published a blog about our 2023 legislative priorities. In it, we described priority issue areas we addressed in our legislative advocacy (sea level rise and flood resilience, pollution prevention, urban greening, and affordable housing). We also described the priority bills that we supported during this year’s legislative session. Many of the bills we engaged in address one of the foremost challenges facing the Bay Area – the need to make our transportation systems, housing, public infrastructure, and the shoreline resilient to climate change while minimizing pollution to the Bay.
The 2023 legislative session has ended, meaning that we now know which bills passed and which bills will need to be brought back again next year for a chance to pass. Of the bills that passed, we also know which were signed into law by the Governor and which were vetoed.
Read on to find out which bills we’re celebrating the passage of, which bills were vetoed, and which bills will require more work going forward.
SB 272 (Laird) – Sea Level Rise Planning and Adaptation
SB 272 was Save The Bay’s top priority bill this year, so we’re thrilled to celebrate that it was passed and signed into law. It will ensure that cities are required to create comprehensive and consistent sea level rise resilience plans. Read our blog on the passage of SB 272 to learn more about why this bill is a momentous win for climate resilience in the SF Bay.
Now that SB 272 is law, we will continue to engage in its implementation, including advising the Bay Conservation and Development Commission on the guidelines it’s creating that will establish what is required of cities’ shoreline resilience plans.
SB 423 (Wiener) – Streamlined Multifamily Housing Approvals
SB 423 was passed and signed by the Governor. This means that more multifamily housing projects will receive streamlined approvals while also considering the risks posed by climate change including flooding from sea level rise. This is a win because it addresses the urgent need for more affordable housing in California while also ensuring that housing built on the coast will not be unnecessarily exposed to flood risk.
Going forward, Save The Bay will work with Senator Wiener to pass an addendum to this bill to further expand the bill’s provisions requiring sea level rise flooding projections to apply to more areas of the state, including San Francisco Bay.
SB 253 (Wiener, Gonzalez, & Stern) – Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act
The passage of SB 253 was a huge win for environmental groups in California. It requires the largest corporations that do business in California to annually disclose their full carbon footprint starting in 2025, including carbon emissions related to their supply chains. This will provide the public with a wealth of easily accessible information on the carbon footprints of their purchases.
The following are bills that we supported and were passed by the Legislature but were unfortunately vetoed by the Governor.
AB 57 (Kalra) – California Pocket Forest Initiative
AB 57 would have created a pilot program to award cities, counties, districts, non-profits, and public schools with grants to plant pocket forests on public land. Grants would be prioritized for disadvantaged communities and communities that lack easily accessible green spaces.
This bill was vetoed.
AB 1628 (McKinnor) – Microfiber Filtration
When clothes made of synthetic fibers are washed in washing machines, they release hundreds of plastic microfibers, trillions of which end up in the Bay and our oceans every year. AB 1628 would have required all new washing machines sold in California to contain a microfiber filtration system by 2029.
This bill was vetoed.
Another Chance Next Year
The following bill did not pass the Legislature this year but will have another chance to pass next year.
AB 756 (Papan) – Keeping Toxic Tire Chemicals Out of Waterways
The ordinary wear and tear of car tires on roads releases microparticles containing 6PPD and 6PPD-quinone, chemicals that are toxic to ecologically important fish species like salmon and trout. These tire particles are washed out to the Bay through the storm drain system and are the largest source of microplastic pollution in the Bay. This bill would mandate a Caltrans pilot project to install biofiltration systems along certain roads to prevent toxic chemicals from entering salmon and trout habitats.
Unfortunately, this bill did not pass this year, but we will continue to support it when Assemblymember Papan reintroduces it next year.
While we celebrated several successes this legislative session, the work isn’t done yet. We are now beginning to decide on legislative priorities for next year and will continue to advocate for bills that support a climate resilient and pollution-free Bay Area.
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