Legislation

Biden’s silent climate victory lap

The president talks up his climate laws without saying “climate.” Can the U.S. meet its climate goals without telling voters about them? 

Well, we finally got a real “Infrastructure Week.” President Biden has been traveling from Baltimore to New York to Kentucky, touting his major legislative achievements in front of trains, tunnels and bridges. He’s talking up both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a warm-up for his State …

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What Would King Do?

California “YIGBY” Bill Could Empower Churches To Add Affordable Housing

As Martin Luther King day ends here on the west coast, the role of churches and religious institutions looms large. King’s activism arose out of his spiritual commitment. And in California, it looms large in a surprising way concerning the built environment. Land use is (in)famous for its acronyms: NIMBY, BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere …

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Single Subject = Single Stupidity

New House Rule Designed To Cause Dysfunction

The House Rules package passed last night is potentially a disaster: it seems specifically created to make it impossible for the federal government to pay its debts, although there are (second-best) ways around it that President Biden will undoubtedly use. One provision, though, seems common-sensical: each bill must have a “single subject.” No more massive …

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A Taste of Things to Come

Welcome to 2023. It’s going to be a wild ride.

In the past week, we’ve gotten a glimpse of what the next two years will look like. On the one hand, chaos in Congress. On the other hand, quiet progress toward environmental goals by the Biden Administration.  Both trends are likely to continue throughout this Congress and the second half of the presidential term. The …

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Advances in State Climate Policy

Despite the distractions of a national election, there were important developments around the country.

Last year, Congress took its first big step into climate policy by passing blockbuster spending measures. Nonetheless, many states are ahead of the Feds in climate policy. There were important developments in a multitude of states. California remained a hotspot for climate action. In terms of transportation emissions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved …

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A New Birth of Housing?

Omnibus’ “Baby YIMBY” Bill Offers An Opportunity For Cities — And For Advocates

Tucked deep inside the massive Omnibus bill is what has been called the “Baby YIMBY” provision — an $85 million grant program, to be administered by HUD: The bill provides the U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with $85 million to dole out on a competitive basis to jurisdictions for “the identification and …

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Climate Rides the Omnibus

An image of the U.S. Capitol Building in the evening.

The year-end law gives a boost to climate-related spending

The omnibus spending bill is by no means a “climate law.”  Because it spans the entire government, though, it has many provisions relating to climate change. They aren’t dramatic step forward. But the fact that they can pass as part of a bipartisan spending law is a sign of how climate change is slowly becoming …

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The Coming Ground War For Missing Middle Housing

Municipalities Continue to Maintain and Erect New Barriers To Homes For Working People

Last year, the California Legislature enacted SB 9, which required local governments to allow duplexes (and with ADUs, sometimes triplexes and quadraplexes) in single-family zones. Housing advocates rejoiced, and NIMBYs screamed that it was the end of the world and would lead to “Manhattanization” (because as we all know, Manhattan is famous for its duplexes). …

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The Passing of a Respected Water Warrior

Remembering California Water Law Attorney Clifford Lee

Clifford (Cliff) Lee, one of California’s most knowledgable and respected water law experts, died suddenly late last month.  His passing leaves a tremendous void in the field of California water law and policy. After earning his undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley, Cliff attended law school at U.C. Davis and quickly became entranced by water law.  …

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New Legislation Starts Process of Strengthening Protections for Outdoor Workers

AB 2243’s provisions prompt Cal/OSHA to look at heat and air quality regulations in light of increasing temperatures and poor air quality

Thank you to Jasmine Robinson, Advanced California Environmental Legislation and Policy Advocacy Clinic student, for her research support. Last month, AB 2243 (E. Garcia & L. Rivas, 2022) was chaptered, requiring the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) to consider adopting rules requiring (1) employers to distribute copies of heat-related illness prevention plans …

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