California's New Environmental Laws Up For Consideration This Year

Several bills are up for debate in Sacramento this year, particularly ones that focus on the environmental future of California.

Lawmakers will consider a sweeping measure this year that would force a major reduction of all other single-use plastics besides plastic straws and plastic bags where restrictions are already in place.

Also, a proposal is in place to eliminate most paper shopping receipts and ban smoking on all California state beaches.

Here are the eight environmental bills to watch:

SB:1: Environmental protections. Intended to address concerns that the federal government is rolling back or weakening key federal provisions, this bill calls on the state to memorialize federal environmental and worker safety standards in place on Jan. 1, 2017, and enforce them under state law.

SB1, AB1718: Ban smoking on state beaches. Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, and Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County. Jerry Brown vetoed this proposal the past two years but now there’s a new governor.

SB 54, AB 1080: Single-use plastic reduction. These companion bills would establish a comprehensive plan to “reduce and recycle” 75 percent of single-use plastics by 2030, and ensure that all single-use packaging and products are either reusable, recyclable or compostable.

SB 33: Solid waste reduction. Current language says this would “address the collapse of foreign recycling markets by reducing solid waste generation, encourage the transition to compostable or recyclable materials, and fostering domestic recycling markets.” Specific requirements and incentives are not yet detailed.

SB 69: Climate change and ocean resiliency. This bill has not yet had its core language finalized. However, Coastkeeper Executive Director Sean Bothwell, who is collaborating on the measure, said the wide-ranging proposal would aim to improve water quality to prevent local ocean acidification, improve coastal habitats (particularly wetlands, kelp and eel grass), sequester carbon, identify marine areas that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, improve salmon habitats and prevent whales from being struck by ships.

SB 332: Wastewater recycling.To promote reuse of wastewater, this bill calls for treatment plants to reduce their ocean discharge by 50 percent by 2030 and by 95 percent by 2040.

AB 161: Paper shopping receipts. Beginning in 2022, this would require stores to give shoppers only email or text receipts unless a paper receipt was specifically requested.

AB 176: Green jobs. This would extend tax breaks for green businesses – from 2021 to 2031.

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