While most bills the legislature passed became law, some were deemed too costly or complex.
After the California legislature completes its work in mid-September each year, there’s a tense month-long waiting period, where the dozens of bills on the governor’s desk await either his signature or a veto.
Environmental advocates this year can celebrate a slew of consequential bills getting Newsom’s green light, while only a few were sent back to be reconsidered.
New laws were passed to both clamp down on fossil fuels and promote green energy.
Oil and gas companies will have to pony up more cash to ensure proper cleanup of old wells (AB 1167), and they’ll need to meet all coastal regulations for any new facilities after the legislature closed a loophole (SB 704). AB 631 stiffens penalties for scofflaw energy companies.
On the green and clean side, Newsom signed bills that will require a plan for energy efficiency in large buildings and require the state to plan for more offshore wind power. Neither will have immediate impact, but are steps along the way to greener energy.
Two big bills signed will force companies to disclose carbon emissions. SB 253 requires this, even from the supply chain, for companies with $1 billion in revenue, though the deadline is still unclear. SB 261 requires companies with revenues over $500 million to report any climate-related financial risks starting in 2026. Both laws intend to help consumers and investors understand how companies are affecting the climate, and instigate change.
AB 272 will require coastal communities to plan for sea-level rise and adaptation, and AB 306 requires the state and communities to plan for extreme heat.
Other New Laws
AB 126 reauthorizes $170 million in clean transportation funding, and AB 579 requires new school buses to be zero-emissions by 2035.
AB 363 and AB 1322 crack down on pesticides, including neonicotinoids (which can impact pollinators like bees) and the rat poison diphacinone that may have contributed to the death of beloved mountain lion P-22.
AB 1572 prevents potable water from being used for irrigation by businesses and public agencies.
Most bills Newsom vetoed were less consequential, and were vetoed on the basis of potential unintended consequences or high costs. For example, AB 249 would have required schools to test for lead in their water, but the governor was concerned about cost and enforcement. Newsom also vetoed bills that would have made it easier to install new power transmission lines over concerns that it would unintentionally create more confusion.