Another bill which would put the brakes on California’s economy is being heard and debated in the California Legislature this week.
When President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, California’s newly-elected Democrat supermajority used the usually congenial legislative swearing-in ceremonies to ram through Assembly and Senate resolutions insisting President-elect Trump abandon his immigration deportation policies, and threatened to “fight in the streets” anyone who tried to “dissolve the work we have done.”
Senate President Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) said in a joint statement immediately following the election, “We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.”
They have largely kept their promise. The California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019, Senate Bill 1 by Sen. President pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), is the latest legislative promise to adopt polities Trump has overturned. And this is a deja vu: In 2017, then-state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León tried to pass an almost identical bill, SB 49 but was unable to muster the necessary votes.
With SB 1, California lawmakers are authorizing an unprecedented power transfer from the Legislature to the Executive Branch. This has become a trend in the Legislature… giving unbridled powers to state agencies and the Executive branch. Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) addressed this in the Senate Budget Committee Monday when bill after bill proposed to give more power and authority to state agencies.
SB 1 would give broad and sweeping discretion to state agencies to adopt rules and regulations that they determine are more stringent than federal rules and regulations adopted after January 19, 2017… only until January 20, 2025 when President Trump officially leaves office.
One of the most concerning issues in SB 1 is it would invalidate voluntary agreements entered into between the state and federal government on water conveyance in the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, and impose outdated methods of operation that do not acknowledge the new scientific consensus.
“This bill has little to do with ensuring clean water and air, protecting wildlife, and standing up for workers,” Bill McEwen at GVWire reported. “The real goal is to provide a legislative vehicle for Democratic lawmakers to polish their “Trump resistance” credentials ahead of the 2020 elections.” GVWire focuses on California’s Central Valley.
Critiques, including the Cal Chamber, call SB 1 a job killer, and say it is too broadly written, “contains ambiguous and undefined standards that will create significant costs, uncertainty and unintended consequences for the regulated community, and raises substantial constitutional concerns regarding a lack of due process and violations to the single-subject rule. Moreover, the bill circumvents the Administrative Procedures Act by improperly empowering state agencies with limited Legislative oversight, and threatens to undermine wetland regulation efforts currently being pursued by the State Water Resources Control Board, as well as operation of the Central Valley Water Project. The bill will inevitably result in unnecessary litigation against state agencies and regulated entities.”
According to the bill’s author, “SB 1 ensures clean air, clean water, endangered species, and worker safety standards that have been in place for as long as 50 years are not rolled back as a result of the anti-environment actions of the President and Congress. In the past two years, the new administration and congress have adopted action after action to weaken, roll back, and outright repeal longstanding and well-accepted standards to protect workers, public health and the environment.”
SB 1 authorizes state environmental and labor agencies to adopt specified federal environmental, natural resources, and labor standards as emergency regulations as they existed on January 19, 2017 — the day before President Trump was sworn in — if the federal government subsequently modifies or relaxes them. This law, and any regulations promulgated under it, would become inoperative on January 20, 2025 — the day that President Trump would leave the White House if he is elected to a second term of office.
“SB 1 is a highly flawed overreaction to a Trump administration that many state Democratic leaders and their environmental allies have called ‘anti-science,’” GVWire reported.
Central Valley water interests (which includes agencies, contractors, and agricultural) fear that the bill could lock in endangered species protections at higher standards of the California Endangered Species Act if federal Endangered Species Act regulations are rolled back.
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