Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Air board contemplates cap-and-trade’s future

State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills the author of AB32, discusses the landmark global warming bill during a 10th anniversary celebration of the bill’s signing with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.
State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills the author of AB32, discusses the landmark global warming bill during a 10th anniversary celebration of the bill’s signing with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. AP

Who gets what when, in the popular formulation, works as shorthand for a lot of of political debates. It’s proving to be a critical dynamic as California debates the future of its centerpiece climate change program.

Earlier this year, not long after declaring victory on a hard-fought measure expanding the state’s emission reduction mandate, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers announced a late-session deal on where to send some of the revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program. That program’s shriveling funding stream flows from selling greenhouse gas emission permits to polluters.

A big chunk of money in the compromise went to the Air Resource Board’s Low-Carbon Transportation initiative, including over $200 million to bolster programs offering financial incentives for purchasing cleaner vehicles. Today the ARB will discuss spending the $363 million windfall during a 9 a.m. meeting in Fresno, which has some of the worst air quality in the country. That may help explain why Brown signed the funding deal there and declared policies pursuing clean air to benefit “rich and poor alike,” an apparent nod at legislative efforts to better spread the benefits of cap-and-trade around the economic and geographic map.

Even with big bucks going out the door, the program’s future remains uncertain. Brown has argued business interests and resistant legislators will prefer the reliability of cap-and-trade to more stringent dictates. Whether or not the Legislature musters a vote to extend the program beyond a 2020 limit set in statute, the ARB has already begun sculpting regulations that could sustain the system without a vote. On Friday, the ARB will meet in Sacramento for a public hearing that includes an agenda item on the post-2020 landscape for businesses and utilities.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: California death penalty? Watch divergent takes from Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

BY THE NUMBERS: 70 percent: the share of University of California’s administrative and support workers who struggle to afford enough food, according to an Occidental College study that could influence UC labor negotiations (it was conducted with help from the Teamsters local representing UC clerical and service workers).

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Every year, reporters comb through gift disclosure forms to figure out who is paying for lawmaker travel, how much they’re spending and where they’re sending them (in addition to the recurring Maui excursion). Piecing that together could get a little easier thanks to a new law compelling lawmakers to disclose where they traveled and requiring some nonprofits that sponsor voyages to say where they’re getting their money. The Fair Political Practices Commission will discuss those changes, as well as various proposed fines, during a 10 a.m. meeting at 428 J Street.

ELECTION SPECIAL: Two different events today will dissect research illuminating how the November election might unfold. UC Center Sacramento is hosting a lunchtime talk on how to promote participation by fostering politically engaged and knowledgeable voters (featuring Sac State’s Danielle Joesten Martin and UC Berkeley Prof. Lisa Garcia-Bedolla, noon at 1130 K Street). And Sac State experts will gather at noon at the California State Library to do a little election forecasting, covering everything from the massive California ballot to control of the U.S. Senate. Scheduled experts include Dr. David Barker, director of Sac State’s Institute for Social Research and Prof. Kim Nalder, head of the school’s Project for an Informed Electorate.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who will celebrate her 52nd in the middle of a U.S. Senate race.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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