Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Senate Democrats unveil legislation to fight climate change

A new package of legislation from Senate Democrats will likely increase the proportion of electricity California derives from renewable sources such as solar.
A new package of legislation from Senate Democrats will likely increase the proportion of electricity California derives from renewable sources such as solar. The Sacramento Bee file

With Gov. Jerry Brown pushing for further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other sweeping environmental goals in his fourth term, state Senate Democrats will unveil a package of clean energy and climate change legislation today.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León will join senators Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, for the announcement at 1:30 p.m. on the east lawn of the Capitol. The package will include bills increasing the proportion of electricity California derives from renewable sources, reducing petroleum use for transportation, and requiring the state’s public pension systems to divest from coal companies.

While many of the proposals reflect objectives laid out by Brown in his State of the State address last month, the legislation likely faces a difficult road. Oil interests have already pushed back on the ideas as prohibitively expensive, while utility companies are making the rounds asking for more flexibility in these environmental initiatives.

VIDEO: Feeling squeezed out of the budget, California seniors have launched a generational war at the Capitol, Dan Walters says.

HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT: Controversy flared across the country last fall after unarmed black men were killed by police officers in Ferguson, Mo., Staten Island and Cleveland, among other cities. National protests followed – including weeks of demonstrations in Oakland and Berkeley that frequently turned violent – further straining the relationship between residents and law enforcement in many communities. The Senate and Assembly committees on public safety will hold a day-long joint hearing to examine these issues in California, starting at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol. Sessions will cover law enforcement data collection, implicit bias in policing, investigating officer misconduct and improving community relations.

The Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife will also hold an oversight hearing on the implementation of Proposition 1, the water bond voters passed in November, 9:30 a.m. in Room 437.

GET YOUR LEARNING ON: An ambitious legislative plan last year to expand pre-kindergarten to all California four-year-olds was ultimately scaled back to focus on the state’s poorest children, but it remains a goal for many Democrats. State Sens. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Carol Liu, D-La Cañada Flintridge, and Assembly members Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, will host a briefing for lawmakers on efforts to increase access to early learning opportunities in California, 3 p.m. in Room 127 of the Capitol.

PIONEERING PROS: In honor of Black History Month, the California Legislative Black Caucus sponsors a screening of the documentary Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football, 6 p.m. at the Crest Theater on K Street. The film tells the story of the men who broke the color barrier in professional football in 1946.

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME: A recent report from the Parks Forward Commission recommended a massive overhaul of California’s outdated state parks system. Lisa Mangat, acting director for the Department of Parks and Recreation, will discuss the commission’s assessment during a noon panel at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

READ MORE: With climate change on the California Legislature’s agenda, utilities ‘making the rounds’

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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