Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 13th
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Town Hall

bill_MonningThere were 700 bills awaiting Gov. Schwarzenegger’s signature or veto by Sunday, Oct, 11.  Were there any vetoed bills that you believe should have been upheld, or bills passed that you believe should not have been?  Why?

I was disappointed to learn that the Governor vetoed:  Senate Bill (SB) 14, which would have made programmatic changes to implement an increase in California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard’s goal to 33 percent by 2020; SB 14, along with Assembly Bill (AB) 21 and AB 64, would have combined to provide a clear and enforceable timeframe for investing in new renewable energy resources in order to meet the greenhouse gas emission reductions mandated under AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

AB 1401 would have enacted the California Transition to Organics Act of 2009 and would have established the Transition to Organics Fund (TTOF) with federal, industry and private citizen funding.  TTOF monies would have provided financial assistance to individuals who transition their uncertified farms to certified organic farms.

Lastly, AB 1404 would have limited the use of “compliance offsets” to 10 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions expected from market mechanisms used to meet the GHG reduction goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act.  This would have ensured that at least 90 percent of the global warming reductions promised by the California Global Warming Solutions Act occur within California’s electricity and transportation sectors, the two sectors with the highest levels of global warming pollution.

Which of your bills were signed by the Governor and which were vetoed?

As readers know, Gov. Schwarzenegger was threatening to veto 700 bills on Oct. 11, 2009.  Six of my bills signed by the governor were only a small number of those that were caught up in end of session politics and I was pleased that the governor did not issue a blanket veto and instead decided it was best to judge each bill on its merits. Two of my six bills that the governor signed into law were:

AB 240, which affects a land swap between the state and the City of Santa Cruz covering parts of the DeLaveaga Golf Course and the current Disc Golf Course, as well as the armory, restructure current law dictating ownership and use of park and military located at DeLaveaga Park within the City of Santa Cruz.  This measure preserves ongoing use of the armory site for military purposes and provides directions for future uses of the land, in addition to calling for the immediate transfer of recreational land to the city.

AB 1217, which I am especially proud of, requires the Ocean Protection Council to establish a statewide standard for the certification and labeling of sustainable seafood.  Additionally, the bill authorizes the OPC to implement a marketing program in cooperation with a qualified marketing association to promote the consumption of seafood caught or raised within the state that fall under the certification criteria.

Unfortunately, I also had some bills that were vetoed and one of those was AB 1, which sought to highlight that teachers, as part of participating in professional growth programs, should have the option to enroll in courses including negotiation, mediation, and conflict resolution allow teachers to obtain professional development credits for taking courses in conflict resolution.  Additionally, AB 1069 was vetoed, which would have required the California Department of Food and Agriculture to establish a toll-free hotline managed by trained health professionals for the public to report adverse health complaints when a determination has been made that an urban aerial or ground application eradication effort will occur.

You have been meeting with members of the environmental community in the district. What do you understand to be their top priorities regarding issues facing the region?

In recent weeks, I convened environmental breakfast meetings with organizational representatives and leaders in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey counties.  These forums were conducted by my predecessors, former Assemblymembers Fred Keeley and John Laird, and I wanted to maintain the tradition they had established.  Participants included longstanding environmental activists, students, scientists, labor representatives, nonprofit leaders and local government officials.

At the meeting held in Santa Cruz, the 80 attendees broke into working groups in order to discuss their top environmental priorities, which included, but are not limited to, aligning climate change legislation with other resource laws, establishing extended producer responsibility, improving enforcement of marine protected areas, supporting projects that prevent seawater intrusion, funding environmental education, protecting old growth redwoods, and improving partnerships between local institutions, unions, and green industry (jobs).

I was encouraged by the willingness of community and organizational leaders to reach beyond traditional borders to broaden networks of cooperation, collaboration, and activism.  Hearing firsthand from those engaged in restoring and preserving our environment is inspiring and I am looking forward to being part of the ongoing conversation as to how we can all work together to protect the  Central Coast, California, and our endangered planet.

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