Governor Brown Signs Bills

During the final weekend of the legislative year, Governor Brown signed SB 128 into law, marking the end to a successful year for RAMP and Community Action to Fight Asthma (CAFA) at the state capitol.  Overall, the governor signed three of the four CAFA supported bills that made it to his desk.  As a result, we can expect to see improved air quality at ports and schools thanks to these new laws.

With a new administration in the governor’s office, we had high expectations for asthma-related legislation this year.  However, as we posted at the time, things got off to a rocky start as Governor Brown vetoed SB 582, which would have given local air districts and local planning agencies the joint authority to require medium and large businesses to offer benefits to employees who take alternative forms of transportation.

Things quickly turned around as Governor Brown signed two bills in succession.  First, he signed AB 516.  This bill will encourage more Safe Routes to Schools Programs in low income communities, reducing traffic pollution near schools as more students walk or bike to school.  He followed that by signing SB 739 which will require the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland to conduct air quality assessments and develop plans to reduce emissions.

As the deadline to act on legislation approached, we anxiously awaited the governor’s decision on the fourth and final bill, SB 128.  We were happy to see that he sided with us once again and signed the legislation that will allow schools to use state school construction and renovation funds on design elements that improve indoor air quality.  This will help many schools become healthier learning environments for all students and staff, especially those with asthma.

While the legislative year has come to an end, RAMP and CAFA are not done with state policy advocacy for the year.  The California Air Resources Board will soon propose and vote on a set of regulations to address emissions from cars.  You can see more here and join RAMP, asthma coalitions, and other advocates around the state in the official campaign for strong, health protective regulations here.  RAMP will provide further updates on these Clean Cars Regulations as advocacy opportunities arise.