Category Archives: Legislative Action

‘Insulting’: California police reform bills die without vote

State takes small steps toward reform

Vallejo Times-Herald, By Nico Savidge, September 3, 2020
[See also: Associated Press, California bill to strip badges from ‘bad officers’ fails]

Three months ago, with protests against racism and police brutality gripping the state and nation, California lawmakers had plans for new legislation that would make sweeping changes to law enforcement.

But as their session came to a chaotic end at midnight Tuesday, state legislators had only approved a handful of relatively modest changes to police practices, while more controversial proposals — to strip problem officers of their badges, broaden public access to police misconduct records and limit the use of rubber bullets and tear gas at protests — died without the votes they needed to pass.

The defeat of those measures, coming in the Democrat- dominated Legislature of a state that positions itself as a beacon of progressive government, is a stinging disappointment for activists, civil liberties groups and lawmakers, who believed the time had come for major changes meant to bolster police accountability and transparency.

“To ignore the thousands of voices calling for meaningful police reform is insulting,” Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, said in a statement early Tuesday morning after his bill to “decertify” officers who commit crimes or serious misconduct failed to get a vote in the final hours Monday. “Today, Californians were once again let down by those who were meant to represent them.”

Policing wasn’t the only issue that left advocates and lawmakers unsatisfied — bills that passed for eviction protections and housing also fell short of what many hoped to see in the shortened legislative session that was upended by the coronavirus.

The law enforcement bills lawmakers did approve included a requirement that state authorities investigate certain deadly police shootings, as well as a ban on the carotid “sleeper” restraint a Minneapolis officer used in the deadly arrest of George Floyd on Memorial Day.

But Dennis Cuevas-Romero, a legislative advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, noted that many police departments have already prohibited officers from using the carotid restraint. Gov. Gavin Newsom also directed the state’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training after Floyd’s death to no longer offer training on the tactic.

And while Cuevas-Romero said having state authorities investigate police shootings “could be really significant,” he also noted that the bill only requires the state to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians, as opposed to all deaths at the hands of police.

“This was our concern from the very beginning, when all the police reform legislation was introduced,” Cuevas-Romero said. “The ones that were less impactful would be the ones that make it to the finish line,” allowing lawmakers to claim victory “without actually doing significant reform.”

The ACLU cosponsored Bradford’s decertification bill. California is one
of only five states that doesn’t have such a process, and an investigation by this news organization found dozens of police officers with criminal records were still working in departments across the state.

Bradford’s bill also would have rolled back some of the legal protection known as “qualified immunity,” which shields officers from liability in many excessive force lawsuits. Activists charge the legal doctrine is a significant barrier to holding police accountable, and the bill got a late lobbying push from a raft of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West and Los Angeles Laker Kyle Kuzma.

Law enforcement groups say they are open to creating a decertification process, and have called for a special session of the Legislature to create one. But they vehemently opposed the bill’s limits to qualified immunity, which helped make it the most controversial of this year’s police reform proposals.

“We are pleased that the late-session rush to enact a flawed bill that would have had debilitating repercussions for police officers and public safety was not voted upon,” Craig Lally, the president of the union representing Los Angeles police officers, said in a statement after Bradford’s bill failed. “It is more important to get it right and not rushed, and we pledge our cooperation to work collaboratively with likeminded stakeholders and the legislature to get it right.”

Brian Marvel, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, said the shortened session made it difficult for his organization representing more than 75,000 police officers to negotiate with lawmakers. In the next session, Marvel said, “We will have a much better opportunity to collaboratively work with the authors on creating legislation.”

Bradford pledged to bring his proposal back next year.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said she would do the same with her bill sharply limiting the use of rubber bullets and tear gas, prompted by what critics derided as a heavyhanded police response to racial justice demonstrations. That bill, which also faced opposition from police lobbying groups, similarly never came up for a vote Monday night.

Gun Safety – Report on progress in the U.S. House

Email from Sarah Trumble, Director of Federal Legislative Campaigns, Everytown for Gun Safety, September 11, 2019

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced three pieces of lifesaving gun violence prevention legislation:

    • The Disarm Hate Act, which would prohibit people convicted of threatening or violent hate crimes from buying or possessing guns.
    • New prohibitions on high-capacity magazines, like the ones used by the shooter in Dayton.
    • A strong Red Flag law, which strengthens and expands the tools family members or law enforcement can use to intervene and temporarily suspend someone’s access to guns if a judge finds there is evidence that person poses a serious threat to themselves or others.

Yesterday’s Committee vote follows the critical steps the House already took to prevent gun violence in this country earlier this year. It passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, addressed the Charleston Loophole, took action to close the deadly “boyfriend loophole,” and allocated funding for gun violence research. The contrast between the House’s lifesaving action and the Senate’s inaction could not be more clear.

As the House continues to move important gun safety legislation forward, the Senate STILL has not taken a single action to prevent gun violence in America. We need to keep up the pressure and urge the Senate to pass stronger gun laws, starting with background checks on all gun sales and a strong Red Flag law. Send a message to your U.S. Senators and demand action to address gun violence in our country.

Thanks for all you do,

Sarah Trumble
Director of Federal Legislative Campaigns
Everytown for Gun Safety

Candidate Jay Inslee – 100% Clean Energy for America plan

An email from
[Editor: this is much more than a campaign solicitation for money.  Check out Inslee’s 100% Clean Energy for America plan.  – R.S.]
Governor Jay Inslee, candidate for President

Dear ____________,

I recently announced my first policy proposal of this presidential campaign — a landmark proposal to move the country forward by leaps and bounds toward a 100% clean energy future.

My comprehensive 100% Clean Energy for America plan will achieve 100% clean electricity, eliminate the sale of new oil-powered vehicles by 2030 and require all new buildings to have 100% zero-carbon emissions. This is about ensuring a clean, safe, and prosperous future for each and every American.

Don’t just take my word for it: I put my entire proposal, word for word, right below this message. I encourage you to read it, all 2,840 words.

Read it right now, and if it describes the kind of future you want for our country, please add your name to support a 100% clean energy future.

This builds off the significant progress we’ve made here in Washington state — progress that is already showing results. I’m the only candidate in this race who has actually run a government that has made climate change policy central to its administration, and we have made real progress as a result. I know firsthand how much economic and entrepreneurial opportunity there is in saving the planet. There’s incredible economic upside and job creation in investing to save our planet — and there’s no time to waste.

And that’s why I’m showing you the whole thing, right here, because we all have a huge stake in getting this right.

Very truly yours,


100% Clean Energy for America Plan

Governor Jay Inslee’s plan for 100% clean electricity, vehicles and buildings

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time — and it demands a bold and aggressive national policy for America. The next president must enact the most ambitious clean energy policy in American history, building on the success of states to create a 100% clean energy economy.

Governor Jay Inslee’s 100% Clean Energy for America Plan will achieve 100% clean electricity, 100% zero-emission new vehicles and 100% zero-carbon new buildings. This plan will empower America to make the entire electrical grid and every new car and building climate pollution-free, at the speed that science and public health demand.

The 100% Clean Energy for America Plan is the first major policy announcement in Governor Inslee’s Climate Mission agenda — a bold 10-year mobilization to defeat climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs building a just, innovative and inclusive clean energy future, with meaningful targets and plans for execution based on his experience as a governor. Governor Inslee will announce additional major planks of his detailed climate plan in the coming weeks.

The climate crisis is urgent. Americans are already feeling its accelerating impacts — with front-line, low-income and communities of color being impacted first and worst. Since launching his climate-focused campaign, Governor Inslee has seen these impacts up close, from touring wildfire damage in California to flood damage in Iowa. He knows we cannot afford to wait any longer for action.

In a 2018 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made our challenge very clear: To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the global community must cut climate pollution in half by 2030, and achieve global net-zero pollution by mid-century. Governor Inslee’s plans will ensure that America meets these IPCC targets and leads the world in defeating climate change. As the world’s largest historical emitter of climate pollution and the global leader in technology innovation, America will be among the first to achieve that net-zero target, as fast as possible, and by no later than 2045.

Governor Inslee’s 100% Clean Energy for America Plan is a 10-year action plan that starts with immediate executive action on day one. By 2030, his plan will:

  • Reach 100% zero emissions in new light- and medium-duty vehicles and all buses;
  • Achieve 100% zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings; and
  • Set a national 100% Clean Electricity Standard, requiring 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, putting America on a path to having all clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation by 2035.

We cannot tackle the existential threat of climate change by merely addressing climate pollution from one sector of our economy. We must reduce it everywhere.

Collectively, the transportation, electricity and buildings sectors contribute nearly 70% of America’s climate pollution. It’s time to build our grid, modernize our auto industry, and invest in clean buildings to rise to the climate challenge and succeed in the coming global clean energy economy.

We know we can achieve this plan because it’s already happening in states, and in cities, tribal nations, and local communities. States have set aggressive renewable portfolio standards and passed 100% clean energy plans, all while Donald Trump has tried to undermine America’s climate progress. Governor Inslee led Washington state to pass the strongest policy for 100% clean electricity in the country, with the largest labor and environmental groups united in support. Now he will take that model national with the creation of his 100% Clean Energy for America Plan.

Mimicking actions taken in Washington state, this plan includes closing America’s coal-fired power plants and making major investments to ensure a just transition, including good-paying jobs for workers and support for vulnerable communities. Every region will begin its path to 100% clean energy from a different starting point, and this plan will meet each of them where they are — ensuring opportunity and participation for all in the clean energy economy.

The 100% Clean Energy for America Plan will require a massive, full-scale mobilization of our federal government that will spur major innovation and deployment of clean energy. Just as President Kennedy’s clarion call for a “moonshot” spurred major technological breakthroughs, these aggressive clean energy targets will provoke a clean energy revolution.

Instead of investing our tax dollars in fossil fuel companies, we will invest in deploying renewable energy, advancing battery technology, manufacturing the next generation of electric cars, and creating more energy-efficient buildings. In doing so, we will create demand for new manufactured products and skilled construction jobs, and spur major innovation in everything from building materials to advanced energy technologies. We can put millions of Americans to work building new energy solutions, sustainable infrastructure, and pollution-free communities. Furthermore, this plan will lead to massive savings over the long-term, as Americans pay less to heat their homes, fuel their cars and rebuild their communities hit by climate change.

Americans are already paying the price for climate change. Climate change cost the U.S. economy at least $240 billion per year during the past decade, and that figure is projected to rise to $360 billion per year in the coming 10 years. We cannot afford the cost of inaction. We can choose between two roads: guaranteed economic decline from extreme weather, or increasing prosperity from a clean energy economy and low-cost, electrified transportation. Transitioning to 100% clean vehicles, buildings and electricity will free Americans from the stranglehold of rising gas prices and provide permanent savings on heating their homes.

Through a national Climate Mission agenda, we will mobilize America to confront climate change, end reliance on fossil fuels and build our clean energy future. The 100% Clean Energy for America Plan is a critical starting point: We must establish smart rules and clear goals if we are going to unleash a new generation of innovation. Implementation of this plan will begin on the Inslee Administration’s first day. And much of this plan can be accomplished using authorities and programs Congress has already established for the executive branch, including the federal Clean Air Act, while other elements will require new legislation.

During the coming weeks, Governor Inslee will introduce additional major policies as part of a national Climate Mission — including: increasing strategies to slash climate pollution from the transportation sector and from existing buildings; making major investments in clean energy jobs, infrastructure and innovation; supporting clean and competitive manufacturing and sustainable and thriving agriculture; advancing environmental justice and economic inclusion; and bringing an end to fossil fuel giveaways.

100% Clean Electricity
Through the 100% Clean Energy for America Plan, America will move swiftly to achieve 100% clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation, using the strength of federal investment and policy to accelerate the transition that is under way thanks to state and local leadership. This clean electricity will be the backbone of our economy, powering our homes, vehicles, and industry.

The plan sets ambitious yet technologically achievable goals that respond to the reality of climate science, while unlocking a massive new wave of productive and job-creating investment. This plan includes:

  • Setting a bold national 100% Clean Electricity Standard, requiring utilities to achieve 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, and all-clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation by 2035. This builds upon and accelerates momentum toward 100% clean electricity — policy that has been adopted in Washington state, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and a target to which more than 100 American cities and counties are committed, from Concord, N.H., to Columbia, S.C.
  • Guaranteeing support for workers and community transition — following Washington state’s model to ensure that the creation of clean energy projects results in many good, family-wage jobs, and that all communities benefit in the transition to a carbon-free power future. Includes promoting projects with businesses owned by women and people of color; apprenticeship utilization; prevailing wages determined through collective bargaining; and community workforce and project-labor agreements.
  • Establishing refundable tax incentives to speed the development and deployment of clean technologies — including renewable electricity, energy storage, smart grid and advanced transmission and distribution, as well as other zero-emission technologies.
  • Ensuring broad and equitable participation by working with utilities to increase on-bill investment in energy efficiency and distributed energy solutions, and making greater federal investment available to front-line and low-income communities — with priority placed upon comprehensive community-developed projects with multiple benefits.
  • Retiring the increasingly uneconomic U.S. coal fleet by 2030 to eliminate dangerous pollution and repower our economy with job-creating clean energy. Governor Inslee’s 100% clean electricity plan in Washington state includes a ban on coal power starting in 2025. And, as in Washington state, the 100% Clean Energy for America Plan includes support for workers and communities that are moving beyond coal power.
  • Using federal lands, offshore waters and facilities to deploy more renewable energy and transmission. The federal government can accelerate renewable energy deployment on public lands that contain enormous resources — especially in the West. For example, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nev. now hosts 179 MW of solar power in job-creating clean energy projects that were developed more than twice as fast as traditional projects on public lands. Meanwhile, harnessing just 1% of our nation’s technical offshore wind energy resource potential could power more than 6 million American homes.
  • Activating existing federal energy financing programs (e.g. the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service and the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program) to catalyze new investments that further speed this transition. And providing direct grants for clean energy projects developed by non-profit and community organizations, local governments, and academic institutions.
  • Expanding long-distance interstate and interregional transmission of clean electricity through expedited planning, broad cost allocation, and negotiated siting with state authorities, Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy. And providing federal financing for anticipatory construction of transmission capacity to areas with significant queues of clean-energy generation capacity awaiting transmission.
  • Enhancing utilization of existing transmission and distribution assets through Dynamic Line Ratings, demand-response, new sensors and controls, battery storage, and resilient distributed energy resources.
  • Accelerating the evolution toward performance-based utility regulation that rewards utilities for delivering affordable, reliable, and zero-emission electricity.

By achieving 100% clean electricity we will enable our nation to meet more of its energy needs without burning fossil fuels, including for transportation and buildings — two of the other leading sources for the carbon pollution that is driving climate change.

100% Clean New Vehicles
The 100% Clean Energy for America Plan will achieve by 2030 zero emissions in all new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and buses. These are crucial strategies for decarbonizing the transportation sector and eliminating tailpipe pollution that contaminates our air — and that especially harms front-line and low-income communities.

They are also essential for ensuring that U.S. industries stay at the leading edge of global automotive manufacturing, as our economic competitors in China, India and Europe are setting clear targets to move to 100% electric and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).

This plan will ensure ZEVs are made in the U.S.A., by union workers, and that they are affordable for working families. ZEVs are already cheaper for American commuters to drive, with fuel costs averaging just $1.13 per “gallon,” compared with the $2.62 national average. Also, while vehicles represent a significant portion of U.S. transportation-sector climate pollution (light-duty vehicles account for approximately 60%), this plan will be followed by the release of additional proposals targeting pollution reductions in other modes of transportation. To reach 100% zero-emission new vehicles, this plan includes:

  • Implementing a new standard for clean cars — requiring robust annual improvements in vehicle emissions for light, medium — and heavy-duty vehicles to help break America’s oil addiction. This standard will accelerate the deployment of ZEVs, reaching 100% ZEVs in light- and medium-duty new vehicle sales by 2030.
  • Establishing a Clean Fuels Standard that promotes electric and other low-carbon alternative fuels for vehicles.
  • Dedicating significant new federal investments to support a diverse and robust American ZEV manufacturing base, including a critical materials strategy, as well as the creation and recycling of advanced batteries and component parts.
  • Expanding business and consumer tax credits to ensure availability and affordability of ZEVs and increase their adoption — including an extended and expanded consumer Electric Vehicle Tax Credit — and working with states to establish feebates to increase the value of ZEVs for new buyers.
  • Creating a new “Clean Cars for Clunkers” program to offer fuel-economy based trade-in rebates for consumers to exchange their fuel-inefficient cars or trucks for new ZEVs. Like the 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” program, this initiative will drive increased American auto manufacturing and sales, this time for ZEVs.
  • Requiring rapid electrification of the federal government vehicle fleet and working in partnership with state, local and tribal governments to accelerate electrification of their fleets. Federal procurement can dramatically increase market demand.
  • Partnering with states, tribal nations, local governments and utilities in a massive investment to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In Washington state, Governor Inslee created an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Bank to deploy investment in charging stations.
  • Providing federal financing to support state and local governments transitioning to zero-emission bus fleets for transit and school buses, and allowing transit agencies to retire diesel buses early without penalty. In addition to cutting climate pollution, zero-emission buses help eliminate harmful diesel pollution. States and cities throughout the U.S. are moving rapidly toward zero-emission buses; California, for example, has committed to all zero-emission new buses by 2029.

Together, these efforts will begin the transition of all new cars and buses in the U.S. to clean vehicles. In addition to clean cars and buses, the Climate Mission that Governor Inslee has called for will include a wide range of transportation-sector pollution-reduction strategies, including in large trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, aviation, marine, transit, rail, and other multi-modal solutions, as well as affordable housing, urban density, and smart growth.

100% Clean New Buildings
Finally, the 100% Clean Energy for America Plan includes immediate federal action to achieve before 2030 zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings.

Climate pollution from buildings increased a full 10% in the U.S. in 2018 — driven by natural gas used in space and water heating and cooling. This plan will reverse that trend, and improve indoor air quality, by increasing energy efficiency and taking advantage of clean electricity in building electrification. This includes:

  • Creating a national Zero-Carbon Building Standard by 2023, and partnering with states and cities to integrate this standard into new and stronger state and local building codes. This plan will include stronger federal incentives for local governments to enforce standards to adopt “stretch-codes,” and for building owners to more rapidly adopt advanced sustainability in new buildings. Here, too, states and cities are already leading the way: The city of Los Angeles has announced its plan for all zero-carbon new buildings by 2030.
  • Accelerating implementation of the federal Fossil Fuel-Generated Energy Consumption Reduction rule to eliminate by 2023 fossil-fuel use — including coal, fuel oil and natural gas — in all new and renovated federal buildings.
  • Directing federal agencies in 2021 to accelerate proven appliance energy efficiency standards and to promote zero-emission appliances — including water heaters and dryers. This will help make American-manufactured appliances both cleaner and more competitive in global markets, all while saving consumers money.
  • Providing federal funding to train builders, inspectors, energy managers, equipment technicians, and janitors in proven strategies that cut down on wasted energy in buildings.
  • Establishing tax incentives for energy efficiency and electrification in new construction of residential and commercial buildings, including targeted incentives for homeowners and building owners to install highly efficient heat pumps for space and water heating.
  • Dramatically increasing access to federal financing to fund both retrofits and new construction to upgrade schools and public building stock for federal, state, local and tribal governments.
  • Driving new private capital investment into clean energy projects by providing clear policy guidance for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and support for expansion of Energy Saving Performance Contracts (ESPCs) that promote both portfolio-scale green building retrofits and new net-zero energy construction.
  • Linking energy and climate pollution standards to expanded federal support for new construction projects, including through U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) investments, and federal housing tax credits, as well as through green mortgage products offered by federal housing finance agencies.
  • Renewing federal funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program to assist states and cities in expanding local investment in zero carbon construction projects.

This plan to reach zero carbon in all new buildings will be accompanied by additional proposals to address climate pollution from millions of existing buildings.

This is our moment to defeat climate change and to build our clean energy future.

Let’s get to work.

You can read the plan online anytime right here. 

No fossil fuel money. No corporate PACs. Just you. Join our movement to elect a president who will defeat climate change.


U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson – Benicia Q&A on Gun Violence

Repost from email…  RSVP to
[Editor: I became a Mike Thompson fan at this event.  Although Rep. Thompson focuses primarily on practical, achievable legislative goals like strengthening background checks, he spoke plainly, boldly asserting that military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons “do not belong in the hands of citizens.”  (This view opposing assault weapons does not appear on Thompson’s website, nor in any press release I can find.  Was Mike unveiling a new position here in Benicia last Saturday?)  Thompson demonstrated a thorough grasp of the statistics and legislative procedural matters.  He is sponsoring a number of bills and supporting others, and was very much aware and supportive of the accelerating national opposition to NRA influence.  – RS]