California Policy Corner: Green Hard Hat Awards and advancing legislation | U.S. Green Building Council
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Attend the Green Hard Hat Awards and learn about legislation advancing in the state of California.

Budget and green legislation

After clearing a series of legislative deadlines in April and May, seven of the eight green building bills USGBC is supporting are charging forward, although California’s bold new attempt at a cap-and-trade bill did not advance. All the while, Gov. Brown has put state leadership on the global stage by striking new climate deals with China.

The deadline for the Governor to pass the budget put pressure on the legislature to figure out how to align state funds with state priorities. The newly adopted 2017–2018 budget is lengthy, and will not be truly complete without a few key trailer bills that address cap and trade and water conservation. These issues are still in negotiation, and are likely to be resolved at the end of June.

The budget includes

  • $2.8 billion towards fixing roads, strengthening overpasses and bridges and building mass transit.
  • More than $11,000 per pupil on K–12 schools.
  • $546 million toward health care access and family planning.

Seven of the eight bills USGBC supports are moving forward in the legislature. Check out the widget below for up-to-date information on the eight bills we’ve been supporting.

Green Hard Hat Awards

On June 21, USGBC will celebrate two state leaders who are helping take California forward on climate, energy and water issues through green buildings at the 2017 Green Hard Hat Awards. Sen. Scott Wiener and Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission will earn this badge of honor as champions for our cause.

Register for the event at the LEED Platinum Golden 1 Center.

Under debate

Achieving the state’s aggressive energy and climate goals will require efforts on many fronts, including building codes, appliance standards, improved compliance, education and training and market demand. Green buildings and communities play an important role in driving investment and actions that deliver direct and indirect climate benefits.

An upgraded cap-and-trade program for California would be much-needed rocket fuel to propel market forces behind the effort. However, no legislative vehicle appears to remain for cap-and-trade extension this session. This year’s ambitious cap-and-trade extension and improvement measure, AB 378, failed to advance. Key players representing labor, environmental, environmental justice, and business groups must reconcile their disagreements in order to move forward.

Looking ahead

After this month’s Green Hard Hat Awards, we’ll be focusing on supporting state agencies in their implementation of key policies and programs that are driving green building forward:

  • Statewide building benchmarking implementation via AB 802
  • Green building requirements in Title 24 via CALGreen
  • The AB32/SB32 scoping plan and how green buildings can be a key part of the solution to meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Other bills to watch are SB 100, a push toward a 100 percent renewables portfolio standard, which recently passed the Senate, and SB 1, a major transportation measure that seeks to raise revenue for infrastructure investments.

Water conservation continues to take center stage in the state legislature. AB 1667 and AB 1668 passed the assembly. These measures would be instrumental “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life,” an extension of Governor Brown’s 2016 Executive Order B-37-16.

USGBC will continue to support all relevant legislative measures in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, we hope you'll join us for the Green Hard Hat Awards.

Register for the Green Hard Hat Awards and tour

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