August 23, 2012 Update: AB 1648 California DISCLOSE Act successfully passes through State Assembly
With 50 votes in favor, the proposed bill aiming to bring transparency back to Californian political campaigns passed successfully through the California State Assembly on Monday, August 20th. The proposed legislation authored by Assemblymember Julia Brownley and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC), would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974 and require all public political campaign advertisements in all media forms to clearly display or broadcast the three largest funders of the ad within the advertisement itself.
While no Republicans voted in favor, the bill made it through its first major hurdle and now faces the challenge of passing through two State Senate Committees and a floor vote by August 31st. If successfully passed through the Senate, this bill will find itself on the governor’s desk by the end of fall 2012 and likely onto the June 2014 ballot.
Join the Green Chamber of Commerce and other statewide endorsers of this clean money campaign by signing the petition here: California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC)
August 5, 2012 Update: California DISCLOSE Act AB 1148 to be voted on as early as August 6, 2012
After falling two votes short of a two-thirds majority in the California State Assembly last January, the next generation of the California Disclose Act (sponsored and authored by the Clean Money Campaign and Assembly member Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) has returned to the California State Assembly floor as AB1648. The Green Chamber strongly supports the adoption of this revised bill which modeled after the former Federal Disclose bill, calls for greater transparency in public elections. Such a landmark bill would dramatically level the playing field for all California constituents, particularly those in the sustainable business community.
As California legislators return from recess and new legislation begins its descent to the Assembly floor as early as August 6th, the fate of AB1648 will ultimately be decided by August 31st when all legislation must clear both houses. Amended as an urgency bill, the bill would be effective immediately upon enactment after successfully reaching a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. if AB1648 passes successfully through the State Assembly this session, it will give constituents a new opportunity to voice their support for the bill in Senate committee hearings taking place throughout August.
Update: California DISCLOSE Act AB 1148 Falls Two Votes Short, But Sets Stage for Future Victory
Every Democrat except Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani votes for real disclosure The California DISCLOSE Act, which the Green Chamber participated in advocating on behalf of in December and January, has unfortunately met its end as a result of being just two votes short a two-thirds majority on the California State Assembly Floor. The Green Chamber is hopeful after hearing that the sponsors and author of this campaign…
The Green Chamber Endorses AB 1148, California Disclose Act which will help to bring transparency to campaign and election financing in CA! Help us in supporting the passage of this bill through CA Assembly Appropriations Committee!
AB 1148, authored by Assemblymember Julia Brownley and sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign,would get rid of the fine print for disclosures and stop special interests from hiding behind fake names like “California Jobs Initiative”. AB 1148 will require televised political ads to show their three largest funders on a full screen in large white print on a black background, with their logos. That’s why it’s endorsed by over two hundred leaders and organizations like ours.
Not only will the California DISCLOSE Act apply to ads for and against ballot measures, but it will also apply to independent expenditures for and against candidates. It will tell voters who is really funding propositions and attack ads when it counts!
The Green Chamber participated in a very successful California Assembly Elections Committee Hearing last Monday and testified on behalf of socially and environmentally responsible businesses to pass AB 1148: CA Disclose Act in California.
At the Assembly Elections Committee Hearing, we won a big 5-0 victory for AB 1148, the California DISCLOSE Act, thanks partially to an incredibly impressive showing at the hearing of over 100 people and delivery of over 15,000 signatures for AB 1148! Everybody was amazed, at the number of people who came to Sacramento to demand that we fight back against unlimited anonymous spending by Big Money special interests by disclosing the top three funders of political ads — on the ads themselves.
Update: California Governor Brown Signs Benefit Corporation Bill Into Law!
Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 361 into law on Monday which creates legal protection for businesses interested in pursuing a triple bottom line for success: including people, planet, and profit in their decision making processes.
According to B Corp organization, the California Benefit Corp. legislation is unique, providing the strongest consumer and investor protection through the most rigorous transparency provisions among the states that have so far enacted benefit corporation legislation. California, the largest economy in the U.S. and considered the home of entrepreneurial activity using sustainability as a driver of innovation, becomes the biggest state, and the sixth overall, to pass benefit corporation legislation.
Update: AB 376 – The Shark Protection Act – Becomes California State Law!
Last Friday was a monumental day for shark conservation advocates along the West Coast and around the world. Governor of California Jerry Brown signed into law AB 376, The California Shark Protection Act, which from this day forward bans the sale, trade, or distribution of shark fins off the California coast. In fact, AB 376 officially recognizes the act of killing sharks as a crime and will impose a state-mandated local program to watch coastal waters and protect shark populations.
Assemblymembers Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) authored the bill because they both felt that is was time for California to take a more aggressive stance on the protection of this vital and endangered species because not enough action or protection was happening on a national level.
City of San Francisco Yellow Pages Ordinance – PASSED!
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors made a landmark decision on May 17, 2011 with the 9-1 passage of the Yellow Pages Ordinance. San Francisco’s policy follows Seattle’s October opt-out policy for Yellow Pages.
The ordinance mandates delivery of the Yellow Pages to only those citizens who “opt-in” or sign up to have the Yellow Pages. This change in policy will save millions of pounds of paper per year, in addition to decreasing recycling costs to the tune of about $1 million taxpayer dollars per year. Currently, only 38% of recipients open the yellow pages.
Our Vice President, Alexia Marcous, stated:
“This is going to improve the Yellow Pages phone book marketing channel. By requiring the delivery of the phone book to the consumers that actually want it, it will allow the yellow pages to understand the demographics of the consumers that actually want it. This will in turn allow businesses to use that information to create more relevant, targeted marketing to more likely customers, resulting in improved ROI in the phone book channel. So not only is it a win for the environment with the reduction of resources, a win for commercial and residential taxpayers with the reduction of costs, it’s a win for consumers which will receive more relevant advertising, and it’s a win for business that will receive more accurate exposure and demographic data on this channel.”
The city was able to pass this ordinance with the support of the Green Chamber of Commerce. The Green Chamber of Commerce aims to take this movement nationally, beyond San Francisco. Look for more details from us soon!
AB 361: Benefit Corporation Passes California Senate Judiciary Committee
On May 26, AB 361 Benefit Corporation legislation passed through the California State Assembly with a 50-19 vote. The bill passed through the California State Senate’s Judiciary Committee on July 6, 2011, the last policy committee. The bill is now scheduled to be heard before the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 15, 2011.
AB 361 legislation creates Certified Benefit Corporations (or B Corps), which is essentially an extra certificate for corporations who meet the standards. B Corps analyze the effect of their business practices on not only their business, but on the environment and society. They accomplish this goal through re-framing their usual business practices to incorporate greater accountability and transparency.
The great benefit of AB 361 will bring more clean tech investment to the State of California. The more sustainable businesses that are certified in California, the more investors will look to California for clean tech investment. Another great benefit is tax breaks for the Benefit Corporations and job creation in the clean tech economy. As sustainable businesses expand, and along with them businesses practices that promote transparency and fair treatment to employees.
Virginia, Maryland, Vermont and New Jersey have already passed B corp legislation into law. Colorado, Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and California have introduced and hope to pass Benefit Corporation legislation into law by the end of this year.
The California B Corp legislation, AB 361, was introduced in February 2011 by Marin County Assemblymember Jared Huffman. Support for AB 361 comes from American Sustainable Business Council, Green America, The Green Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Social Venture Network, and the US Green Business Council.
The Green Chamber of Commerce will be keeping an eye on this bill as it continues through the Senate and will report back as soon as we hear how it goes!
AB 376: Shark Fin Ban
Assembly Bill 376 was introduced by California Assemblymembers Paul Fong (Mountain View) and Jared Huffman (San Rafael). The bill would make it unlawful to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade or distribute shark fins. Exceptions to this would be an individual holding a state license or permit to harvest shark fins. There is a federal law currently against shark fin trade, however, Assemblymember Fong believes it has been ineffective, and thus California must move into action.
Every year, 26 to 73 million of sharks are killed for shark fin soup. Sharks are crucial for the success of the ocean’s ecosystems. When shark fins are harvested, harvesters leave the finless sharks in the oceans, where they are left to die since they are immobile and cannot breathe. One site reports the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species estimates that 30% of open ocean sharks are threatened with extinction. Recent survey states that 70% of Americans support AB 376. Other countries and states, such as Washington (2011) and Hawaii (2010), have signed laws that ban sale, trade or distribution of shark fins.
The Green Chamber of Commerce supports the passage of AB 376 as well. Look for updates as the bill progresses through the California State Senate!
Clean Car Campaign
California is an established leader in environmental standards, especially in vehicle requirements. The California Clean Car Campaign is a consortium of consumer, health, business, government, faith, and environmental leaders supporting the California Clean Cars Program. They officially launched on June 9, 2011 . The Campaign aims to promote the California Clean Cars Program and push for tighter environmental standards for the 2017-2025 model cars.
The California Clean Cars Program will release the full statues for model years 2017-2025 on September 1, 2011. The Sacramento Bee reports the California standards will require average fuel economy to increase by 6% per year, and lower emissions by 6% per year. This would bring the average fuel economy to over 60 mile per gallon by 2025. In addition, this increases the market for alternative fuels and electic cars. Clean Cars Campaign reports that this will lower consumer costs and bring jobs and investment to California.
The largest driving factor behind the California Clean Cars Program is human health concerns. Passenger cars and trucks are the largest producers of air pollution. The American Lung Association reports previous reductions in pollution have proven successful to increasing population health. There is, however, still work to be done. The California Clean Car Program will help to continue to decrease pollution-related deaths and illnesses.
The Green Chamber of Commerce proudly supports the Clean Cars Campaign and currently has a Green Chamber representative serving on the Campaign’s advisory committee.
SB 568: Statewide Styrofoam Ban
The Green Chamber of Commerce supports SB 568 (proposed by Senator Alan Lowenthal, D-Longbeach), which if is enacted upon, will phase out polystyrene foam or “Styrofoam” by 2016 in the state of California. Many cities and organizations suppor this legislation; for a full list of supporters, click here. Styrofoam is the second most common debris washing up on California’s beaches today. Birds and marine life accidentally consume the material, which may lead to injury or death.
Styrene is a significant health issue. Styrene is a major component of Styrofoam and those exposed to it can experience irritation of skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract as well as face gastrointestinal effects. There are many alternatives to Styrofoam, such as polyactic acid, a biodegradable material from sugar cane processing. If SB 568 is enacted, it will make California move to these safer alternatives, creating jobs in the process.