Advocacy Committee Kicks Off 2020 Engagement

When we get through the current crisis, we still have climate change to deal with, and hopefully a lot of lessons learned about the need to better prepare for what we know is coming.  Recently, once the dust had settled after the February 21 deadline for the introduction of new legislation this year – the second year of the two-year 2019/2020 Legislative session – we counted almost 2,300 new bills here in the state of California!

As expected, homelessness, affordable housing, fire resiliency, water, education and the labor law (AB 5) have dominated the new year.  Needless to say, COVID-19 is taking center stage now.

New bills may come to our attention as we track the 2020 Legislative Session…but as of now, we have identified forty-four 2020 bills that may be of interest to USGBC-LA members.  Some of these are still “spot bills”, which serve as placeholder bills, and may die on the vine or be repurposed, as many of them are right now for COVID-19 response. These 44 bills cover a wide range of topics such as climate resilience, energy, water, building materials, and equity and affordable housing. We have just started to see how these bills could help, or hinder, our USGBC-LA Initiatives and committees, like True Zero Waste, Decarbonization, Buy Clean or Green Janitors. Please help us by joining our Advocacy Committee which meets once a month.

Important legislative measures for us this year may include:

  • AB 2195 (Maienschein): aims to provide incentivize green space
  • AB 2162 (O’Donnell): expands IAQ requirements for school construction
  • AB 2446 (Bonta): expands eligible materials under the Buy Clean Program; including cement.
  • AB 2566 (Garcia): will require CARB to produce a statewide consumption-based GHG inventory
  • SB 1035 (Rubio): will provide grants for low income families to purchase low carbon appliances

Typically, groups that are active in the Capitol will decide which bills to support or oppose and will advocate accordingly.  Sometimes, these positions are more nuanced. They may be “support if amended” or “oppose unless amended”. In both cases, the specific amendments need to be clearly articulated.

We welcome volunteers to help our team review these bills and recommend positions for USGBC-LA to take.  As of February 2020, we have contracted with Ecoconsult, a Sacramento based lobbying firm, to help advance our goals in the Legislature and regulatory agencies.

We are also looking for ideas on how we can help support our local communities through new legislation on the COVID-19 pandemic response and our planning other advocacy related activities for the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021. Come get engaged and make your voice heard!

About the Author

Ben StapletonExecutive Director for USGBC-LA. A native Angeleno, Ben Stapleton is a recognized sustainability leader, who brings to this position extensive experience and connections across real estate, technology and innovation. He launched and managed the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles, most recently serving as SVP, Operations & Finance for the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI). The Campus has become an epicenter for sustainability in the region featuring events with prominent local, national and international leaders, while being home to a community of cutting-edge businesses and nonprofits. At LACI, Stapleton led major operational growth, program development, and partnerships to triple revenue for the non-profit. Simultaneously, he helped lead efforts that resulted in the La Kretz Innovation Campus becoming an iconic green building for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the City of Los Angeles, with multiple certifications, as well as pilot projects targeting waste, water, and energy efficiency. Stapleton has also held the positions of Managing Director of the LA Better Buildings Challenge and Vice President & Cleantech Practice Group Lead at JLL. He has served on the boards of LA Bioscience Hub and USGBC-LA. Representing competing schools in Los Angeles, Stapleton holds a MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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