Clean Water Action plays an important role in both sponsoring legislation and keeping an eye on the bills being voted on in the California Legislature that will affect our environment.
While Clean Water Action’s staff evaluates hundreds of bills each year, here are the ones we are directly sponsoring, as well as several that we’re prioritizing.
2023 Clean Water Action Bills to Watch
SB 3 (Dodd) is co-sponsored by Clean Water Action, along with the Community Water Center and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability due to our long history in promoting the human right to water. Despite risks to public health, water shutoffs due to nonpayment disproportionately impact communities of color. Often these communities are also served by smaller systems that were not included in 2018’s Water Shutoff Protection Act, which established common-sense protections, including payment plans, to limit water shutoffs. SB 3 takes the important step of expanding state law to smaller systems to protect our most vulnerable communities. This bill passed out of the state legislature on September 11th and is headed to the Governor for his signature. Send a message to your Governor Newsom asking him to sign in support of SB 3.
AB 1290 (L. Rivas) Plastic waste and toxic chemicals are two of the biggest environmental problems facing the planet. While California has taken action to reduce plastic waste, AB 1290, co-sponsored by Clean Water Action along with our allies at Californians Against Waste, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and NRDC, takes an important extra step by banning specific plastic packaging materials and additives by January 2026 to protect public health and facilitate more effective recycling. Severely toxic materials included in the bill include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), PFAS, and cancer-causing carbon black. This bill was held in committee as the chemical and plastics industry tried to confuse newer members about its goals and how it related to previous legislation. We are making this a 2-year bill to give us the time to do necessary outreach and education among legislators and pass it in 2024.
Key Bills Clean Water Action Supports
Clean Water Action supported 3 bills to reform the state’s archaic water rights system this year. One of the three, SB 389 (Allen), passed out of the legislature on September 11th and now awaits the Governor’s signature.
SB 389 (Allen) would change current law exempting senior water rights holders from reporting their water use. The bill would require senior water rights holders to follow the same reporting process as other water rights holders and would allow the State Water Board to investigate the validity of their claims. Currently, 35% of our water use is unreported, making it impossible for the state to properly evaluate water usage. Send a message to the Governor asking him to sign SB 389!
AB 249 (Holden) would require community water systems that serve school sites to test for lead in the potable water system outlets. Clean Water Action supports this important protection of our children, but has heard that the Governor is resistant to signing it. Help us get this important measure into law by sending a message to Governor Newsom today.
OIL AND GAS
Unfortunately, the Legislature is putting off meaningful action on oil, gas, and related air issues that affect primarily low-income communities of color.
AB 1167 (W. Carrillo) requires entities that purchase oil/gas wells to post a bond to cover the cost of closing that well at the time of purchase. This would allow state agencies to act quickly to address leaking abandoned wells; as we saw in Lamont-Arvin in June, it takes longer to address problems when no responsible party can be identified. AB 1167 passed the House and Assembly and has been sent to the Governor.
Clean Water Action also supported 3 bills that would continue the progress we’ve made in limiting the use of PFAS in products in order to reduce our exposure and protect the environment. All three passed the legislature and are on the way to the Governor for signature.
AB 1423 (Schiavo) would ban the manufacture and sale of surface coverings that contain PFAS (such as artificial turf) by January 2026, as well as limiting where on public lands such coverings can be installed. Clean Water Action supports this bill in the effort to protect children, athletes, and the environment from PFAS.
AB 246 (Papan) will phase out PFAS in menstrual products sold in California. Clean Water Action has worked closely with the author’s staff to make this the strong health protective bill it is.
AB 727 (Weber) would phase out the manufacture, distribution, or sale of consumer and commercial cleaning products that contain PFAS in the state of California. Again, Clean Water Action supports this as a step toward stopping PFAS exposure and pollution at the source.