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California's Awesome Climate Law Survives (Again)

Good news. It looks like California's Proposition 26 did not defang the state's climate legislation after all. The sneak attack failed.

California's excellent climate-change-fighting legislation, known as A.B. 32, survived the recent elections. There was a measure called Proposition 23 on the ballot (funded in large part by out-of-state oil companies) that would have all but killed the climate change legislation but the voters rejected it.

But then we heard that another ballot measure, Proposition 26, which passed, might actually make it impossible for the state of California to levy taxes on polluters.


So what's the deal? Did California declaw its climate law? UCLA law professor Jonathan Zasloff weighed in with wonky authority:

Legally, we are still all systems go for AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. First, take a look at the careful analysis that Cara, Sean, and Rhead produced a couple of weeks ago. It notes one extremely important fact about Proposition 26: its retroactive provisions only go back to January 2010, and AB 32 was enacted in 2006. AB 32 explicitly authorizes the California Air Resources Board to impose regulatory fees. Since Proposition 26 only applies to state “statutes,” it does not affect administrative regulations. Second, any interpretation of Proposition 26′s meaning must look to the touchstone of interpreting California initiatives: the intent of the voters. By passing Proposition 26, could we reasonably read the state’s voters as wanting to undermine AB 32? Absolutely not, because at the same time they passed Proposition 26 with a small though clear (52.8%) majority, they overwhelmingly (61.2%) rejected Proposition 23, which would have suspended AB 32. Thus, any doubts in interpreting Proposition 26 must be resolved in favor of allowing AB 32 to continue.

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Good news.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user docentjoyce

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