The California State Assembly has just passed AB 32 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Assembly Speaker Fran Pavley by a vote of 46 to 31, with only 1 Republican in support. The bill will now go to the Governor who has indicated he will sign it.
Assemblymember Pavley was the floor leader for the bill and opened the debate. She was commended for her leadership by many of her colleagues.
However, many Republican members of the Assembly derided the measure as a “job killer.” Assemblymember Paul Benoit, cited the figure of some 17,000 scientists who he said found there was no proof of global warming. Republican Assemblymember Ray Haynes described current increases in world temperature as a “natural occurrence.”
Democratic Assemblymember John Laird shot back that the biggest “job killer” was the destruction of the environment and detailed many of the effects of global warming on California and the lives of Californians.
Democratic Assemblymember Rebecca Cohn said that in her childhood there were probably 17,000 scientists who advised that smoking was safe and healthy.
Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Loni Hancock, described AB 32 as “an elegant solution to a global dilemma—the dilemma of climate change.” She spoke in terms of ethics.
Many of the floor statements by supporters of the measure talked about the future of grandchildren of Assemblymembers’ children and the legacy they wish to leave them.
Democratic Assemblymember Juan Vargas said AB 32 was probably the most important bill that I’ve voted on in 6 years in the Assembly.
Environmental groups cheered passage by the Legislature and were present in the Capitol in great numbers.
The California State Senate passed AB 32 yesterday, hours after the Governor agreed he would sign the last draft of it. The vote in the Senate was 23 to 14 with 3 abstentions. All 23 votes in favor were cast by Democratic Senators and all 14 votes against the measure were cast by Republicans.
Assembly Speaker Nunez, who is a coauthor of AB 32, in his closing speech, described it as “a bipartisan bill.” He told the Assembly, including Republican doubters that Pacific Gas and Electric, which has a third of the utlity customers in the state, was in support.
This debate and the votes in both houses demonstrates vividly the differences between the Republicans and Democrats in the legislature. It can be watched on the archives of the California Channel tomorrow.