Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León called AB 398, which cleared the necessary two-thirds threshold in both houses, a “legislative unicorn” that brought together an unusual coalition of business organizations and environmental groups, among others rarely aligned at the Capitol. After weeks of intense negotiations, eight Republican legislators voted for the measure to ensure its passage.
The Senate leader described the measure as the most affordable method to reach the state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
“Let’s demonstrate to our children, to generations to come, to the rest of the nation, to Washington as well as the world, that California will always be the leader when it comes to climate action,” de León said.
Sen. Anthony Vidak, R-Hanford, argued that California produces 1 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, and that efforts to reduce climate change within the state’s borders are largely futile.
“We could shut down the entire state of California, and it would have absolutely no effect on the world climate,” Vidak said.
Sen. Tom Berryhill of Modesto, the only Republican to vote for the measure in the state Senate, said he made his decision after working with the governor to ensure that an extension of the manufacturing tax credit applied to the agriculture industry.