PRESS RELEASE: State Senate Advances Leader Atkins Bill to Protect Environmental, Labor Standards from Trump Attacks
SACRAMENTO – California Senate pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assemblymember Todd Gloria and San Diego’s leading environmental and labor advocates united on Friday to detail legislation that will protect key environmental and labor standards from attacks by the Trump administration.
Senate Bill 1, authored by Senate Leader Atkins (D-San Diego), along with Senators Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park), provides that any federal environmental or worker-safety standard in place and effective before Jan. 22, 2017, shall remain in effect and be enforceable under California law even if the federal government rolls it back.
“Californians – across party lines and in every corner of our state – share a deep commitment to ensuring clean air and clean water, and we have fought too hard and too long for safe working conditions to let this or any other administration undermine that progress,” Atkins said. “SB 1 is California’s insurance policy against the exploitation of our natural resources and our people.”
During the past 26 months, more than 34 different key clean air, clean water and endangered species standards have been weakened or eliminated at the federal level. Executive orders have rolled back important protections adopted under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act and halted the disclosure of toxic hazards in workplaces.
SB 1 – the California Environment, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019 – would insulate Californians from these actions.
“Despite the Trump administration’s desire to roll back key protections for our environment and workers, California will not roll with them,” Assemblymember Gloria said. “SB 1 is an essential piece of legislation that will ensure our environment and natural resources are preserved and our workers and consumers are protected, even if the federal government recklessly chooses to repeal these standards.”
The bill cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday, March 20, passing the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. The bill will also be considered by the Senate committees on the Judiciary and Natural Resources and Water before heading to the Senate floor and then the Assembly.
How SB 1 works: SB 1 implementation would be triggered by a federal agency or congressional action to weaken or roll back an environmental or workplace standard that was legally in effect on or before January 22, 2017. Once a state agency determines a baseline federal standard has been rolled back, it may adopt it as a state standard by emergency regulation or through its normal regulatory process. SB 1 also requires state environmental and worker protection agencies to review and report quarterly on federal rollbacks and provide an assessment of whether a change made to any standard constitutes a rollback.
Photo: Senate Leader Toni Atkins details how Senate Bill 1 will protect California from dangerous federal environmental and labor deregulation. She is flanked by Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Environmental Health Coalition Executive Director Diane Takvorian, San Diego Coastkeeper Executive Director Matt O’Malley, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Keith Maddox and numerous San Diegans who support the legislation.
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins