In 2002, California established "community-choice aggregation," allowing local governments to create energy providers that serve as an alternative to the state's major investor-owned utilities. Two such companies now exist: Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power, which procure and sell electricity from renewable energy sources in competition with investor-owned utilities while still using their grid for transmission and distribution.
Those companies and their supporters are now sounding the alarm about AB 2145, a bill that would flip their operation from an opt-out system for customers in participating counties and cities to an opt-in system. The companies argue that the change would render them obsolete by defaulting energy provision in their communities back to investor-owned utilities, undermining their customer base and purchasing power.
Board members and local politicians from the Bay Area will lead a press conference at 1 p.m. on the south steps of the Capitol urging lawmakers to reject the proposal, which they've dubbed the "Monopoly Protection Bill." The bill, which has already passed the Assembly, will appear before the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, 3 p.m. in Room 4203.
VIDEO: When it comes to California's budget, size is in the eye of the beholder, Dan Walters says.
KILL BILL: State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has had a rough time getting his proposed cell phone "kill switch" bill through the Legislature. Facing opposition from tech companies, the bill, which would allow owners to remotely disable phones if they are stolen, failed in a close floor vote in April before being revived, amended and passed a few weeks later. The bill is now working its way through the Assembly. It's up next in the Utilities and Commerce Committee, 2 p.m. in Room 437 of the Capitol.
BOND, WATER BOND: Lawmakers have floated nine different proposals in recent months to replace the water bond going before California voters on the November ballot, which many now believe has little chance of passing. A $10.5-billion plan from Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, which would combine $3 billion for new surface and groundwater storage projects with money for environmental restoration and drought response, is the first to make it to a floor vote. It will be considered by the Senate during floor session at noon.
LGB-TEE OFF: With the high-profile coming-out announcements of professional athletes like Jason Collins, Brittney Griner and Michael Sam over the past year, conversations about the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes have entered the mainstream. Now they'll enter the Capitol. The Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media will hold an informational hearing on discrimination against LGBT athletes in sports culture and the effectiveness of laws to overcome that bias, 2 p.m. in Room 127. Rick Welts, general manager of the Golden State Warriors, is among those who will testify.
CEREMONIALS: The California Legislative LGBT Caucus presents its 2014 LGBT Pride Recognition Awards at the start of the Assembly session at noon. Ten individuals will be honored for their career accomplishments and "outstanding leadership and activism to promote equal rights for LGBT Californians," including Welts and George Takei, who played Sulu on the original Star Trek series.
Today is the 20th anniversary of Proposition 187 qualifying for the state ballot, and the California Latino Legislative Caucus will hold commemorations of "that sad chapter in our state's history" during floor session in both the Senate and the Assembly. The measure, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from accessing health care, public education and other social services, was ultimately struck down by the courts. Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is now pursuing a bill that would remove its language from California codes.
PHOTO: Recurrent Energy solar facility in Elk Grove on January 15, 2012, where Gov. Jerry Brown and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed the Memorandum of Understanding on renewable energy. The Sacramento Bee/Andy P. Alfaro