Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are floating the possibility of regulatory changes or financial incentives to persuade Tesla Motors Inc. to build a massive battery factory in California, one of several states competing to host the facility.
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, will introduce so-called "intent" language Thursday regarding locating a large battery factory in the state, according to a Brown administration official and Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, who is working with Steinberg on the legislation.
The bill is only a marker, but it signals to Tesla the significance of the $5 billion factory to the Brown administration and lawmakers. Bill language is expected to suggest the possibility of financial incentives or regulatory changes, but it will not say what those might be.
Tesla, which makes luxury electric cars, is considering several states for the location of its "Gigafactory," which is expected to employ about 6,500 workers at full build-out. The Palo Alto-based company has said the factory likely will be built out of state.
The effort by Brown and lawmakers is not specific to a bid in Sacramento County to locate the battery factory at Mather Airport's business park.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The bill comes after Toyota recently announced plans to close its Torrance headquarters. Brown, who is seeking re-election, has been criticized by Republicans for what they say is California's overly burdensome regulatory climate.
Gaines said the Tesla conversations are bipartisan.
"We ought to be doing everything we can to retain that factory within the borders of California," he said.
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills in Sacramento on March 24, 2011 as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco look on. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua