LA ist – Here Are The Major Climate Bills That Made It Through California’s Legislature This Year

By Erin Stone, LA IST

The California Legislature wrapped up its session last week and dozens of climate bills now await Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature — or veto. They range from corporate accountability to clean energy, transportation, water and more.

“The ball is definitely being advanced and I think, given the budget situation, we could have seen things be a lot worse than they turned out to be this year,” said Julia Stein, a climate policy researcher at UCLA.

This summer, lawmakers cut $6 billion in climate initiatives. 

Still, Stein said this session showed “things are moving forward in meaningful ways.”

Here’s our roundup of some of the most significant bills, and what they mean for us here in the Southland.

Corporate accountability

  • SB 253: the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act:
    • The law requires companies that do business in California and make $1 billion in annual revenue to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. Starting in 2026, big corporations will be required to tally up and send to the state the pollution from fossil fuels burned to make their products or run their operations, and the emissions associated with the product once it’s reached the consumer. It’ll affect more than 5,000 businesses, including some of the biggest brands most of us interact with regularly, including Google, Apple, and Chevron.
    • Governor Newsom has already said he’ll sign it, making it the first policy of its kind in the country. 
  • SB 261: the Climate-related Financial Risk Act
    • This bill requires any company that does business in California and makes more than $500 million yearly to report to the state its climate-related financial risk, as well as how the company will reduce or adapt to that risk. It’ll affect an additional 2,000 or so businesses. It was authored by Sen. Henry Stern, who represents parts of Ventura and L.A. counties, including Simi Valley, Canoga Park and Woodland Hills.
    • Governor Newsom has said he’ll sign SB 261.
  • AB 1167: the Orphaned Well Prevention Act
    • This bill would prevent the sale of an oil well unless the new owner can prove they can pay to plug and clean it up. That would be significant, because L.A. has the largest urban oilfield in the country, and thousands of abandoned wells continue to pollute the air and climate despite not being in operation. Angelenos who live near drilling continue to experience health impacts. It was authored by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo who represents parts of L.A. including Echo Park, Highland Park and East L.A.
    • The bill is on the Governor’s desk
  • SB 842:
    • Earlier this year, Newsom signed a “gas price gouging” law to establish a new state department called the Division of Petroleum Market Oversight, an independent body that identifies price gouging by oil companies and allows the state to penalize companies for it. Some groups, such as Consumer Watchdog, worry a last-minute deal amending SB 842 could undermine the law by requiring the state to consult with “labor and industry stakeholders” and the Department of Industrial Relations before taking certain actions. 
    • On the Governor’s desk.

Clean energy

  • SB 49:
    • This bill directs state agencies to evaluate the potential for solar energy, battery storage and transmission infrastructure alongside highways. California estimates it needs to at least triple the amount of electricity it generates by 2045, and the bill will establish a process to build this renewable energy infrastructure within state-owned rights-of-way. The non-profit lobby group Environment California helped push the legislation, using an analysis that identified L.A. and Ventura counties as having some of the most suitable space for such an effort. 
    • On the Governor’s desk. 
  • AB 1373:
  • AB 3:
    • Helps California improve port infrastructure, including here in L.A. and Long Beach, to handle offshore wind development.
    • On the Governor’s desk
  • SB 48:
    • Creates a strategy for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in large commercial buildings. About 40% of the city of L.A.’s emissions, for example, come from buildings.  
    • On the Governor’s desk.


  • AB 126:
    • Reauthorizes up to $100 million a year in continued funding for California’s clean transportation programs, such as electric vehicle incentives and charging infrastructure. 
    • On the Governor’s desk. 


  • AB 1572:
    • This bill permanently bans using drinkable water to irrigate purely decorative grass at commercial, industrial, city and institutional properties. It  starts in 2027 and would make permanent in phases a temporary drought measureadopted last year. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to 19 million of us here in the Southland, has itself advocated for this type of ban to help adapt to a hotter, drier future. It was introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).
    • On the Governor’s desk.
  • SB 676:
    • This bill would allow cities and counties to ban or restrict artificial turf at residences. Artificial turf worsens urban heat and significantly contributes to microplastics in the ocean. It was introduced by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica).

Sea level rise

  • SB 272:
    • This bill would make it mandatory for local governments to develop plans for sea level rise. It would prioritize state funding for jurisdictions that already have an approved sea level rise plan. That could help cities such as San Clemente get needed funding to deal with worsening coastal erosion. 
    • On the Governor’s desk. 


  • SB 394:
    • The bill would require state officials to create a plan to make schools more sustainable and resilient to climate change. It was introduced by Sen. Lena Gonzalez, who represents Long Beach and cities, including Bell, Maywood and Huntington Park in Southeast L.A. county,
    • On the Governor’s desk. 


  • SB 337:
    • Makes law Gov. Newsom’s “30×30”  executive order, committing the state to conserving at least 30% of its lands and coastal waters by 2030.  
    • On the Governor’s desk.

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