State Advocacy Report

Dennis Murphy, USGBC CAC Chair

The USGBC California Advocacy Committee (CAC), representing NCC, the seven other Chapters across the state and thousands of green building professionals, continues to build a public policy presence in Sacramento. We are proud to see our first two sponsored bills and a number of supported legislation becoming law.

The California Legislative calendar wraps up at the end of September. Bills that have traveled through committees and have passed both the Assembly and Senate go to the Governor for either the happiness of his signature or the heartache of one of his memorable veto letters.

Here’s the 2011 scorecard:

  • Both CAC-Sponsored AB930 (Gordon [Redwood City] – The California Building Standards Commission Sustainability) and CAC-Sponsored SB 128 (Lowenthal [Long Beach] – School facilities funding: high-performance schools) have been signed into law.
  • CAC-Sponsored SB132 (Lowenthal [Long Beach] – School siting priorities) remains in committee as a two-year bill.
  • CAC-Supported AB 361 (Huffman [San Rafael] – Benefit corporations) has been signed into law.
  • CAC-Supported SB 310 (Hancock [Berkeley] – Local development) has been signed into law.
  • CAC-Supported SB 454 (Pavley [Agoura Hills] – Energy efficiency standards) has been signed into law.
  • CAC-Supported SB 555 (Hancock [Berkeley] – Local government: community facilities districts) has been signed into law.
  • CAC-Supported AB 512 (Gordon [Redwood City] – Local government renewable energy self-generation) has been signed into law.
  • CAC-Supported AB 849 (Gatto [Burbank] – Water: use efficiency: graywater building standards) has been signed into law.
  • Earlier this year, CAC-Supported SB X1 2 (Simiitian [Palo Alto] 2020 33% RPS Target) and AB X1 14 (Skinner [Berkeley] Energy: energy upgrade financing) were signed into law.

There is even opportunity in seeming misfortune. The Governor vetoed AB 275, AB 700 and AB 767, but there is opportunity moving forward for CAC to work with the Governor’s office and legislators in these areas.

The California multi-chapter operational model was featured in a recent national advocacy webinar and USGBC has just announced a (Multi-) Chapter Innovation Grant award for the CAC’s Project Vox Populi initiative. Over the next few months, the CAC will work on its strategic planning process and identify specific goals, strategies and actions aimed at deepening our impact and influence. Project Vox Populi seeks to utilize the combined intellectual capacity of USGBC subject matter experts (the subject of the ongoing Council of Experts project, headed by NCC’s CAC rep Paul Wermer) and match them with appropriate collaborative, presentational and social media technologies (white papers, websites, webinars, success stories, case studies, reports, press releases, op-eds, tweets) to present a continued, consistent public voice advocating regenerative jobs, buildings and communities. We plan to feature LEED for Neighborhood Development as a planning framework for smarter communities, and especially in revitalizing blighted, underserved and “underwater” areas.

The spotlight of Greenbuild 2012 will shine brightly upon San Francisco, NCC and California, and we hope to leverage our fifteen minutes by permanently raising the USGBC advocacy profile across the state. We have made some real progress this year, but hope to really amp things up in 2012. Let’s make it so!


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U.S. Green Building Council -
North California Chapter

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San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 659-9404