A contentious proposal to merge California’s energy grid with others in the West won’t advance this year, after the lawmaker sponsoring it said Wednesday it requires more discussion.
But critics charges a regional grid would open California’s market to coal and natural gas power generated in other states. They cheered Holden’s decision to pause the bill.
Holden said he hopes to revisit the plan next year after more discussion on legislative oversight of such a switch. California has debated regionalizing the grid for years, but Holden’s proposal was introduced late last week.
Gov. Jerry Brown has supported a regionalization plan. Cal-ISO operates long-distance power transmission lines for about 75 percent of California power customers.
Shelving the bill misses an opportunity to “reduce utility bills, cut pollution and increase electric service reliability,” the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a statement.
If Brown signs it, it will require pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide 60 to 90 days’ notice to big purchasers such as the state and insurance companies before instituting sizeable price increases.
Other bills sent to Brown on Wednesday would:
—Require immigration agents to present a warrant for access to community colleges or California State University campuses. The bill is part of California’s effort to protect roughly 200,000 young immigrants in the state who are protected from deportation under a federal program being halted by the Trump administration. Another bill requires immigration agents to present a warrant to enter workplaces.
—Allow taxpayers to make a voluntary tax contribution to help the state reduce its backlog of untested rape kits.
—Granting parole to more elderly inmates. Federal judges in 2014 ordered California to consider releasing inmates 60 or older who have served at least 25 years in prison. The bill locks that court order into law. Death row, no parole inmates, police killers and third-strike career criminals are excluded.
—Add new restrictions on California drivers under age 21. A bill headed to Brown would require anyone under 21 to have a provisional license starting in 2020, compared to age 18 in current law. Provisional driver’s licenses restrict when someone can drive and who they can have in the car, with exceptions for driving to school and work.
Bailouts Don’t Make Customers Safer, or Cover Their Damages
Utility customers, many of whom are already struggling with low wages and high housing costs, cannot afford to pay billions extra