In addition to drafting a new Farm Bill, the issues of immigration, renewable fuels and global warming likely will be on the agenda when the 110th Congress is sworn in next January. But some states aren't waiting on Washington. Frustrated by the federal government's inability to enforce immigration existing immigration laws, state legislatures considered a record 550 pieces of immigration legislation this year. More than 75 new laws were passed in 27 states. The constitutionality of the new laws remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain... the states are taking a harder line than the federal government. In California, the issue has even trickled down to local governments like the Escondido City Council, where lawmakers have been mulling their own reforms. But the big legislative news in California this week came from Sacramento, where Governor Schwarzenegger broke ranks with his fellow Republicans in an effort to "terminate" CO2 emissions.
After weeks of negotiations the California Senate has approved a bill to reduce the state's greenhouse emissions. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who helped to assemble the bill called Wednesday's agreement "an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues." The bill will require the state's major industries such as utility plants, oil and gas refineries and cement kilns, to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses by an estimated 25 percent by 2020.
California is the nations most populous state and the 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases. California already leads the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through its renewable energy policies and a 2004 law reducing tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles.
One of the key components of the current bill would be to allow businesses to buy, sell and trade emission credits with other companies. The bill would also prohibit the California from entering long-term contracts with any out-of-state utility that fails to reduce emissions.
In the absence of much federal action the effort to combat climate change has been focused on the state level. The bill will give Governor Schwarzenegger a key environmental victory as he seeks re-election this fall. Environmentalist hope that the bill will serve as a model for other states to follow while business leaders are saying it will increase their costs and force them to scale back their California operations.