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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Brown approves energy and health bills

Gov. Jerry Brown approved Senate Bills 489 and 746 on Oct. 8 and 9, respectively.

Sen. Lois Wolk (D- Davis) authored Senate Bill 489, also known as the Renewable Energy Equity Act. The bill is designed to open California’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program to all eligible forms of renewable energy.

“This will allow agricultural businesses and homeowners to more easily and economically convert their renewable byproducts into clean renewable energy and to off-set their electricity use, help reduce the need for new power plants and transmission infrastructure and save money on their power bills,” Wolk said in her policy summary.

According to Wolk, California has been seeking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. She said the NEM program was only open to wind or solar power generators, which take advantage of the program’s ability to get renewable energy quickly but prevent the benefits of combining the different types of renewable energy. In particular, small-scale eligible renewable energy producers incur more costs that outweigh the benefits of renewable power.

“I applaud the governor’s decision to sign these bills into law,” Wolk said. “Making it easier for all Californians to utilize clean, renewable energy takes us closer to reaching the state’s goal of obtaining a third of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.”

The bill was supported by organizations such as the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), Environmental Defense Fund, California Farm Bureau, Yolo County and others.

Senate Bill 746 prohibits the use of tanning beds for persons under 18 years of age. Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) proposed this bill in 2007.

“He’s been the sponsor of the bill since 2007 and finally got it through,” said Lieu’s Communications Director Ray Sotero. “He has concerns on the long-term effects of UV rays, especially on children.”

SB 746 was approved in response to medical experts stating there are various consequences that can arise from use and overuse of tanning beds.

“[Lieu] represents on the largest coastal districts and when he became aware that instead of going to the beach and getting a tan naturally, there were more tanning salons in L.A. than there are Starbucks and McDonald’s, that said something about the lifestyle there,” Sotero said. “He’s concerned about the children under 18 having access to tanning beds.”

According to Sotero, although there are requirements for parental consent forms, there’s little information that explains the health issues related to indoor tanning bed usage. He said California is the first to ban tanning beds for those under 18.

“After it was signed by the governor, we have heard from Canada and several other states who want to do something similar,” Sotero said.

The bill was sponsored by the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery and the AIM at Melanoma Foundation. Organizations such as the California Medical Association, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and the American Academy of Pediatrics backed the bill.

“Indoor tanning is especially harmful because of the intense and dangerous type of ultraviolet rays emitted from the tanning beds,” said Lieu in a statement. “Moreover, the skin damage is cumulative, so the more exposure one gets younger in life, the worse the harmful effects will be.”

SB 746 will take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

CLAIRE TAN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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