FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2023
Contact: Michael Blenner, email@example.com
Sierra Club California Releases 2023 Legislative Report Card: A Solid Year for Legislators and a Mixed Bag for Newsom
Sacramento, CA - Today, Sierra Club California released its annual legislative report card, a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of California's lawmakers and the Governor in advancing critical climate legislation.
This was a year of victories for the environment in the state legislature, and bills advancing corporate accountability, lands conservation, oil & gas drilling, clean transportation funding, and integrity in the referendum process were all passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. Sierra Club California was also successful thwarting numerous environmentally harmful bills - a testament to the robust strength of our movement. Out of the 51 bills Sierra Club California opposed this year, only one managed to reach the Governor's desk.
This year, 46 legislators received perfect scores (voting in line with the Sierra Club position 100% of scored bills), a significant increase of 40 legislators from 2022. This includes a large number of veteran legislators as well as some freshman who made it a point to build relationships with the environmental community. Only 27% legislators across both the Assembly and Senate received 0% scores (voting against all Sierra Club-supported scored bills).
“2023 presented an important opportunity to meaningfully address the impacts of the climate crisis and fortunately, many legislators stepped up.” said Brandon Dawson, Director of Sierra Club California. “Through tireless advocacy of elected officials, we were able to push legislators to protect critical transportation funding, negotiate environmentally destructive projects out of the Governor’s infrastructure package, and stop several anti-environmental bills. Sierra Club California is excited to continue working with pro-environmental legislators and build on our momentum in 2024”
Governor Newsom's performance in 2023 was more of a mixed bag. Notably, his actions aligned with Sierra Club positions on bills 73% of the time. This year, the Governor launched a successful special session to tackle gas prices, as well as a problematic infrastructure package aimed at pushing through potentially environmentally destructive projects. A deeper evaluation of Governor Newsom's actions in 2023 presents a nuanced picture of his occasional inconsistent commitment to environmental issues., Sierra Club California ultimately gave him a "C*" grade, with the asterisk noting that he "doesn't always play well with others."
To prepare the report card this year, Sierra Club California staff selected a total of 10 bills to score in each house. The bills chosen represent a diverse array of important environmental justice and environmental issues, including bidirectional charging, oil and gas extraction, pesticides, plastic and waste recycling, corporate accountability, and water conservation. All of the bills were among those that Sierra Club California advocates and volunteers were actively engaged in supporting or opposing throughout the year.
Legislator’s scores are determined by dividing the number of times the legislator voted with Sierra Club’s position by the total number of bills for which the legislator was present to cast a vote.
Further information on scoring details, as well as individual legislator’s votes and scores are noted on the scorecard, which is available on Sierra Club California’s website.
Sierra Club California is the legislative and regulatory arm of Sierra Club’s 13 local chapters in California, representing half a million members and supporters.