Halle Berry Brings Heat to CA Climate Change Debate

Actress Halle Berry joined Democrat lawmakers at the California state Capitol on Monday to lend support to a sweeping new climate change bill under consideration during the final two weeks of the legislative session.

SB 350 would require California to cut its gasoline use by 50 percent by 2030, would require 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and would also require newly constructed buildings to be 50 percent more energy efficient.

Berry was invited to the Capitol by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) and state Sen. Isadore Hall (D-Compton), according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Climate change is the most important public health issue of our time, and I’m proud to be able to lend my voice to this important cause,” Berry said in a statement. “I’m here first and foremost as a mother who has concerns about the environment we are going to leave our children and future generations.”

The bill, authored by Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), has already passed the state Senate on a party-line vote of 24-14.

But it has run into resistance from moderate Democrats in the state Assembly, who have raised concerns about the gasoline reduction provision. According to the Times, the legislation would allow the California Air Resources Board, an unelected board appointed directly by the governor, to determine the method by which gasoline use is reduced.

Opponents of the bill also point to the botched implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, signed into law by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a warning to approving climate change bills without the necessary funding and strategy mechanisms, and with little legislative oversight.

“If the liberal majority in Sacramento would be willing to pass legislation that has substance and the means to achieve their goals, all would applaud,” Ian Lamont writes in the Orange County Register. “But to simply pass well intentioned legislation with lofty names is a waste of time, energy and money. This should be despised whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative.”

Berry reportedly met with several moderate Assembly Democrats in an attempt to sway the vote.

“She’s got a young daughter, she’s concerned about climate change and about having safe air,” Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), who met with Berry in his office Monday, told the Sacramento Bee. “I made her more aware of some of the issues and told her I would definitely give it due consideration.”

Cooper is reportedly undecided on whether or not he’ll vote for the bill.

The bill’s author de Leon told local NBC affiliate KCRA that he is considering adding amendments to the bill to ensure its passage in the Assembly.

“We’re still working at it right now,” de Leon told the outlet.


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