Gov. Jerry Brown has opened a committee to raise money for a potential ballot measure that would extend California’s efforts to fight climate change, the clearest sign yet that his effort to reach a legislative deal this year may not succeed.
The governor had been engaged in on-again, off-again talks with the oil industry, seeking to extend not just California’s overall greenhouse gas emission reduction goal but also the “cap and trade” program the state has been using to reach that goal.
But with rumors swirling that the bill setting a new emission reduction mandate was in trouble, the governor’s chief of staff posted a statement on Twitter Thursday afternoon vowing the effort to extend California’s climate change efforts will succeed – one way or another.
Shortly afterward, the governor's political team opened a new ballot measure committee to raise money for a potential 2018 initiative.
Although the bill seeking a new emission reduction target only requires a majority vote, the governor has been seeking two-thirds support from both houses of the Legislature in hopes of heading off a lawsuit challenging the state's "cap and trade" program as an illegal tax on businesses.
A two-thirds vote would require support from not just Republicans – but moderate Democrats, particularly in the Assembly, who banded together to block a key provision in last year's signature climate change bill.
And at this point, it's not clear supporters of this year's bill could muster even a simple majority in the Assembly.
For more on what some of the disagreements are, check outour story from Wednesday.