Governor Vetoes State Agency Bike-Share Bill
But Signs Bill Calling for Seat Belts on Buses
Governor Brown continues to work through a pile of bills on his desk, signing some and vetoing others.
Vetoed: Employee Bike-Share, Restrictions on Young Drivers
Brown yesterday vetoed S.B. 702, a bill from Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) that would have required the Department of General Services to expand the small employee bike-share program it now runs in Sacramento to other state agencies throughout California.
In his veto message, Brown says that the bill is unnecessary. “The Department should continuously assess the demand for this program and expand as needed,” he wrote, “within its existing authority.”
“I think bike advocates who work for the state of California had their voices heard,” said Senator Stern in response to the veto. “And the Governor got the message. Now we just have to nudge state agencies to step up within their existing authority. There’s an emerging consensus that bike sharing is a solution for public and private employers to manage company car costs, improve health outcomes and do their part to clean California’s air.”
Dave Snyder of CalBike, the sponsor of the bill, said, “Since we know the demand for this program is strong, we expect the department to expand this program immediately. What was unnecessary was the governor’s veto.”
The bill had no opposition—at least, there is none recorded in the various analyses put out by the legislative committees that voted on it. It’s too bad. This could have been a relatively effortless first step towards encouraging a culture shift that needs to happen, one way or the other, if California is truly going to combat climate change–which this governor claims he wants to do. Brown missed an opportunity here, however small a step it might be.
He also vetoed A.B. 63, a bill from Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) that would have extended some of the licensing requirements now imposed on minors to young drivers between 18 and 21. Assemblymember Frazier was trying to address a serious safety issue from many young drivers being undertrained and inexperienced. But the Governor objected that the bill creates a burden for a subset of adults who are “no longer seen as minors in the eyes of the law.”
“When I vetoed a similar bill in 2013,” wrote Brown, “I believed that efforts would be better focused on teen driver training and education programs that improve transportation safety for provisional drivers. That is still my view today.”
It’s certainly true that California needs to see much better driver education for everyone.
Signed: Seat Belts on Buses, Cleaner State Vehicles, Ped Countdowns
Brown has been signing many more bills than he has vetoed in the run-up to the deadline. Among them is S.B. 20 from Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, which requires drivers and passengers on buses to wear seat belts. This covers “certain buses” that are already required to provide seat belts; that is, it does not include transit buses. School buses are already required to provide seat belts (unless they are ancient, in which case nah).
The governor also signed A.B. 739, from Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), which requires state agencies to up the proportion of heavy-duty zero emission vehicles in their fleets to at least fifteen percent in 2025, and thirty percent by 2030.
It’s a small step. But heavy-duty trucks and buses account for a large percent of California’s air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, even though they are a relatively small portion of the overall fleet. In a press release, Assemblymember Chau wrote that his bill “will help create jobs and a market that fosters heavy-duty zero emission vehicle development, provide more fuel-efficient vehicles, and contribute to our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, while improving public health.”
And, as Streetsblog has already reported, Brown also signed a bill making it legal for pedestrians to behave logically and cross the street while a signal is counting down.