Bill to Maximize Clean Energy Benefits Passes First Committee

AB 961 Directs CPUC to Consider Benefits Like Cleaner Air, Improved Health, Jobs for Underserved Communities 

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — Today the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy passed AB 961, which would require the California Public Utilities Commission to consider “non-energy benefits” – impacts like job creation and improved public health – when evaluating clean energy projects. The bill is sponsored by The Greenlining Institute and backed by a broad array of environmental justice groups, solar developers, environmental groups, and progressive nonprofits.

“California leads the nation in clean energy innovation, but the benefits too often don’t reach low-income communities of color because the Public Utilities Commission never measured how these projects cut pollution, improve community health and boost the economies of underserved communities,” said Greenlining Institute Energy Equity Legal Counsel Madeline Stano. “What gets measured gets done, and this bill will make sure that officials look at the whole picture when they evaluate clean energy projects.”

“Energy efficiency programs have the potential to deliver so many benefits to local communities, especially communities that bear a disproportionate environmental and economic burden,” said Jodi Pincus, Executive Director of the Rising Sun Center for Opportunity. “We’re doing those communities a disservice if we only count the energy benefits and dismiss things like safety, affordability and workforce development.”

“California’s clean energy investments in social and environmental justice communities are highly impactful in providing broad benefits, including increased health and safety, increased resiliency, new economic opportunities, and reduced energy burden for low-income families,” said Stanley Greschner, Chief Policy and Business Development Officer of GRID Alternatives.  “AB 961 ensures these societal benefits will be quantified and measured over time. Doing otherwise, California is selling itself short when it comes to measuring the success of its clean energy investments.”

AB 961 formalizes a recommendation in the California Energy Commission’s unanimously adopted SB 350 Low-Income Barriers Study that the state establish common definitions of “non-energy benefits,” develop standards to measure them, and prioritize projects that promote them in environmental justice communities, the communities that suffer from the worst pollution and economic stagnation.

The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

For further background on AB 961, see Madeline Stano’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Ensure Diversity in California Insurance Passes First Senate Committee

SB 534 Would Require Largest Insurers to Report Supplier Diversity and Governing Board Diversity

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – Today the Senate Insurance Committee passed legislation to promote diversity in California’s insurance industry, SB 534, introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). The measure, which was supported by testimony from the California Department of Insurance, members of the department’s Insurance Diversity Task Force and The Greenlining Institute, would require the largest players in the state’s $310 billion insurance industry to report on their level of contracting with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and LGBT individuals. It would also require insurers to report on the diversity of their governing boards and set goals for supplier and board diversity.

“SB 534 will ensure that California’s insurance providers think about diversity when they make procurement decisions and choose their boards of directors,” said Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace. “California leads the nation in diverse-owned businesses, which creates the ideal environment and opportunity to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion among insurance companies and other large businesses.”

Data collected by the Department of Insurance in 2017 showed that 80 percent of major insurers’ governing board seats were held by men while just 12 percent were held by people of color. Of nearly 2,400 total board seats, only 14 members self-identified as LGBT, while 13 percent of insurance companies reported zero women and 35 percent reported zero persons of color on their boards.

SB 534 is modeled on a number of prior, highly successful diversity initiatives based on reporting and transparency, which have stimulated large increases in corporate contracting with California’s diverse businesses. The bill now moves to the Judiciary Committee.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Bill to Ensure Diversity in California Insurance Has Senate Hearing Today

SB 534 Would Require California’s Largest Insurers to Report Their Supplier Diversity and Governing Board Diversity

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – This afternoon the Senate Insurance Committee will consider legislation to promote diversity in California’s insurance industry, SB 534, introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). The measure, also strongly supported by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and The Greenlining Institute, would require the largest players in the state’s $310 billion insurance industry to report on their level of contracting with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and LGBT individuals. It would also require insurers to report on the diversity of their governing boards and set goals for supplier and board diversity. The measure is modeled on a number of prior, highly successful diversity initiatives based on reporting and transparency.

WHAT: Senate Insurance Committee hearing on SB 534

WHO: Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena); Department of Insurance Senior Deputy Commissioner and Legislative Director Michael Martinez; President/CEO of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. and Department of Insurance Diversity Task Force member Linda Akutagawa; Golden Gate Business Association board member and Department of Insurance Diversity Task Force LGBT representative Jay Greene; Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace; members of the committee

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 112

WHEN: Wednesday, April 10, 1:30 p.m.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Maximize Clean Energy Benefits Has 1st Hearing Wednesday

AB 961 Would Require CPUC to Consider Benefits Like Cleaner Air, Improved Health, Jobs in Underserved Communities 

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — On Wednesday, April 10, the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy will take up a bill to require the California Public Utilities Commission to consider “non-energy benefits” – impacts like job creation and improved public health – when evaluating clean energy projects. Environmental justice advocates consider it essential for the state to look beyond direct, energy-related impacts and consider the many other benefits that clean energy projects typically bring to underserved communities, which often struggle with high pollution levels and a lack of economic opportunities.

WHAT: Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy hearing on AB 961

WHO: Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, Greenlining Institute Energy Equity Legal Counsel Madeline Stano, Self-Help Enterprises West Goshen Community Member, Lucy Hernandez

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 437

WHEN: Wednesday, April 10, upon adjournment of the Communications and Conveyance Committee (approximately 1:30 p.m.)

For further background on the bill, see Madeline Stano’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Assembly Health Committee Passes Bill to Boost Diverse Small Businesses

AB 962 Would Track Major Hospitals’ Contracting with Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color, Veterans and LGBTs  

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — Today the Assembly Health Committee approved AB 962, introduced by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and coauthored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). The bill uses reporting and transparency to encourage California’s $230 billion hospital industry to boost its contracting with businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and LGBT people.

“I am very excited that AB 962 passed out of health committee today,” Asm. Burke said. “It is crucial that we continue to encourage increased diversity in our state across all levels. Promoting economic opportunity for our diverse businesses has benefits that extend well past the hospital-supplier relationship because when our diverse businesses benefit, we all benefit.”

“Hospitals are uniquely positioned to build relationships with the communities they serve by partnering and contracting with diverse businesses,” said Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace. “The data provided by AB 962 will enable California to leverage the expansion of the state’s health sector to benefit small businesses that employ people of color, women, LGBT people and veterans.”

The measure, sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, is modeled on a successful program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which over three decades has sparked massive increases in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises by California’s regulated utilities, as well as a similarly successful program that was administered by the Department of Insurance.

AB 962 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Boost Diverse Small Businesses Has 1st Hearing Tuesday

AB 962 Would Track Major Hospitals’ Contracting with Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color, Veterans and LGBTs

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — On Tuesday, April 2 the Assembly Health Committee will consider AB 962, introduced by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and coauthored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). The measure would use reporting and transparency to encourage California hospitals – a $230 billion industry in the state – to boost their contracting with businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and LGBT people. The measure, sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, is modeled on a successful program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which over three decades has sparked massive increases in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises by California’s regulated utilities, as well as a similarly successful program that was administered by the Department of Insurance.

WHAT: Assembly Health Committee hearing on AB 962

WHO: Assemblymember Autumn Burke, Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace, members of the committee

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 4202

WHEN: Tuesday, April 2, 1:30 p.m.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Rep. Barbara Lee, Boots Riley Headline Greenlining Economic Summit Apr. 26

26th Annual Event Marks Official Farewell for Longtime Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar  

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute’s 26th annual Economic Summit, “Reclaiming Our Time,” will feature a stellar lineup, including U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, acclaimed rapper, activist, producer, screenwriter and film director Boots Riley, She the People founder Aimee Alison, and many others exploring how to move America toward true justice and equity.

Each year Greenlining brings together powerful voices for change—grassroots community leaders, nationally known advocates, artists, elected officials and more—for a unique event that focuses like a laser on how to build a more equitable, just society. More than a conference, it’s a one-of-a-kind event where innovation, art and activism align. With a theme inspired by Rep. Maxine Waters’ iconic 2017 “reclaiming my time” moment, this year’s Economic Summit will highlight the leaders — especially here in California — who refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice.

Founded in 1993, The Greenlining Institute envisions a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity. See Greenlining’s Economic Summit web page for detailed information on the day’s program.

Last year’s Summit sold out, and this year’s is expected to as well. Journalists wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

WHAT: The Greenlining Institute’s 26th annual Economic Summit

WHO: Speakers and awardees include rapper/filmmaker Boots Riley, Rep. Barbara Lee, Dream Corps President Vien Truong, She the People founder Aimee Alison and more.

WHEN: Friday, April 26, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (registration opens at 8)

WHERE: Oakland Marriott, Oakland City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, California, 94607

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
greenlining.org

@Greenlining

Orson Aguilar to Transition Out of Role as Greenlining Institute’s President at the End of April

Aguilar Spent 20 Years with Greenlining; Organization Begins National Search for New Leader

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute’s Board of Directors announces that after nearly two decades with the organization, the last eleven years as its President, Orson Aguilar will transition out of this role at the end of April.

“Watching Orson emerge from Greenlining’s Leadership Academy as a young man two decades ago and go on to take a variety of roles and eventually become Greenlining’s leader has been remarkable,” said Board Co-Chair George Dean.

Under Aguilar’s leadership, Greenlining has grown significantly in size and impact. Greenlining has helped draft and pass critical legislation bringing new resources into communities of color, graduated over 150 Leadership Academy participants, established the Greenlining 360 Center as a hub for community organizing in Oakland, and seen its annual budget grow from $3.5 million to $7.3 million.

“Orson’s leadership has helped Greenlining become a powerful and influential organization, successfully mainstreaming racial equity,” said Ortensia Lopez, the Board’s other Co-Chair.

With Aguilar at the helm, Greenlining’s team of advocates have played a lead role in framing key economic decisions with a racial equity framework.

“Today, people look to Greenlining for bold, race-forward ideas and action to address economic inequality. I am so proud of the organization we have advanced together, and of our collective work to build a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity,” Aguilar said.

During Aguilar’s tenure as President, Greenlining:

  • Worked in coalition with key allies to pass vital legislation bringing resources into underserved communities, including CA Senate Bill 535 (De Leon) and CA Assembly Bill 1550 (Gomez), which direct cap-and-trade funds to underserved communities; CA Assembly Bill 53 (Solorio), which created a system of reporting and transparency designed to encourage major California insurers to contract with diverse small businesses; and CA Senate Bill 1275 (De Leon), jumpstarting California’s effort to make the benefits of electric vehicles available to low- and moderate-income Californians.
  • Launched the Greenlining 360 Center in downtown Oakland as a hub for community gathering. Over half the building is leased as long-term affordable office space for community nonprofit tenants or provided as affordable community meeting space. In less than two years the building has provided free or low-cost meeting and event space for some 250 events put on by over 100 different organizations.
  • Graduated 43 Fellows and 114 Summer Associates from its Leadership Academy, and has seen Academy graduates rack up achievements including an appointment to the California Supreme Court, winning local government seats, running nonprofit organizations, and securing influential positions in all sectors.
  • Negotiated community benefit agreements with banks such as City National, Cathay Bank, Union Bank and Flagstar Bank to bring tens of millions of dollars in investment into communities of color.
  • Worked with the California Public Utilities Commission and regulated utilities to protect low-income consumers from power shut-offs, provide PG&E billing in Spanish and Chinese, and create electric vehicle charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.
  • Challenged multiple corporate mergers that could harm communities of color, including playing an instrumental role in arguing against the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile Merger in 2011.

Aguilar has also been asked to serve on numerous advisory boards to institutions such as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, BBVA Compass, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Aguilar has not yet decided what will come after Greenlining. For now, he looks forward to spending time with his wife and three children before deciding on a next step in his career. “Although I am transitioning from Greenlining, my mission and Greenlining’s mission remain the same,” Aguilar said. “I am committed to fighting injustice and inequality throughout my career.”  The community will celebrate Aguilar at Greenlining’s 26th Annual Economic Summit, happening April 26, 2019 in Oakland.

The Greenlining Board of Directors has begun a nationwide search for Greenlining’s next president and is committed to finding a successor who will continue the organization’s mission to build a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to opportunity.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research, Advocacy and Leadership Development Institute
greenlining.org
@Greenlining

New Report: Will the Self-Driving Vehicle Revolution Mean Transportation Heaven or Hell?

First of Its Kind Analysis Asks Whether Autonomous, Shared and Electric Vehicles Will Worsen Inequality for Marginalized Groups

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Three simultaneous revolutions—electrification, vehicle sharing, and self-driving, autonomous vehicles—are poised to radically change transportation. A new report from The Greenlining Institute, Autonomous Vehicle Heaven or Hell? Creating a Transportation Revolution that Benefits All is the first in-depth analysis of a wide range of mobility, health, and economic implications of these revolutions for marginalized groups like people of color, the poor, the elderly, and those with disabilities.

“If we let the market make key decisions without regulation, we’re headed toward transportation hell – personal autonomous vehicles just for the rich, congesting our streets and leaving others stuck with more traffic, longer commutes and deteriorating public transit,” said lead author Hana Creger, Greenlining’s Environmental Equity program manager. “To get to a transportation heaven that’s designed for all people – less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air, more livable communities and high-quality, affordable mobility – government at all levels will have to act. Funny as it may sound, the arrival of self-driving cars means we can’t be asleep at the wheel.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • A “heaven” future would center on FAVES – fleets of autonomous vehicles that are electric and shared – improving mobility for all, cutting traffic and pollution while enabling space now wasted on parking to be put to productive use.
  • Even with FAVES, we must still prioritize the healthiest, most sustainable options like walking, biking and carbon-free public transit.
  • Ensuring that marginalized groups aren’t left out will require specific policy interventions to:
    • Disincentivize personal autonomous vehicles and promote clean, shared transportation models – FAVES – via economic carrots and sticks such as equitable road pricing that waives fees for low-income people.
    • Target economic opportunities and community benefits to marginalized populations.
    • Ensure fair labor practices and a Just Transition for truck and bus drivers and other workers who will be displaced by self-driving vehicles.
    • Ensure that autonomous and shared vehicle services are available in low-income communities and priced affordably.
    • Provide equal access to FAVES for all marginalized populations as well as booking and payment models that are workable for those without smartphones or internet access.

“The companies rushing to build and deploy self-driving cars will think only of profits unless we push them to do more,” Creger said. “We can have a true transportation revolution that cleans our air, unclogs our streets, provides high-quality jobs, and makes life better for all, especially those who have the least, but we won’t get there without rules to make the industry move in the right direction.”

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

California’s Latino Physician Crisis: Policy Briefing in Oakland Jan. 15

Latinos Are 40% of State’s Population but Grossly Underrepresented among Doctors  

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – While Latinos represent California’s largest ethnic group at nearly 40 percent of the population, they comprise just 11.6 percent of graduating physicians across California’s medical schools. In a state where nearly 44 percent speak a language other than English at home, California remains critically short of physicians prepared to address the needs of patients whose English is limited.

On Jan. 15, The Greenlining Institute will join with the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative to host a policy briefing and networking reception focusing on this growing crisis, the reforms necessary to solve it, and potential opportunities in working with California’s new governor and state legislature to find policy solutions to these disparities.

Space is limited, so those wishing to attend should register right away. Media wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

WHAT: Policy briefing and reception, California’s Latino Physician Crisis

WHO: Scheduled speakers include:

  • Orson Aguilar, President, The Greenlining Institute
  • Sonja Diaz, Executive Director,  UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative
  • Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
  • Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, Associate Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
  • Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Primary Care Association
  • Berenice Núñez Constant, Vice President, Government Relations, AltaMed Health Services Corporati

WHERE: The Greenlining Institute, 360 14th Street, first floor, Oakland, California

WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Light refreshments and a no-host bar will be available at the beginning of the event.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
greenlining.org

@Greenlining