Inside lawmakers’ climate trips to Egypt, Japan – CalMatters

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California, explained
Get ready for another raft of ambitious climate bills when California lawmakers return to Sacramento next month.
A few days after the Nov. 8 election, bipartisan groups of more than a dozen state legislators — including some who have hit term limits and won’t be returning to the Legislature — embarked on international trips with a heavy climate focus. One delegation headed to Egypt for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and another went to Japan to study its climate and affordable housing policies.
The trips come less than a month before newly elected lawmakers are set to convene Dec. 5 in Sacramento for a swearing-in ceremony — and to begin a special session called by Gov. Gavin Newsom to consider levying a tax on oil industry profits. And they come amid an intensifying fight with the oil industry, which is seeking to qualify a 2024 referendum to overturn a new state law banning new or extensively retrofitted oil and gas wells near homes, schools and hospitals.
But lawmakers attending the U.N. conference said during a Wednesday press conference from Egypt that even more aggressive action is needed, and that California’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2045 doesn’t go fast enough.
Among the proposals lawmakers said they’re considering introducing in the next legislative session:
Other legislators who attended the Egypt conference: Democratic state Sens. John Laird and Bill Dodd and Democratic Assemblymembers Eloise Gomez Reyes, Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Mike Fong. A Senate spokesperson said no state funds were used. The Assembly paid for a security staffer to attend, but didn’t cover costs for legislators, who received a $5,000 travel stipend from The Climate Registry, said Katie Talbot, a spokesperson for Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Meanwhile, a separate delegation is in Japan from Nov. 11 to 22 for a “study tour” sponsored by the California Foundation for the Environment and the Economy, which recently took lawmakers on trips to Maine, Canada, Iceland and Portugal.
Joining representatives from the foundation’s board of directors — which includes business, labor, environmental, utility and local government leaders — were State Treasurer Fiona Ma; Democratic state Sens. Bob Archuleta, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Lena Gonzalez and Josh Newman; Republican state Sen. Scott Wilk; Democratic Assemblymembers Steve Bennett, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Laura Friedman, Alex Lee, Al Muratsuchi and Chris Ward; and Republican Assemblymember Devon Mathis. Senior Newsom administration officials were also set to attend.
According to a trip itinerary, the group is slated to tour hydrogen production facilities, port infrastructure and a Toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicle manufacturing plant; meet with elected officials and business, labor, environmental and community leaders; and learn more about Japan’s famous bullet train, affordable housing programs, clean energy investments and nuclear power plant operations.
A week after polls closed in California’s Nov. 8 election, here’s the latest look at where things stand:
Latest coverage of the 2022 general election in California
California took a long-awaited step aimed at expanding health care access on Monday, when the state’s nursing agency approved rules to allow nurse practitioners to treat patients without physician supervision, CalMatters’ Ana B. Ibarra reports. About 20,000 nurse practitioners could be eligible to apply for expanded authority in 2023, a major milestone in their years-long battle to break free of physician oversight. The expansion was opposed by the state’s powerful doctors lobby, which warned it could lessen the quality of care and even put patients at risk. But nurse practitioners — who can perform physical exams, order lab tests, diagnose ailments and prescribe medication — say the law will simply help them provide much-needed care in underserved areas.
Let’s dive into the latest news on the widespread work stoppages across California:
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