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    President Joe Biden follows Gov. Gavin Newsom's lead, creates American Climate Corps

    September 21, 2023 - Andrew Sheeler, The Sacramento Bee


      Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!


      Via Gillian Brassil...

      The White House announced an initiative to train young workers for clean energy and climate resiliency jobs Wednesday. The American Climate Corps will teach more than 20,000 young people to work in clean jobs intended to combat climate change, from installing solar panels and retrofitting homes for efficiency to managing forests against wildfires and preserving coastal wetlands.

      The program mimics one California has had for three years.

      The California Climate Action Corps, launched under Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020 as a joint venture with AmeriCorps, offers paid fellowships and volunteer opportunities to work with agencies and organizations on issues like urban greening, wildfire resiliency and edible food recovery.

      California was the first state to launch a civilian climate corps. Five states said Wednesday they were creating their own, bringing the total to 10 states with corps in addition to the new federal program.

      The White House and other states have looked to California climate policy before, such as on vehicle emissions standards.

      The American Climate Corps will rely on existing funding, though the White House did not say how much and from where the money derives. Program participants will be paid, but officials did not say how much.

      The program is modeled like the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.

      President Joe Biden mentioned a climate corps in an executive order after taking office in 2020 on the heels of a campaign task forces' recommendation. Last year, Democrats had proposed funding for a Civilian Climate Corps in the Inflation Reduction Act that was dropped in early negotiations. Pressure from Democrats and activists continued to mount on Biden to find another way to establish one.

      One of those climate activists was Varshini Prakash, executive director of environmental group Sunrise Movement who served on that task force.

      "Now, after years of demonstrating and fighting for a Climate Corps," Prakash said in a statement, "we turned a generational rallying cry into a real jobs program that will put a new generation to work stopping the climate crisis."

      The program aims to get trainees into "good-paying union jobs," White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi told reporters in a White House call with Prakash and others. The announcement comes amid a United Auto Workers strike. Members expressed fear that a national transition toward electric vehicles -- promised by Biden, Newsom and other Democrats -- will cut jobs and pay.


      Gun violence advocates and survivors are set to rally on the west steps of the Capitol on Thursday afternoon, calling on Newsom to sign Assembly Bill 28 into law.

      AB 28, by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, would impose a statewide 11% excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition, with the funds going toward school safety and gun violence prevention programs.

      While AB 28 isn't the first attempt by California lawmakers to pass an excise tax on firearms, it is the most successful one; AB 28 is the the only firearms excise tax to make it through the Legislature, which requires a supermajority vote.

      The bill is being championed by a variety of gun control groups, including the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, Community Justice Action Fund and Moms Demand Action.

      Gabriel will speak at Thursday's rally, which begins at 1:30 p.m., as will Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland; Mike Gipson, D-Carson; Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento; and others.

      Newsom has until Oct. 14 to sign or veto the legislation.


      "When a lot of people that I called my friends and allies turned away from me, my constituents had my back. I understood in a deeper way the relationship that I had with my community and how that motivates and drives me. That's why I'm still here. And that's why I'm running."

      - Embattled Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon, via Politico.

      Best of The Bee:

      A looming government shutdown puts House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's gavel in danger, now and in 2025, via Gillian Brassil.

      Former President Donald Trump's federal trial concerning his role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election is scheduled to begin March 4. The very next day -- March 5 -- California voters head to the polls for the state's Republican presidential primary, via David Lightman.

      Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris would seem to be on a political collision course in a race for the White House someday, but Newsom had lavish praise for his California colleague, via David Lightman and Maggie Angst.

      (C)2023 The Sacramento Bee. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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