Report:

2021 Legislative Agenda

Released by: CALPIRG
Together Against COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge for our country, threatening our health, wellbeing and economic security. Now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, safely and equitably distribute a vaccine, protect consumers from emerging dangers and take action to prevent or mitigate future pandemics.

  • California needs a robust, streamlined effort to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines. The governor and legislature must provide sufficient funds to allow for effective vaccine acceptance education, coordination and staffing for distribution, and tracking of shots administered.

  • California must continue to invest in enough testing and PPE to suppress the virus and to protect essential workers. 

A Zero Waste Economy

California should aim to be a zero-waste economy, in which less is consumed, all products are built to last and all materials are reused, repaired, recycled and composted in a continuous cycle. This system will protect public health and the environment, conserve natural resources and landscapes, and address the mounting crisis of global warming. 

  • CALPIRG supports policies that hold producers responsible for the waste they create, which can incentivize a shift to a circular economy. 

  • CALPIRG supports SB 54, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2021.

The Right to Repair 

Every Californian should have the right to repair our stuff, from smartphones to tractors, which helps us save money and reduce waste. If consumers repaired instead of replacing electronics, California households could save $330 per year -- a total of $4.3 billion across the state. Beyond barriers for our everyday equipment, obstacles to repair can be a matter of life-or-death when it comes to critical medical devices like ventilators.

  • The legislature should require manufacturers of ventilators and other critical medical equipment to remove barriers to repair for biomedical repair technicians.

  • California should adopt broader “right to repair” reforms, which would allow consumers and small businesses to fix their property and devices in order to reduce waste and save money.

100% Clean Electricity and Transportation

Climate change is exacerbating droughts and wildfires in California, and although our state has taken lots of strong steps, we are not doing enough to combat the worst effects of climate change. Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in California, and our reliance on fossil fuels in this sector put our health, safety and environment at risk.

  • CALPIRG supports policies that help us meet and accelerate our commitment to 100% clean, renewable electricity.

  • We also support Gov. Newsom’s recent executive order banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and robust funding for zero emission vehicles and infrastructure, including charging stations.

  • The legislature should support local public transit systems that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in more public transit options, including complete streets that are safe for pedestrians and bikes.

Healthy Living 

No Californian should be exposed to known toxic chemicals in the food we eat, the water we drink or the products we routinely use. Yet when we get ready in the morning or when our kids drink from the water fountain at school, we are unknowingly dousing our bodies with dangerous chemicals. We must get lead out of drinking water, reduce pesticide use in our food production, and make consumer products toxic-free.

  • More than 2,100 school drinking water fountains tested positive for lead at 1,300 California schools over the past three years. California should require schools to prevent lead contamination, down to 1 part per billion, at every tap used for cooking or drinking and require “lead-free” faucets and fixtures to be truly lead free.

  • California should adopt policies that move us away from the use of toxic chemicals on farms, orchards, and home gardens.

  • California should adopt other public health protections to prevent our exposure to toxic chemicals in products we use every day. 

Consumer Protection

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only created a public health crisis, it has had catastrophic effects on many consumers’ financial security. Additional protections are needed to prevent further harm to consumers and to allow our economy to recover.

  • Until the state of emergency for COVID-19 has ended, all evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs should be suspended. In order to slow the spread of disease during a crisis, it is imperative that people who currently have shelter and utilities be allowed to continue to use them, regardless of immediate ability to pay.

  • We also support an extension of the federal student loan freeze and other actions to protect student loan borrowers.

High Value Health Care

The United States spends nearly double what other wealthy countries spend on health care, and yet underperforms on many populations’ health outcomes. Experts point to extraordinarily high prices, for hospital and provider services, pharmaceuticals and devices, as well as high administrative costs. CALPIRG supports proposals to reduce or eliminate price gouging in the marketplace and increase the quality and efficiency of care. 

  • California should create an Office of Health Care Affordability to figure out ways to measurably lower overall health care prices.

  • California should continue to promote transparency and competition, and prevent price gouging, in the prescription drug marketplace.

CALPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, results-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, protects public health and fosters responsive, democratic government. 

For more information about CALPIRG’s 2021 Legislative Agenda, to request our support for a bill, or to ask questions about our position on a specific issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to working with you. 

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