Breaking News! AB 416 Deforestation-Free Procurement Act and AB 1282 Blood Bank Modernization Act Pass the California State Assembly!

Deforestation Act Passes
Deforestation Act Passes

Today, AB 416 the Deforestation-Free Procurement Act passed the full Assembly with a preliminary vote of 47-18. Earlier this year, this bill was introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) along with co-sponsors, Social Compassion in Legislation, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Peace 4 Animals. The bill now moves to the Senate.

“I am grateful to my colleagues for once again affirming California’s leadership on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity, and valuing Indigenous rights. AB 416, the California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, ensures that state contracts are not playing part in the commodity-driven deforestation crisis in either the boreal or tropics,” said Assemblymember Kalra.

“We thank the Assemblymembers who voted for AB 416 today. Our world needs bold leadership to present significant governmental steps to address the escalating climate crisis,” said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. “We cannot keep kicking the can down the road; the environmental destruction we are all witnessing must be mitigated and it starts right here at home. California is a powerful influence in the marketplace, and AB 416 leverages that market power to address the tide of destruction felling our planet’s forests.”

If passed into law, California would become the first in the nation to require state procurement contracts to certify that operations and supply chains are not contributing to tropical or boreal deforestation or intact forest loss. All state contracts involving commodities such as palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp and timber would require contractors to maintain a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, and provide evidence that their operations are not linked to forest destruction and degradation or abuses of Indigenous peoples’ rights.

The bill, already widely supported by animal and environmental organizations from around the world, recently received approval from asset managers representing over 1.5 trillion dollars. In their letter to Assemblymember Kalra, the group sited the essential role forests play in combatting climate change, reversing biodiversity loss, and protecting human health and human rights. Additionally, in making the business case for AB 416, the letter acknowledged that “many sectors, such as agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry, depend on ecosystem services supported by forests.”

In May, because of your generous support, Social Compassion in Legislation was able to contract a poll of California registered voters on their level of concern with tropical and boreal deforestation and the State’s purchases that might contribute to deforestation. The poll showed that Democrat, Republican, and Independent/Decline to State voters are overwhelmingly concerned about our planet’s most important forests, showing broad bipartisan support!

Here are the key findings from the poll:

1) 84.1% of voters across California were concerned or very concerned about the potential deforestation being caused by the production of certain commodities that are purchased by the State of California.

2) This concern translated into 78% support of legislation that would require the State of California to only purchase goods from companies that certify they do not contribute to deforestation.

Please look out for our updates for future call to actions to support AB 416 in the Senate!

AB 1282, The California Pet Blood Bank Modernization Act Passes Assembly 75-1 Vote

Yesterday, June 1st, AB 1282, the California Pet Blood Bank Modernization Act, passed the full Assembly with a vote of 75-1. The bill, introduced earlier this year by authors California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) and Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) and led by Social Compassion in Legislation, aims to bring transparency and oversight to animal blood banks in California by allowing community blood banks and phasing out captive-closed colonies.

“After working on the issue of animal blood banks for three years, I am happy to see the Assembly pass AB 1282,” said Senator Scott Wilk. “I look forward to helping shepherd this important legislation through the Senate and onto the Governor’s desk.”

“We are thrilled and thank the Assemblymembers for such overwhelming support for AB 1282,” said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. “We are eager to get this legislation to the Governor for signature. We are hopeful that the Senate will see AB 1282 with similar understanding and support enthusiastically! Warehousing dogs to be bled multiple times every month must come to an end.”

California is the only state in the nation to prohibit community-sourced blood donations. If passed, AB 1282 will change current law and allow pet owners to volunteer their pets to give transfusions to animals in need. It will require veterinarians to supervise community blood banks for animals, mandate testing for disease in all donors, and make records related to commercial blood banks available to the public.