Dan Logue (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California's landmark climate change law could be put on hold under legislation set for a committee hearing today.

The state Assembly Natural Resources Committee will this afternoon consider a Republican proposal to suspend a California law that calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions until the state unemployment rate has dropped below 5.5 percent for at least four consecutive quarters.

The proposal by state Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, would affect the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or Assembly Bill 32. Signed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the law set increasingly stringent caps on greenhouse gas emissions, leading to a 25 percent reduction by 2020.

In a statement issued Friday, Logue said now is not the time to impose more regulations on already-struggling California businesses.

"Economic reality is being completely disregarded, and AB 32 implementation is already having a devastating effect on California businesses and the state economy," he said. "Many in business see no way to comply with its draconian requirements and as a consequence are leaving California, taking valuable jobs with them."

When AB 32 was signed into law California's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. The state's unemployment rate is currently 12.3 percent and has been more than 5.5 percent since July 2007.

A legislative analysis noted that since 1976, there have been just three periods when unemployment has remained below 5.5 percent for four or more quarters: January 1988 through December 1989, October 1999 through June 2001, and October 2005 through June 2007.

Logue's proposal to suspend the law is outlined in Assembly Bill 118.

The bill is supported by the Southern California Contractors Association. Opposed to the measure are a bevy of environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Planning and Conservation League and Sierra Club California.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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