BuzzFeed News reported late yesterday that California is the first state to require all new houses constructed after 2019 to install solar panels. The state’s Energy Commission’s latest attempt to “push the envelope on climate change regulations” also applies to apartment buildings up to three stories tall.
The first, more minor quibble I have with this decision emerges from data provided in the Buzzfeed article. According to California itself, residential CO2 emissions only comprise 6% of total statewide emissions. Two-thirds of California’s emissions emerge from industrial and transportation sources. Perhaps California should start there if it’s really committed to this strategy of regulating the climate into submission.
More broadly, this decision by California’s bureaucratic ruling class is just the latest in a series of hilarious, spendthrift overcompensations for minimal health risks. Earlier this week a California judge ruled that Starbucks and other coffee retailers operating in the state must warn their customers that drinking coffee might cause cancer.
Then there’s Los Angeles’ recent decision to – I am not making this up – paint their streets white in an effort to stop climate change. This initiative will cost taxpayers $40,000 per mile, and repainting will have to be performed every seven years.
California’s governing class seems determined to pursue a leftist agenda at the expense of their citizens. This inclination extends to policymaking beyond mere health regulation. Despite the massive social and legal costof maintaining sanctuary cities, California passed a bill in October that limits local cooperation with federal immigration authorities statewide. California’s Assembly also recently criminalized the advertisement or sale of any material promoting “sexual orientation change efforts.” The law defines “change efforts” so broadly that it effectively bars any advocacy to curb or reduce homosexual attraction – a doctrine taught by many mainline Christian churches – and makes those teaching such practices liable for fraud.
I am a proponent of federalism. California may do what it wants on all matters of health, safety, and general social welfare. But some of these recent decisions go beyond those bounds and verge on constitutional violations. And I do not enjoy watching any state intentionally bankrupt itself. California currently ranks 43rd in fiscal condition among the several states despite its extremely high taxes.
It’s no wonder that Californians are fleeing in droves to my prosperous home state of Texas. I just hope that when they get here, they remember why they fled. Conservative governance works, and Texas must maintain its conservative policies to avoid California’s fate.