Governor Newsom Signs AB 2238, Lifesaving Extreme Heat Effort Led by Asm. Luz Rivas, Asm. Eduardo Garcia, and Insurance Commissioner Lara
(Sacramento, CA) – On Friday, September 9, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s (sponsor) legislation to establish a first-in-the-nation statewide extreme heat wave ranking and advance warning system.
“When extreme heat strikes, it strikes deadly. Establishing a first-in-the-nation statewide extreme heat ranking and advance warning system will help California better protect environmentally vulnerable communities, like the Coachella Valley and Imperial County, and importantly save lives,” said legislation joint author, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “As California continues to lead climate change action, we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Assemblymember Luz Rivas and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on this lifesaving legislation.”
“Extreme heat is a matter of life and death in my district. This public health emergency disproportionately impacts communities like ours, where extreme heat strikes as a silent killer and heat-related deaths are too often underreported. Our statewide extreme heat ranking and advance warning system will help us to better prepare and respond to deadly extreme heat threats.”
AB 2238 would require Cal EPA, in coordination with the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Department of Insurance, to develop a first-in-the-nation statewide extreme heat ranking and warning system. Assemblymember Luz Rivas, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara introduced the legislation after discussing the issue with world leaders at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland.
Additionally, Assemblymember Garcia awaits a signature on AB 2243, which will help improve heat protections for outdoor workers as well as wildfire smoke safety for farmworkers. Earlier this year, Assemblymember Garcia passed ACR 109 declaring the California Legislature’s official recognition of extreme heat as a serious and urgent threat. The resolution calls on the state’s agencies and departments to invest resources in increasing resilience to extreme heat, with priority given to communities that are most at risk and vulnerable, and to develop strategies to mitigate urban heat island effects, enhance building resilience, and evaluate the effectiveness of measures to improve protection in the face of continually rising temperatures.