There’s a reason why EnviroVoters works in lobbying, organizing, AND elections.

All of these aspects of government advocacy are intrinsically interconnected and equally important as we take on the climate crisis here in California and worldwide. The year of 2023 exemplified this interconnectedness: There was a huge drop in the number of lawmakers who accepted campaign funding from Big Oil, and as a result, we were able to pass the biggest climate bill in the nation

In the span of just one year, we’ve seen how impactful down-ballot voting can be — even in a state as (seemingly) politically homogeneous as California.

Oil Begone!

There was something very special about the class of legislators that came into office after the 2022 election. Unlike the oil-loving legislators they replaced, most of these new lawmakers on the block refused to be bought out by Big Oil.

In fact, only 47% of these incoming legislators took oil money in their campaigns. While the ideal number would of course be zero, this proportion is very impressive considering a whopping 78% of the legislators they replaced had accepted oil money.

This massive shift impacted the entire California Legislature. According to our 2023 California Environmental Scorecard, from 2022 to 2023, the total percentage of legislators taking oil money dropped from 63% to 52%!!

New Members Made Corporate Accountability Possible

In their first session in the California Legislature, this influx of climate-focused newcomers had an unmistakable impact. EnviroVoters was laser-focused on passing our corporate accountability package of bills in 2023. Senate Bill 253 — which requires pollution transparency for billion-dollar companies — was being introduced again after failing to pass in the Assembly as SB 260 the year before.

In 2023, SB 253 passed in the Assembly with a whopping 49 votes (eight votes more than it needed), largely because of the newcomer class of climate champions. We can also credit our hardworking organizing and lobbying teams for convincing seven existing members from the Assembly and Senate to flip their Abstentions into Yes votes.

Because of this new class of legislators, we managed to pass not only SB 253 but also SB 261, the Climate Financial Risk Disclosure Act.

Elections Matter! Yes, Even in California

We are proud to have supported and helped to elect these new leaders since the early days of their campaigns. More than half of the new legislators who don’t take oil money were endorsed by us and replaced legislators who previously did take oil money. Our fundraising and canvassing helped power each of these new members to victory in the 2022 election.

While many perceive California to be an easy place to pass climate action laws, that is unfortunately not the truth. California is one of the largest oil-producing states — some of the country’s top oil-producing wells are found right here in the Golden State — and the influence of oil money runs deep in our legislature. While we’re thrilled the percentage of state legislators who take oil money went down 17% from 2022 to 2023, more than half of the legislature (52%) still takes oil money, including 38% of Democrats.

This is Only the Beginning…

2023 was a beautiful story of poetic justice. Despite Big Oil’s tens of millions in spending against us — at the ballot box, in communities, and in the Capitol — we were able to rake in huge successes. And we don’t plan on stopping any time soon. 

Our goals are global. We’re ready to lead the fight to put an end to Big Oil’s influence in our government and bring climate justice to disenfranchised communities here in California and around the world. But we need support to do so. 

The best way you can support our ongoing, year-round work is by becoming a monthly member. You can find out how to become one (and receive some EnviroVoters swag as our way of saying thanks) here →

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Now you can find out with our 2023 California Environmental Scorecard! Use it to see how California’s leadership scored, how many legislators take dirty oil money, and much more.

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For over 50 years, California Environmental Voters has fought on the frontlines in our state’s toughest environmental battles. Just last year, we were instrumental in passing Senate Bill 253 — the strongest corporate pollution transparency law in the nation.

But wins like these are not possible without your help. Help us out with a gift this Earth Day →

The month of March is Public Lands Month, and we’ve got some big goals. We’re pushing for 5 national monument designations while fighting for clean water, Indigenous land protection, ecosystem conservation, and increasing access to nature. 

But we need your help to make these campaigns a success →