Friday, August 26, 2005

Assembly approves solar home initiative with poison pills

The sky isn't falling on plans to put a million solar panels on California homes.

The centerpiece of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious green energy program passed a key legislative committee Thursday, after taking 10 amendments to overcome opposition from various interest groups.

The bill's passage out of the Assembly appropriations committee means it will be voted on by the full lower house before the end of the legislative session in two weeks. The measure won easy approval in the state Senate earlier this year but encountered opposition in the Assembly from unions, business representatives, home builders, utility companies and consumer groups.

A key question now will be whether Schwarzenegger will still support the measure with the changes, which include a union-backed provision requiring contractors to pay prevailing wages to workers on nonresidential developments.