Bill Text: CA AB38 | 2023-2024 | Regular Session | Amended

Bill Title: Light pollution control.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2023-09-01 - In committee: Held under submission. [AB38 Detail]

Download: California-2023-AB38-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  June 28, 2023
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 18, 2023
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 29, 2023


Assembly Bill
No. 38

Introduced by Assembly Member Lee
(Coauthor: Senator Becker)

December 05, 2022

An act to add Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 11900) to Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to state government.


AB 38, as amended, Lee. Light pollution control.
Existing law, the California Building Standards Law, establishes the California Building Standards Commission within the Department of General Services and sets forth its powers and duties, including approval and adoption of building standards and codification of those standards into the California Building Standards Code.
Existing law, the Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act, requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to adopt, among other regulations, lighting and other building design and construction standards that increase efficiency in the use of energy for new residential and nonresidential buildings to reduce the wasteful, uneconomic, inefficient, or unnecessary consumption of energy, including energy associated with the use of water, and to manage energy loads to help maintain electrical grid reliability. Existing law also requires the commission to adopt standards for minimum levels of operating efficiency and other cost-effective measures to promote the use of certain energy- and water-efficient appliances.
This bill would require, with certain exceptions, a state agency, as defined, to ensure that an outdoor lighting fixture that is newly installed or replaced on or after January 1, 2024, on a structure or land that is owned, leased, or managed by the state agency meets prescribed criteria, including using a lamp with a correlated color temperature that does not exceed 2,700 Kelvin.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 11900) is added to Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:
CHAPTER  12. Light Pollution Control
Article  1. General Provisions and Definitions

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Energy costs in California are substantially higher than in many other states in the United States.
(b) Properly directed and managed lighting fixtures can reduce operational costs resulting in more efficient use of state tax dollars.
(c) Properly directed and managed light fixtures can reduce light trespass, light pollution, and glare, and preserve the view of California’s dark sky, one of the state’s natural resources.
(d) Unnecessary light pollution can have adverse effects on people and disrupt natural circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.
(e) Unnecessary light pollution has deleterious effects on wildlife and can alter migratory, breeding, and foraging behavior in ways that adversely affect wildlife species.
(f) It is the policy of the State of California to regulate outdoor night lighting and encourage the use of outdoor lighting fixtures to conserve energy, reduce our carbon footprint, minimize light trespass, and preserve the aesthetic qualities of the night sky and pollution while promoting safety for people, birds, and other wildlife.

 For purposes of this chapter, all of the following definitions apply:
(a) “Correlated color temperature” means the temperature, measured in Kelvin, of a radiating black body that presents the same apparent color to the human eye as the light source.
(b) “Light trespass” means light emitted by an outdoor lighting fixture that shines beyond the boundary of the property on which the fixture is located.
(c) “Outdoor lighting fixture” means an outdoor artificial illuminating device or luminaire, whether permanent or portable, including, but not limited to, artificial illuminating devices installed on a building or structure and used for illumination or advertisement, including, but not limited to, searchlights, spotlights, and floodlights, used for architectural lighting, parking lot lighting, landscape lighting, billboards, or street lighting. “Outdoor lighting fixture” does not include artificial illuminating devices that are worn or held in the hand, including flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps.
(d) “Shielded” means all of the light rays emitted by an outdoor lighting fixture in its installed position, either directly from the lamp or indirectly from the fixture, are projected below a horizontal plane running through the lowest point on the fixture where the light is emitted and effectively obscures visibility of the lamp.
(e) “State agency” means a state agency as defined in Section 11000.

Article  2. Lighting Fixtures

 (a) Except as specified in Section 11903, a state agency shall ensure that an outdoor lighting fixture that is newly installed or replaced on or after January 1, 2024, on a structure or land that is owned, leased, or managed by the state agency meets all of the following criteria:
(1) Uses a lamp with a correlated color temperature that does not exceed 2,700 Kelvin.
(2) Uses the minimal illuminance required for the intended purpose of the outdoor lighting fixture, with consideration to recognized building and safety standards, including, but not limited to, recommended practices adopted by the Illuminating Engineering Society.
(3) Is one or more of the following:
(A) Dimmable to no more than 50 percent of its maximum possible brightness and dimmed between the hours of 11 p.m. and sunrise, unless a compelling safety or other state interest requires the fixture to be at full illumination.
(B) Extinguishable by an automatic or manual shutoff device.
(C) Motion-activated with an activated duration of fewer than 15 minutes and equipped with an automatic shutoff device.
(D) Shielded.
(b) In complying with this section, a state agency shall consider cost efficiency, energy conservation, minimization of light trespass and glare, and preservation of the natural night environment.

 (a) Section 11902 does not apply in any of the following circumstances:
(1) A federal law or regulation that preempts state law.
(2) A local municipal or county ordinance that establishes requirements that more stringently control light trespass or glare or conserve the natural night sky.
(3) The outdoor lighting fixtures are advertisement signs or other fixtures on interstate highways or federal primary highways.
(4) A compelling safety interest or existing legal requirement requires such lighting, including any of the following:
(A) Navigational lighting for aircraft safety.
(B) Outdoor lighting needed for the safe navigation of watercraft, including, but not limited to, lighthouses and outdoor lighting in marinas.
(C) Outdoor lighting fixtures necessary for worker health and safety or public health and safety, pursuant to Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
(D) Lighting that is used by law enforcement officers, firefighters, medical personnel, or correctional personnel, including, but not limited to, lighting used at Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities and State Department of State Hospitals facilities.
(E) Lighting intended for tunnels and roadway underpasses.
(F) Outdoor lighting used for programs, projects, or improvements of a state agency relating to construction, reconstruction, improvement, or maintenance of a street, highway, or state building, structure, or facility.
(G) Outdoor lighting on historic sites or structures, to the extent necessary to preserve the historic appearance.
(H) Lighting sources of less than 1,000 lumens, including, but not limited to, seasonal and decorative lighting.
(I) Outdoor lighting on fairgrounds operated by a district agricultural association.


(J) Other circumstances where a significant interest exists to protect safety or state property that cannot be feasibly addressed by another method, including, but not limited to, lighting needed to discourage vandalism of state agency buildings, structures, and facilities.
(b) If an exemption from Section 11902 pursuant to subdivision (a) applies, a state agency shall make reasonable efforts to install fixtures and employ light management practices that conserve energy, minimize light trespass, and preserve the dark sky while still fully meeting the purposes and requirements of the light fixtures.