Representative Krista Griffith and Senator Sarah McBride Legislation Around EV Charging Infrastructure

Representative Krista Griffith and Senator Sarah McBride’s sponsored bill to advance electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the state went into effect on January 1. The bill positions Delaware for the anticipated surge in EV sales, requiring new home construction to incorporate specific EV charging infrastructure. “Senate Bill 103 builds on our efforts to transition Delaware to a more energy-efficient state by making it easier for consumers to purchase and maintain an electric vehicle by ensuring that all new home and apartment building in our state is ready for EV charging,” said Sen. McBride. The legislation aims to proactively address the evolving automotive landscape, promote cleaner air, and make EV ownership more accessible and convenient for all Delaware residents. 

Equitable Energy Transition for a Sustainable Future

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton is putting Rochester on a path to address climate change and make an equitable transition toward a clean energy future. The city’s co-designed task force is engaging with the community to forge the path ahead, and their new Sustainability and Resiliency Commission will prioritize their 107 delineated goals and recommendations. The city council, in agreement with the municipal power agency, agreed to move to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and transition the city and downtown into a geothermal energy district. Additionally, the city has adopted GHG standards, a new development code, a universal transportation plan, and is moving toward required benchmarking for buildings citywide (after a successful voluntary effort of well over 100 buildings).


Norton helped secure a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding for education and outreach to diverse and underserved community members to ensure their participation in the clean energy future. And have also secured $2 million in federal funds for a district energy project.


The city has found that the cost of the energy transition, despite some initial concern over costs, is often cost-neutral and may even be lower due to the federal funding opportunities. Several of the buildings have seen marked decreases in energy use. Norton’s efforts have helped to increase solar uptake by residents, which is expected to increase further with federal funding and ongoing community education efforts.

Reducing Emissions Across the Colorado Economy

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Colorado State Senator Chris Hansen introduced Senate Bill 23-016 which will help the state achieve emission reduction goals through a comprehensive approach addressing many sectors of the climate crisis. The bill activates every part of the economy to mitigate the climate crisis, incentivizing action from individuals, businesses, and state regulators. 

The bill advances bold greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals and provides incentives to reach them, such as a 33% tax incentive for individuals to transition to electric lawn equipment and a new authority of the energy and carbon management commission to promote carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Colorado. 

The bill also establishes a requirement of the Air Quality Control Commission to establish a first-of-its-kind fee/ton on GHGs, a requirement of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to consider and prioritize transmission line upgrades, and a requirement of the Public Employees Retirement Association to describe its climate-related investment risks, impacts, and strategies.

In addition, the legislation promotes renewable energy, including the recovery of wastewater thermal energy by allowing it to be included in utilities clean heat plans, a clause to prevent Home Owner Associations (HOAs) from disallowing heat pump systems, and a new fee for utilities if they are slow to interconnect distributed generation sources (e.g., rooftop solar systems).


The bill will be successful if Colorado is on track to meet its emission reduction targets measured against its next interim target (26% reduction from 2005 levels by 2025). Also, if the state reaches its EPA ozone attainment levels, if there is additional transmission capacity added to existing lines to create a more resilient grid, and if we see geothermal, heat pump, and CCS projects built throughout the state.

New Requirements for Flood Resilient Infrastructure Investments

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Florida Representative Christine Hunschofsky’s Sea Level Rise Impact Projection legislation requires that public entities using state funding conduct sea level rise studies for any construction projects in areas threatened by sea level rise. This policy aims to give communities a better understanding of how flooding affects them and will empower them to take appropriate steps to prepare. The policy will lead to smart investments, saving communities money down the line and protecting residents and communities for future generations.


Hunschofsky hopes this program will help raise awareness of the threat of sea level rise in vulnerable communities prone to flooding and sea level rise. Ultimately, the program aims to incentivize more investments in infrastructure planning and to build more resilient communities to flooding and sea level rise.

Climate Risk Analysis of Maryland’s Pension Investments

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman led the push for her state to approve legislation requiring that a consultant do a climate risk analysis of its $64 billion pension fund investments every other year. 

They have conducted several analyses demonstrating that rising temperatures will have a negative effect on their pension investments. This analysis provides the Board of Trustees and Chief Investment Officer the ability to take immediate action to ensure our investments are smart and sound based on climate risk.  

Additionally, they have codified that climate risk is investment risk and that actively seeking investments in the new green economy is imperative.



The program is already having an impact, and the Comptroller office is using data to make changes to the state’s investment portfolio.


Ensuring Flood Resilient Infrastructure Investments

2023 Ideas Challenge Entry

Florida Representative Christine Hunschofsky’s Sea Level Rise Impact Projection legislation requires that public entities, who are using state funding, conduct sea level rise studies for construction projects in any area threatened by sea level rise – including those areas that are vulnerable and located in inland areas. This policy aims to give communities a better understanding of how flooding affects them and will empower them to take appropriate steps to prepare. The policy will lead to smart investments, saving communities money and protecting residents and communities for future generations.



 Success will include having communities more aware of the areas that are prone to flooding and sea level rise. It will increase awareness that many areas beyond coastlines are impacted by sea level rise and flooding. Success will include flooding and sea level rise being included in infrastructure planning.

Utah: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall Helped Residents with Water Conservation Efforts

Utah: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is helping Salt Lake City residents conserve water with an innovative new tool that calculates how much water homeowners need to maintain their landscapes. Utilizing software developed by Utah State University, the city’s Department of Public Utilities will provide WaterMAPS reports to residents to help them reduce water usage and save dollars as the city continues to grapple with drought conditions.

The reports consider water meter data, local weather, and a property’s plant types to offer a Landscape Irrigation Ratio, which tells residents how much water they need to sustain their landscape rather than how much they actually need.

Mayors Kate Gallego & Ron Nirenberg Lead Initiatives to Protect Communities from Extreme Heat

In a summer of record temperatures, state and local leaders are working to keep residents safe in the scorching heat. For NewDEAL Leader and Phoenix, AZ, Mayor Kate Gallego, innovative solutions like city-wide cooling centers and regular water distribution help to curb the impacts of extreme heat for the most vulnerable community members. Collaboration with the federal government and local nonprofits has been instrumental in getting citizens, including those who live in homeless encampments, out of the streets and inside. Phoenix boasts over 60 cooling centers that provide shelter for those facing housing insecurity. “But my goal would be to get people inside in air-conditioned environments,” Gallego said of Phoenix’s long term plans.

In San Antonio, TX, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, a NewDEAL Leader, has fought to maintain local control as the Republican-controlled state legislature undermines safety initiatives that would protect workers from extreme heat. But there’s hope at the national level, Nirenberg noted in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation. Last week, at a virtual convening with Mayors Gallego, Nirenberg, and others, President Biden announced a $7 million spending plan from the Inflation Reduction Act for improved heat forecasting and a $152 million plan from the 2021 Infrastructure law for climate infrastructure in the southwest. “We’re certainly grateful for a president now that’s treating this heatwave with the urgency that I think is necessary,” Nirenberg said.


New Democrat Coalition Releases Economic Opportunity Agenda

This week, the Congressional New Democrat Coalition released their Economic Opportunity Agenda, a comprehensive policy plan that outlines how Congress and the Biden Administration can continue cutting costs for families and growing the middle class. Much of the agenda is focused on effectively implementing federal legislation like the CHIPS and Science Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Inflation Reduction Act.

The agenda identifies eight key issue areas where Congress can make progress, including permitting reform to streamline the construction of clean energy infrastructure, eliminating discriminatory zoning practices to encourage affordable housing construction, passing a Farm Bill that helps produce more affordable, high-quality food in America, and much more. “New Dems remain committed to working with the Biden Administration and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on policies that will continue lowering costs and creating a strong economy that empowers all Americans to succeed,” the group’s leadership said. For more on the Economic Opportunity Agenda, see Semafor’s coverage.


Boston Mayor Michelle Wu Ordered the Elimination of Fossil Fuels in City Buildings Under Construction

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu signed an executive order eliminating the use of fossil fuels in city buildings that will be under construction or major renovation. “The benefits of embracing fossil fuel-free infrastructure in our City hold no boundary across industries and communities, and Boston will continue using every possible tool to build the green, clean, healthy, and prosperous future our city deserves,” Wu said. By implementing environmental protections, Wu is also supporting green-friendly businesses. Under a partnership between the Worker Empowerment Cabinet, the Environment Department, Department of Youth Employment and Opportunity, and the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, PowerCorpsBOS trains Boston residents for jobs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large buildings by learning skills to maintain optimal building operations.