Should American lawmakers roll back a few environmental protection laws, including the landmark bill to reduce greenhouse emissions, in favor of boosting the US job market? That is the question residents of Las Angeles are considering after Republican lawmakers proposed the roll back as a way to combat California’s 12% unemployment rate. “Republicans want to forestall AB 32’s [reducing greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020] implementation until the state’s unemployment rate dips below 5.5% for a full year, a provision that — if you look at California’s unemployment data over the last 30-plus years (you’ll have to enter the search parameters yourself to yield the right spreadsheets) — would likely kill the bill outright rather than merely delaying its implementation. The last time the state saw an unemployment rate that low for any significant period of time was between April 2005 and August 2007; before then, the jobless rate last dipped below the 5.5% threshold for a 27-month period ending in August 2001. For nearly all of the 1990s, the state’s jobless rate never touched — let alone averaged for a year — 5.5%. The state’s recent history suggests that low unemployment rates are the exception, not the norm, for California.” The LA Times is hosting a poll to gauge residents’ reactions.
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