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Halle Berry, Catholic bishops voice support for California climate bills

Halle Berry, Catholic bishops voice support for California climate bills
Senate leader Kevin de León met with Catholic leaders in the Capitol on Monday to talk about climate change legislation. Actress Halle Berry also visited to show her support. (Chris Megerian / Los Angeles Times)

California Democrats are calling on supporters in Hollywood and the Catholic Church as they push for climate change bills in the final two weeks of the legislative session.

Actress Halle Berry visited the Capitol on Monday and met with some lawmakers, such as Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), who have been on the fence about the legislation.

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"Climate change is the most important public health issue of our time, and I'm proud to be able to lend my voice to this important cause," Berry said in a statement. "I'm here first and foremost as a mother who has concerns about the environment we are going to leave our children and future generations."

Berry was invited to the Capitol by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) and state Sen. Isadore Hall (D-Compton).

The legislation being considered, SB 350, would require greater energy efficiency in older buildings, more renewable energy generation and lower gasoline consumption on state roads.

State Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) held a press conference with Catholic leaders to talk about Pope Francis' encyclical, which called for action on climate change.

Jaime Soto, the Sacramento bishop, said the bill "can set a high mark for other world leaders to follow."

De León is considering amendments to the legislation that would help it pass in the Assembly, where it has faced skepticism from some fellow Democrats.

He declined to detail any potential changes.

"We're engaging in very fruitful conversations," he said.

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Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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