A free panel discussion about the changing legal landscape in California is scheduled for Friday at the Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St. Registration will begin at 7 a.m., followed by a discussion beginning at 7:45 a.m.

Topics include the California Green Chemistry Initiative, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 36), California’s new Anti-Sprawl Law (Senate Bill 375), and California’s participation in the federal stimulus efforts.

The presentation is designed to put attendees ahead of the curve, covering recent and projected statutory and regulatory requirements, guidelines and pitfalls. This forum will feature partners Maureen Gorsen and Charles Cohen, from the law firm Alston & Bird, LLP.

Gorsen was previously a member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. During her tenure as director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), Gorsen increased the DTSC’s transparency and public responsiveness in permitting and brownfield (land previously used for industrial purposes) cleanups, and oversaw the Green Chemistry Initiative through California’s Legislature. The only environmental attorney in California to be appointed General Counsel of two of the state’s environmental cabinet agencies, Gorsen has been a key player in most of California’s environmental initiatives during the past 15 years. She was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson as General Counsel of the California Resources Agency, where Gorsen spearheaded the reform of the 1998 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines and regulations related to the California Endangered Species Act, the Williamson Act and the Coastal Act. Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed her Deputy Secretary for Law Enforcement and General Counsel of the California Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, where she worked with district attorneys and law enforcement agencies to strengthen environmental enforcement, and worked as an adviser during the negotiation of California’s landmark climate change legislation, the Global Solutions Warming Act (Assembly Bill 32).

To RSVP, call 213.576.1062, or e-mail davida.sonnier@alston.com.

— Jonatha King is a publicist.