The AB 205 Shell Game: How the promises of AB 205 and AB 1999 were broken

  AB 1999 was supposed to
repeal the deeply flawed
AB 205.  It didn’t.

As documented on our website for months, Public Watchdogs has followed the entire legislative process of AB 205 from beginning to its promised end when California Assemblywoman Jackie Irwin led a press conference committing to introduce new legislation to “roll back the Public Utility Commission’s proposed income graduated fixed fee.”

AB 1999 was that new legislation.  It was introduced by Irwin along with 10 other assemblymembers who intended to fulfill that commitment. Public Watchdogs shadowed the short-lived legislative process via the Assembly’s Utility and Energy Committee to which it had initially been assigned.

As recently as last week, we were assured by Utility and Energy Committee staffers that a public hearing had been scheduled for April 24th beginning at 1:30 pm, and that a summary of the bill would be available the day before.

However, when Public Watchdogs contacted the Utility and Energy Committee staffers for the AB 1999 public hearing summary on April 23rd, we were surprised and disappointed to be informed that the public hearing on AB 1999 had been cancelled.

Digging deeper as to why and who authorized the hearing cancellation, our inquiries were met with only an abrupt, well-rehearsed response that we would need to contact the lead author of AB 1999; Assemblywoman Irwin.  Instead of answering our simple question, Irwin’s staff redirected us to the Assembly Rules Committee who supposedly has the authority to yank the public hearing and also pull it out of the jurisdiction of the Utility and Energy Committee.

Here’s where things got even more interesting. Before we went down yet another rabbit trail, we decided to contact the offices of some of the other ten (10) assemblymembers who are also listed with Irwin as AB 1999 authors. We began with the Sacramento offices of Akilah Weber and Chris Ward; both of whom are listed as the bill’s authors along with Irwin Catherine Blakespear. No luck there.

With Public Watchdogs’ curiosity piqued, we approached the other local assembly members who were listed as “Co-Authors;” Catherine Blakespear, Tasha Boerner, and Brian Maienschein.  All of them pointed us back to Irwin as the bill’s leader.

Our pursuit for an answer continued to the Chair of the Assembly’s Rules Committee, Blanca Pacheco, which resulted in yet another surprise referral. We were informed that our answers regarding the public hearing cancellation must now be directed to the Speaker of the State Assembly Robert Rivas. Public Watchdogs left messages with Mr. Rivas’ Policy Advisor and his Communication Director.  All we wanted was a straight answer and an accurate statement, but it was all to no avail.

Who has the political power and clout to kill the public’s first and only opportunity for a public hearing on AB 1999, the bill that was intended to replace the onerous AB 205?

A logical conclusion might be the strong arm of the investor-owned utilities.  We are certain they got it and yanked it away from the Utility and Energy Committee.

Your voice is still your vote. Call your state assembly rep and voice your vote. It’s the ONLY thing they will clearly hear.

Find Your Assemblymember by Your Address

Editor’s Note:  What we thought would be a quick call for a public hearing summary has turned into many hours of phone calls and original research in  pursuit of the Truth.    If you appreciate this type of commitment, time, and relentless perseverance, you acknowledge and reward this hard work by throwing us a bone in the form of a donation.


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