California Assembly bill would stop PG&E from giving campaign cash | TheUnion.com

California Assembly bill would stop PG&E from giving campaign cash

Submitted to The Union

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, on Wednesday introduced Assembly Bill 2079, which would prohibit an investor-owned utility from making campaign contributions to state elected officials and candidates. During the 2018 election cycle, PG&E gave nearly $1 million in direct candidate contributions.

“As PG&E seeks to emerge from bankruptcy, the most important part of restructuring is to loosen its grip on the state Capitol,” Kiley said. “Governor (Gavin) Newsom has sharply criticized PG&E’s negligence, and rightly so. But it was California’s political leadership that let them get away with it. This was ultimately a failure of politics.”

In the last six years, PG&E has been convicted of six felonies following a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people; found responsible for over 1,500 fires in California, including the Camp Fire that killed 85 people; and criticized for recurring power shut-offs throughout its service territory. An investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that “PG&E Corp. knew for years that hundreds of miles of high-voltage power lines could fail and spark fires, yet it repeatedly failed to perform the necessary upgrades.”

Electric utilities like PG&E, while privately owned, are uniquely intertwined with California. In many ways, they behave like arms of the state — claiming monopolies on entire regions, seizing property through eminent domain, and enjoying a fixed rate of return. At the same time, they are under intensive state direction and control over prices, operations and purchases.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley represents the 6th Assembly District, which includes the Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado County communities of Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Orangevale, Penryn, Rocklin, Roseville and Sheridan.

Source: Assemblyman Kevin Kiley


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