Governor Jerry Brown pushed hard for a Cap & Trade extension and thanks to approval from both chambers of the legislature, he will get it.

Monday night (July 17), the state Senate approved AB 398 (28-12) and companion bill AB 617 (27-13). Then, the Assembly did its part (by 55-22 and 50-24 votes respectively).

The bills extend the Cap & Trade program by ten years to 2030. In essence, it sets a cap on the amount of carbon emissions industries are allowed to produce. Companies can purchase credits at auction as to how much its share can be.

The votes were not strictly on party line.

Seven Assembly Republicans, including Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), voted for AB 398. On the flipside, local Democrat Adam Gray (D-Merced) was one of three in his party to vote no.

“Climate change is an immediate and significant threat to our planet, but AB 398 disproportionately impacts the poorest Californians, many of whom live in my district, while leaving clean energy sources like hydro out of the equation,” Gray said in an e-mailed statement. “According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analysis Office, the renewed Cap-and-Trade plan will raise gas prices by nearly $1 per gallon. My constituents are tired of bearing the brunt of policies that leave the most economically disadvantaged behind.”

Mathis spoke on the Assembly floor with an almost defiant tone. “Personally, I think Cap and Trade sucks. But, it is the program we have. It is reality,” he said. His voice then started to crack, perhaps overcome by emotion when saying this bill would offer stability to his friends and neighbors.

“I can tell them that they will be able to keep their jobs. I can tell them that they have a guarantee until 2030,” Mathis said. “Our job is to have the guts to stare them in the eye and tell them (political objectors) ‘my job is to have the back of my friends, my neighbors…the guys I go to church with.”

In the senate, Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Hart), whose district covers Fresno County, crossed party lines and voted in favor of AB 398 (and against AB 617). In a news release, he said:

“This legislation is the unfortunate result of years of aggressive climate-change policies forced on us by the coastal elites who run Sacramento. But instead of sitting on the sideline and watching everything go off a cliff, I was able to ensure farmers, small-business owners and rural Californians were well-represented and protected in the negotiation.

“Cap and trade fills a void created by onerous policies, a void that would otherwise be filled by regulations written by out-of-touch, unaccountable bureaucrats – the exact people I came to Sacramento to rein in.

“As an added bonus, this bill suspends the illegal fire tax and keeps Sacramento Democrats from increasing taxes on gas by substantially more than one dollar per gallon. Again, this bill is not perfect, but it is more reasonable after a bipartisan negotiation. I am very pleased to have given farmers, small-business owners and rural Californians a voice in the negotiation of a measure that would have been passed one way or another.”

The other state senators that represent the area, Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield, with Visalia included in the district), Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) and Anthony Canella (R-Ceres) voted no on both. So did local assemblymen Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) and Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals). Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) voted yes on both. Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), whose district also covers Hanford, voted for 398 and against 617.

Arambula spoke on the floor, noting the two weeks’ worth of days over 100 degrees. “Our vote here today and the heat that we are experiencing are related. As a scientist and a physician, I have seen this effect on my community,” Arambula said, calling AB 398 a good compromise.

Vidak was not happy with the voting results.

“I represent the poorest district in the state. I cannot, in good conscious, vote for yet another bill that will raise gasoline and electricity rates on the poorest of the poor,” said Vidak in an e-mail statement. “Let’s be honest, this is a tax – and a regressive one at that! Then where does the money go? It goes to rebates for rich folks who buy a Tesla. Billions go to the boondoggle that is High-Speed Rail, which is a gross polluter, now and for decades to come – again, off of the backs of the poor who currently live in energy poverty.”

Senator Vidak opposes AB398 from CA Senate Republican Caucus on Vimeo.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Brown, where it will almost assuredly be signed into law.

 

Vote Roll Call
AB 398:
Senate:

Ayes: Allen, Atkins, Beall, Berryhill, Bradford, De León, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mendoza, Mitchell, Monning, Newman, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stern, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Anderson, Bates, Cannella, Fuller, Gaines, Moorlach, Morrell, Nguyen, Nielsen, Stone, Vidak, Wilk

 

Assembly:

Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Baker, Berman, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonta, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Cunningham, Dababneh, Daly, Eggman, Flora, Frazier, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Grayson, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Levine, Low, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk, Reyes, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Rubio, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Acosta, Travis Allen, Bigelow, Brough, Chen, Choi, Dahle, Fong, Gallagher, Gray, Harper, Kiley, Lackey, Limón, Maienschein, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Quirk-Silva, Mark Stone, Voepel, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Cervantes, Irwin

Italic- voted different for AB 617; bold- local legislator

AB 617:
Senate:

Ayes: Allen, Atkins, Beall, Bradford, De León, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mendoza, Mitchell, Monning, Newman, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stern, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Anderson, Bates, Berryhill, Cannella, Fuller, Gaines, Moorlach, Morrell, Nguyen, Nielsen, Stone, Vidak, Wilk

 

Assembly:

Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Baker, Berman, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonta, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Daly, Eggman, Frazier, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Grayson, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Levine, Limón, Low, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk, Reyes, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Rubio, Santiago, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Acosta, Travis Allen, Bigelow, Brough, Chen, Choi, Cunningham, Dahle, Flora, Fong, Gallagher, Gray, Harper, Kiley, Lackey, Maienschein, Mathis, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Quirk-Silva, Salas, Voepel, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Cervantes, Chávez, Irwin, Mayes, Steinorth

bold- local legislator

Cover photo: Shutterstock

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About The Author

Senior Reporter

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science.