SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, Democrats denied another important Republican bill hearing. Assemblyman Joe Patterson’s AB 1554, co-authored by Republican Leader James Gallagher, would have streamlined badly-needed fuel reduction projects such as tree thinning, pruning, prescribed burning, and roadway clearing in moderate, high, and very high fire hazard zones. This reasonable measure would address an issue that has ravaged both of their districts yet couldn’t even get a hearing for discussion.
Patterson and Gallagher’s AB 1554 was scheduled to be heard at 2:30pm in the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. With the analysis written and talking points ready, Assemblyman Joe Patterson was surprised to receive a message from committee staff stating that if he did not take amendments that gutted the bill, the committee would refuse to even consider the proposal. Assemblyman Joe Patterson asked again for the opportunity to present the bill as written and was told no.
AB 1554 is an important bill for districts still recovering from the devastating effects of the Mosquito Fire, Caldor Fire, and Camp Fire. Even Governor Newsom recognizes the importance of this policy, issuing an executive order granting a CEQA exemption, like the ones AB 1554 would provide, for 35 fuel reduction projects spanning 90,000 acres just a couple years ago. Agencies reported these projects were successful. Now is the time to expand the effort to include fuel reduction projects statewide.
“It’s disappointing to see such unilateral control from one party. This bill was not political,” said Assemblyman Joe Patterson. “My job as a legislator is to advocate for the needs of my district. It is dangerous for the Assembly to not even hear bills that would protect my residents, their businesses and homes.”
“It is a slap in the face to fire victims to refuse to hear a bill to speed up and streamline wildfire prevention programs,” said Gallagher. “Denying bills like this a vote in committee is completely undemocratic. Perhaps a Campaign for Democracy is needed right here at home.”
Assemblyman Joe Patterson is committed to addressing the growing wildfire concerns of his district and is hopeful the Assembly will reconsider hearing this important bill.
Patterson represents the 5th Assembly District, which is comprised of the communities of Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Granite Bay, Auburn, North Auburn, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Newcastle, Penryn, El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Diamond Springs, Placerville, Shingle Springs, Auburn Lake Trails, Georgetown, Cold Springs, Coloma, Rescue and Cool.