Local Lawmakers See Progress on Legislation

By on April 26, 2015
Yucaipa News April, 2105.002

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) saw one of his bills pass through committee. According to a media release, AB 1286 seeks to establish the California Regulatory Reform Council to analyze the holistic and cumulative effects of California’s complicated regulatory structure on businesses, jobs, and economic growth.

Modeled after the existing Little Hoover Commission, the California Regulatory Reform Council will be composed of economists, representatives from the business community, legislators, and members of the public who will analyze the effects of state and local regulations on businesses and industries within California and then make recommendations to the legislature.

“In talking with businesses, there’s one theme we hear over and over: the problems with regulations aren’t caused by any single agency or piece of legislation,” Mayes said in his opening statement to the Assembly Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee. “The problem is the cumulative effect of all regulations, from all agencies.

“This is why many previous efforts at regulatory reform haven’t worked. They tend to focus on the regulator, not on the business or industry that is being regulated. In other words, previous efforts approach the problem backwards. My hope is to bring a holistic view of the entire regulatory environment and the Regulatory Reform Council will do just that.”

Mayes represents California’s 42nd Assembly District, which includes Yucaipa. Mayes serves as the Chief Republican Whip on the Floor of the State Assembly.

State Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) also saw a bill move through committee this week. His bill, SB 728, would require the California Public Utilities Commission to evaluate the economic impact of increasing the standards for renewable energy procurement.

“While those living along the coast seem to think the recession is over, that is not the reality for millions of Californians,” Morrell said. “New energy costs would take even more money away from low and middle income families who already pay the highest state sales tax rate in the country and one of the highest gas taxes. Before expanding the scope of the state’s environmental regulations, SB 728 would open the books and publicly disclose what consumers can expect to pay for electricity.”

Under current law, the California Public Utilities Commission has authority to raise the Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires utility retailers to obtain a minimum level of energy supplies from resources considered renewable including wind, solar, and geothermal. At 33 percent, California has one of the highest standards in the nation. A 2013 study by the Pacific Research Institute found that power rates will increase by 13 percent by 2020 due to this mandate.

Recent numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Los Angeles area households already pay 58.1 percent more for electricity than the rest of the country.

“SB 728 simply requires the Public Utilities Commission to take into consideration the economic toll on Californians before exercising its authority to adopt higher renewable energy standards,” continued Morrell. “The bill does not prevent the commission from taking future action, but it does hold them accountable for decisions made that could further burden family finances. I’m pleased to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to create this important safeguard.”

Senator Morrell represents California’s 23rd Senate District, which includes Yucaipa.