Should there be a special session on PG&E, wildfires? Lawmakers weigh in

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- With wildfire season underway and the possibility for more widespread power shutoffs from Pacific Gas & Electric, FOX40’s Capitol Bureau reporter Ashley Zavala asked lawmakers if they think a special legislative session is needed on the issues.

There are still two months left before lawmakers come back to the Capitol to start passing new laws.

Governor Gavin Newsom has the power to call back lawmakers for a special legislative session to pass policy to address urgent issues.

But, recently, Newsom has said multiple times he does not think it's necessary with PG&E now under the microscope of regulators and a new strike team.

"To the extent more is needed, we will continue to pursue that," Newsom said.

The specific question posed to lawmakers was: Would you be supportive of a special session on issues seen now with public safety power shutoffs, investor-owned utilities and fires?

In the Assembly, more than half of members either refused to comment or respond. A total of 28 members said they would support one, including Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, who represents part of an area destroyed by last year's deadly Camp Fire.

"Look, it should take thought. You have to think through these issues,” Gallagher said. “But we could be doing that right now. We don't necessarily have to wait until January."

The situation was similar in the Senate where more than half did not comment or respond. Fifteen members said they would support a special session.

Two senators flat-out said they would not support one right now, including Bay Area lawmaker Jerry Jill.

"We need information first. You don't bring legislators together to try and define the problems and work out solutions,” Hill, D-San Mateo, responded. “Nothing worse than having a bunch of legislators coming together with no defined role around the holidays to come up with a solution. It would not be the best result, I can guarantee it."

The leaders of both chambers said they are in constant contact with the governor on the issues. A committee of senators will gather Nov. 18 for an oversight hearing on power shutoffs.

See how the representatives responded to the poll below:

 

Ashley Zavala filed this report.

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