Wildfire-related bills debated in Senate Appropriations Committee

California Connection
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- The California Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday moved to put some wildfire-related bills on the "suspense file", meaning the proposals will either be quickly killed or passed by the end of the week.

One of those bills is Sen. Scott Wiener's, D-San Francisco, proposal to make sure utilities are held accountable when they intentionally cut off power.

In some cases, the proposed system requires customers to be compensated for resources lost in the blackouts.

"It's a little bit of wild west when it comes to PG&E's blackouts and we saw it when PG&E shut power to 2.5 million residents in Northern California," said Wiener.

Opponents argue this would discourage utilities from using public safety power shutoffs.

Some lawmakers have said a policy like this might be better left up to the Governor and the California Public Utilities Commission.

"The Governor has a bully pulpit, he has a lot of power but he cannot enact legally enforceable law. And the CPUC has some authority, but frankly, the CPUC hasn't done enough," said Wiener.

Another wildfire-related measure the committee will consider is a $4.2 billion bond to fund wildfire prevention, drought, flood and safe drinking water projects.

The proposal would allow the state to borrow money to prepare for future natural disasters that have plagued California in the past.

If the legislature approves, it will be up to voters to make the final decision in November.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will decide the fate of these bills Thursday.

Ashley Zavala filed this report.

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