Not Voting Outbreak Strikes Assembly, Hurts Porter Ranch Victims

It’s not whether you vote yes or no, but whether you vote at all that really matters. That’s the lesson from years of non-voting scandals that have rocked the Capitol and killed critical legislation.
Legislators are paid to take stands, not to stand by and help powerful special interests through their inactions and abstentions when they are present.
16 Democrats and 2 Republicans in the Assembly caught “not voting” fever recently when legislation came up to prevent SEMPRA and Southern California Gas from requiring residents to sign away the right to sue over future gas leaks as a condition of settling current claims.

AB 2748 (Gatto) got the not-voting treatment from many progressive Democrats who should have cast a vote about vital rights for victims of environmental disasters.
Here’s the roll call of those who failed to vote:
Toni Atkins
Catherine Baker 
Richard Bloom
Cheryl Brown
Autumn Burke
Nora Campos
Ken Cooley
Jim Cooper
Susan Eggman
 Beth Gaines
 Cristina Garcia
Mike Gipson
David Hadley
Jacqui Irwin,
Partick O'Donnell
Freddie Rodriguez
Shirley Weber
Jim Wood
Was it the powerful utility that got these Assembly members to forget their duty to make a decision? Was it bad blood over an internecine political fight?
It doesn’t matter. Important legislation failed because nearly one quarter of the Assembly members didn’t do their job -- vote. 
Anger SEMPA, anger the public. Take a stand.  The public loses when legislators don’t.
And not voting has been linked to poor judgment and character. A report Consumer Watchdog sponsored more than a decade ago put Jerome Horton on top as the legislature’s #1 not voter. Horton has recently been publicly excoriated for spending $130,000 of taxpayer funds on furniture for his Board of Equalization offices.  The non voting issue became one for him in his first race to the Board, where he was defeated by Judy Chu, who made an issue of his failure to vote.
Let’s hope, for the benefit of Porter Ranch residents and victims of other environmental disasters, that on reconsideration of AB 2748 better angels of the Assembly’s nature prevail and the plight of victims of disasters takes center stage.

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