California · Energy · Politics

Dems reject effort to force vote to suspend Calif. gas tax

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story reported Asm. Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) failed to vote on the motion. Prior to the close of roll, he cast a vote in favor. This story has been updated to reflect this.

For the third time in as many months, a Republican-led effort to force a vote to suspend California’s gas tax failed due to lack of action from California Democrats.

This time, however, Republicans sought to promote a bill drafted by a Democrat aiming to shake-up sky-high gas prices.

Wednesday, Asm. Heath Flora (R–Ripon) called for a motion to suspend the rules on the floor of the California State Assembly in hopes of bringing Assembly Bill 2457 to a floor vote for immediate action.

The bill, drafted by Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced), would suspend the imposition of California’s gas tax for a one-year period.

The measure also sought to curb Democratic objections to a gas tax suspension by levying penalties for oil distributors who fail to pass along the tax break to consumers.

As has become routine relative to gas tax reprieves, the procedural vote on the effort failed by a final vote of 31-32 with 15 Assembly members failing to appear to vote.

The procedural motion required 40 votes to force the bill to the floor.

For a brief moment on Wednesday, it appeared that Gray and Asm. Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) failed to show-up to cast a vote on the motion.

His chief GOP opponent in an upcoming Congressional battle, nursery owner John Duarte, seemingly pouncing on a missed opportunity:

Gray recorded a vote in favor of the motion to bring his bill to the floor. However, the measure did not receive universal support from Valley lawmakers.

Joining Gray and Flora in support of a vote on the gas tax holiday was Asms. Carlos Villapudua (D–Stockton), Devon Mathis (R–Porterville), Frank Bigelow (R–O’Neals), Jim Patterson (R–Fresno), Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield), and Salas.

Asm. Joaquin Arambula (D–Fresno) stood alone as the only vote against the motion.

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.