Top Newsom aide attacks lone Democrat opposing new oil penalty

The Bakersfield Democrat is under fire for siding with her district’s interests.

Asm. Jasmeet Bains (D–Bakersfield) is taking heat from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for her vote this week on the state’s new penalty for oil companies. 

Bains was the only Democrat to vote against the governor’s proposal. 


The backstory: After last year’s record-high gas prices, Newsom called for the Legislature to pass a bill that would give the state the ability to penalize oil companies for price gouging. 

  • The bill came together quickly over the past couple weeks as the Senate swiftly passed it before the Assembly approved it on a 52-19 vote on Monday. 

Driving the news: The bill creates a new committee within the California Energy Commission that will monitor the petroleum market daily and gather private information and data from oil refiners. 

  • The new committee will also have subpoena power to compel other data or records to be revealed. 
  • Any funds collected from any penalties that the commission places on oil companies will be used at the discretion of the Legislature. 

State of play: Following the vote, Bains – who represents the largest oil producing region of the state – said she will continue to fight for lower gas prices and a stronger Kern County. 

  • Newsom’s Chief of Staff Dana Williamson took issue with Bains decision to break ranks with her fellow Democrats and vote against the proposal. 
  • “Alone and confused you shall likely remain,” Williamson wrote in reply to Bains on Twitter. 
  • Bains’ office declined to comment on the remarks from Newsom’s administration.
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