Asm. Jasmeet Bains (D–Bakersfield), the lone Democrat to oppose Gov. Gavin Newsom’s financial penalty on oil producers for high prices earlier this week, is already facing consequences from fellow Democrats.
Thursday, the Bakersfield doctor-turned-lawmaker was informed she would be losing a key committee post courtesy of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D–Paramount).
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, with Bains joining Republicans in opposing on the measure.
- 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.
Multiple waves of blowback: 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.
- Thursday, KCRA’s Ashley Zavala reported that Bains was stripped of her assignment on the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which manages a wide array of business policy.
What she’s saying: In a statement to the TV station, Bains reiterated her view of pushing for her oil producing district’s interests.
- “I was informed today by the Speaker’s Office that I will no longer be serving on the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. While I am disappointed, I remain firm in my commitment to serve the interests of the people I was elected to represent. I look forward to continuing to work with the Speaker and my colleagues to expand access to health care, provide good-paying jobs, and ensure our communities are safe,” Bains said.