Sacramento– Today, Assembly Republican Whip Devon J. Mathis (R-Visalia) issued the following statements regarding yesterday’s Assembly Appropriations Committee’s Suspense File Hearing.
“I am extremely disappointed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and their blatant misalignment of priorities,” said Mathis. “Regrettably, this committee has become a hyper-partisan institution where only the favorite members of committee leadership are allowed any opportunity for legislative success. This non-transparent process allows an oligarchy to have complete control over the policy direction of the state, often at the detriment of its residents.”
There were 537 Assembly Bills in the Appropriations Committee. Republican Assemblymembers authored 50 bills with only 19 successfully passing out of the committee (38%). In comparison, Democrat Assemblymembers authored 506 bills with 352 passing out of the committee (65%).
“I am deeply troubled by the committee’s choice to hold two of my measures in particular, AB 542 and AB 926,” said Mathis. “Both of these measures had unanimous support throughout their respective policy committees, as well as resounding support from the communities that would have been most benefited by their passage. Despite our State’s budgetary surplus of $38 billion, the committee apparently did not deem these projects fiscally attainable. Tragically, such partisan politics means that our State’s disenfranchised and low-income communities of color, as well as the communities I was elected to represented, are hurt the most.”
AB 542 was an extension of a federal program that was introduced under the Obama administration called Every Kid in a Park, and would have provided all 4th grade aged youths the opportunity to enter and explore our state park systems with their families, free of charge.
AB 926 would have made a number of crucial change to Cal Fire’s grant programs by expanding and clarifying the definition of fire prevention activities, the requirements of the annual report to include of the socioeconomic characteristics of the communities, how wildfire risk is evaluated, and how grants are prioritized to eligible projects. Given the widespread destruction and loss of life that wildfires have had in California over the recent years, AB 926 was an essential step in protecting many of our most vulnerable communities.