Blast 'em

This Blast 'em blog is going to shine a much needed bright light on legislative shanigans. We will provide details of the wrong doing, give names of the doer, and describe the ramifications to the public. Initially we will focus primarily on consumer issues.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gas Cap Proponents Win!

The Gas Cap Conference Committee reconvened at 3:30 this afternoon just long enough to say they are both studying the other side’s proposals and would meet again at 4:00 p.m.

At the 4:00 0’clock meeting the discussion was heated after Senator Menor read two letters from Consultant Tim Hamilton, a California consumer advocate specializing in Oil Industry pricing. His main contention was that transparency in Oil Industry pricing is non-existent because it is hidden behind trade secret cover. Rep. Kirk Caldwell answered with claims that more time is required for the PUC to gather facts to ensure the pricing formula they will be using is accurate, (as if the past nine months experience doesn’t accomplish this).

House Chair Morita says we cannot trust Tim Hamilton’s claims because his facts aren’t facts. Then she began interrupting Sen. Menor every time he spoke and he being always the gentleman allowed her to do so. At one point I thought he was going to leave the meeting causing the Gas Cap to stay in effect for another year. What he did was ask for an adjournment and what time they would like to reconvene? House conferees wouldn’t name a time and instead said they would be “on call”, meaning no specific time.

Remember, they have to settle by midnight or the Cap stays as is. I’m at home writing waiting for the phone to ring with news of the outcome. House conferees stopped just short of accusing Senator Menor of lying. I thought this would shut down the conference for sure but Senator Menor didn’t allow them to get to him.

It is now 10 minutes after 11:00 and I just received a message that they are about to reconvene. As usual, important consumer Bills go right down to the wire. It’s over, Senator Menor and consumers win but only after ex-governor Ben Cayatano got involved and House leadership pulled Co-chairs Morita and Caldwell off of the committee and replace them with Representative Sylvia Luke. Apparently Morita and Caldwell refused to go along with the settlement plan and if a settlement was to be reached, they had to go. The end result is not perfect but it’s much better than it could have been. Details next posting.

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