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California lawmakers OK multi-billion dollar wildfire bill

California lawmakers have approved a sprawling bill meant to shore up the state's major electric utilities in the face of another wildfire season.

Posted: Jul 11, 2019 11:22 AM
Updated: Jul 11, 2019 11:39 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California lawmakers have approved a sprawling bill meant to shore up the state's major electric utilities in the face of another wildfire season.

The biggest power companies will have to spend billions of dollars on safety improvements under the bill lawmakers sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.

The measure would also create a fund to compensate victims of wildfires caused by utility equipment in certain circumstances. Survivors of major fires last year say the measure will give them more leverage to get compensation from Pacific Gas & Electric despite it being in bankruptcy.

Some lawmakers raised concerns about rushing the lengthy bill. The final draft was published less than a week ago.

But Newsom wanted the legislation before lawmakers adjourned for a monthlong recess after this week.

According to the LA times, Newsom's proposal states that the funding will come from an extension of an existing fee on electricity bills. The fees will generate $10.5 billion from utility customers. 

Newsom issued the following statement Thursday on the Legislature's passage of Assembly Bill 1054:

“I want to thank the Legislature for taking thoughtful and decisive action to move our state toward a safer, affordable and reliable energy future, provide certainty for wildfire victims and continue California’s progress toward meeting our clean energy goals. The rise in catastrophic wildfires fueled by climate change is a direct threat to Californians. Strengthening our state’s wildfire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts will continue to be a top priority for my administration and our work with the Legislature.”

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 775037

Reported Deaths: 14804
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2572716324
Riverside563741143
San Bernardino51467839
Orange513991115
San Diego43619754
Kern31076340
Fresno27381348
Sacramento20961371
Alameda20162365
Santa Clara19891295
San Joaquin19701407
Stanislaus16150325
Contra Costa15544197
Tulare15486255
Ventura12073141
Imperial11457310
San Francisco1056991
San Mateo9332142
Monterey919765
Santa Barbara8785109
Merced8692131
Kings715877
Sonoma6827114
Marin6505111
Solano605455
Madera427058
Placer338541
San Luis Obispo331627
Yolo272153
Butte270433
Santa Cruz21088
Sutter162110
Napa158713
San Benito126010
Yuba11087
El Dorado10544
Mendocino81718
Lassen7300
Shasta66114
Glenn5473
Colusa4996
Nevada4975
Tehama4853
Humboldt4826
Lake43310
Calaveras30513
Amador28616
Tuolumne2163
Inyo18714
Mono1632
Siskiyou1590
Del Norte1351
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
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Chico
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Oroville
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Paradise
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Chester
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A disturbance moved over northern California and the rest of the Pacific Northwest this afternoon. It brought more gusty wind like yesterday, and cooler air, but only isolated rain showers. It will be much quieter this weekend with a late summer warmup.
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