California lawmakers postpone key oversight hearings on wildfires, EDD

State News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — State lawmakers have indefinitely postponed key oversight hearings on wildfire prevention and the Employment Development Department.

Those two separate hearings would allow lawmakers to question Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration and its handling of those issues.

Some note those hearings would have come at a politically inconvenient time for the governor.

“Well, it’s extremely troubling,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield.

Fong called out his colleagues across the aisle for postponing the oversight hearings.

The hearing on wildfire prevention was scheduled for Aug. 18 after an NPR investigation found Cal Fire had only completed 13% of wildfire prevention projects the agency and governor had claimed to last year.

No new date has been set and the Assembly Budget Committee chairman who planned the hearing said it will likely be rescheduled for later in the fall or winter to allow fire officials to focus on the numerous blazes burning across the state.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, a candidate in the recall running to replace Gov. Newsom, said it’s “obviously just an excuse.”

“They knew when they set the hearing there is a good chance we would be facing wildfires across the state,” Kiley said. “So it is precisely at this time when so many people are suffering, when our communities are being threatened, that we need to have our government working, not refusing to work in order to help the governor win an election.”

The oversight hearing for the embattled EDD was originally scheduled last week, then postponed to this past Tuesday, and has now been postponed again because of scheduling conflicts. 

In a statement, the chair of one of the four committees involved in the hearing, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, said in a statement, “It is imperative that we hold a bicameral, bipartisan, and multi-committee hearing on EDD. This was not possible in August. My colleagues and I will return to Sacramento in September to ensure that it is done.”

“It’s not like the Legislature isn’t having hearings, they’re just not having hearings on these topics,” Fong said. “Right now, the Newsom administration does not want to provide us answers and that is unacceptable and very frustrating.”

Newsom’s office would not comment on the postponed hearings and referred back to the Legislature.

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