(By Assemblyman Scott Wilk) The last edition of “View from the Front Row” I shared how the majority party in the Legislature kills or steals good ideas from members of the minority party.
The majority party will kill bills because they don’t like them, or if it’s something they do like, they’ll kill the bill and then have a Democrat member re-introduce it. Or sometimes they just flat out steal a bill.
It happened again during the last week of session prior to our July 4th summer break. This time the majority party stole a bill.
State Senator Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) had been working for six months on a tax credit for the aerospace industry (I was co-author of the bill). The legislation would allow Lockheed Martin to compete for a federal aerospace contract and bring those jobs to California. If Lockheed gets the contract it means about 1,100 jobs up in the Antelope Valley, but it will benefit Santa Clarita Valley as well as many of the defense sub-contractors are headquartered here.
The Knight bill got out of the Senate and then was hijacked in the Assembly. The Knight language (along with additional language that would provide tax breaks to Tesla) was inserted into AB 2389 by Assemblyman Steve Fox (D-Palmdale).
Why did the Democrats do this?
Because the Democrat super majority in the State Assembly is at stake.
Assemblyman Fox represents the 36th AD which is an Antelope Valley-based seat that has some fingers that come into the Santa Clarita Valley. Based on party registration the seat should be held by a Republican. By a fluke Fox squeaked out a 145 vote victory in 2012. However, in last June’s primary Fox was defeated by Palmdale City Councilman Tom Lackey by 10 points in a five person race. Under the new rules the top two move on the November, but Fox is a decided underdog.
In November the GOP needs to pick up two seats in the State Assembly to break the super majority. The 36th AD is a must win for the GOP to have a shot at creating better balance in the Legislature.
So the Dems stole Knight’s bill and gave it to Fox. The Rules Committee assigns each bill to the relevant policy committee(s). In the case of AB 2389, the bill went to Rules Committee where it was passed out Without Reference to File (WORF) and it went directly to the floor bypassing the committee process. I received a text the night before it happened and was told I had 15 minutes to respond ‘Yes” if I wanted to be added as a co-author of the bill.
The majority party “allowed” Senator Knight to be listed as principal co-author. Senator Knight is running for Congress this year, and he’s running against another Republican. I can assure you if Knight’s opponent had been a Democrat, he would not have been listed on the bill at all.
To his credit, Senator Knight was incredibly gracious about the situation because he knows it’s about creating a better business climate so California can compete for more jobs.
I share this story because Senator Knight did the heavy lifting on this major piece of legislation and he deserves to be acknowledged for his leadership