Politics and Issues
Sierra Club California Releases 2015 Legislative Report Card
Environment fares well, but oil industry influence evident
SACRAMENTO – Nearly twice as many California Senators as Assembly Members scored a 100 percent on Sierra Club California's 2015 legislative report card.
"When you look at the votes, it's pretty clear that many Democratic Assembly members who might vote well on other environmental issues, held back on votes that would have required them to challenge the oil industry to pollute less," said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California.
Eight Assembly members received 100 percent scores on the report card including the Central Coast's Mark Stone. That meant they voted with the Club's recommendations on a list of priority bills that would protect the environment and public health. Fourteen Senators received 100 percent including the Central Coast's Bill Monning.
"Getting 89 percent or above in the Assembly is a good score this year," said Phillips. "Anything lower than that means your constituents are not getting the representation on the environment and public health that virtually every public opinion survey indicates Californians want."
"Generally, if you got less than a 100 percent in the Senate, it was because you took a walk or voted against the environment on at least one bill the oil industry overtly worked to defeat," said Phillips.
Ten bills were scored in each house. Several bills made it to floor votes in each house and are included in the report card for Assembly members and Senators. Some bills died in their house of origin and are only included in that house's score tally.
"One of the things we looked at this year, too, was campaign finance reports. Thanks to the new system online at the Secretary of State's website we could quickly research who received oil money in their last campaign and through the summer," said Phillips. "It was disappointing—not surprising—to see how many legislators who had low scores received a lot of oil money."
The report card is available on the Sierra Club California website at http://www.sierraclubcalifornia.org.