state assemblyman chad mayes
California State Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Rancho Mirage)

Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Rancho Mirage, was ousted from his position as leader of the Assembly’s Republican Caucus Thursday — part of a backlash against his vote to help pass a hotly debated climate bill.

“Being a legislative leader is a challenging job, and I recognize Chad Mayes’ efforts to serve his constituents and his caucus,” said Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel. “I wish Chad nothing but the best … (and) I congratulate Brian Dahle on his new leadership role.”

Dahle, R-Redding, was selected by the Assembly Republican Caucus to replace Mayes.

Disdain for Mayes’ July 17 vote in favor of Assembly Bill 398, which extended cap-and-trade mechanisms under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 to the end of 2030, prompted a number of Republican lawmakers to call for his resignation. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, quit as assistant leader of the caucus, calling Mayes’ vote a “dereliction of duty.”

“Chad Mayes is a good man who worked hard to balance doing what was right for California and meeting the needs of his caucus,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood. “Personally, I will miss working with Chad as Republican Leader. But make no mistake, the bromance will endure.”

Both Bates and Rendon were upbeat about Dahle’s placement, with the senator calling him a “strong advocate for his district.”

Mayes joined Republican Assembly members Catharine Baker, Rocky Chavez, Jordan Cunningham, Heath Flora, Devon Mathis and Marc Steinorth in voting for AB 398. The seven GOP votes secured the two-thirds support necessary for the legislation to reach Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The bill requires oil refiners, producers and transporters, as well as utilities and manufacturers, to purchase emissions credits in a state-managed marketplace to offset their alleged polluting activity.

Critics of the cap-and-trade system say the costs incurred by the entities are passed on to consumers, who pay more for gasoline and electricity. A letter to the governor signed and sent last month by Republican legislators in the Assembly and Senate expressed concern that cap-and-trade will push pump prices up 63 cents per gallon by 2021, and 73 cents per gallon by 2031.

Supporters counter that cap-and-trade regulations contribute to a cleaner environment, and that monies generated in the carbon credit auctions pay for affordable housing projects, public transportation projects and various programs with a green theme.

–City News Service

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