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Lackey takes on Cap and Trade; looks at ‘driving while high’

OW Staff Writer | 4/22/2016, midnight
Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) recently authored AB 2066 which, if passed and signed into law, would require gas stations statewide ...

Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) recently authored AB 2066 which, if passed and signed into law, would require gas stations statewide to post at the pumps the approximate 11 cents per gallon and 13 cents per gallon tax for diesel fuel in extra costs that drivers are paying for gasoline.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office, a non-partisan organization, estimated recently that consumers are paying a collective $2 billion per year in higher prices due to the Cap and Trade Program. While federal and state per-gallon gas tax(es) amounts are posted at gas pumps, the estimated cost of California’s Cap and Trade Program on the price of a gallon of fuel is not posted. Lackey said it is time that consumers know the truth. Cap & Trade is a government-mandated approach to controlling pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in emissions of pollutants.

“We need to be honest with people when the government asks them to pay higher prices,” Lackey said. “This bill would bring some much needed transparency to the Cap and Trade Program.”

The bill has passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee with bipartisan support, and next moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Proponents of the bill are reportedly backed by a coalition of gas station owners, small businesses, manufacturers, food processors and taxpayer advocates.

Lackey, a former member of the California Highway Patrol, also this week gave an endorsement to a legislative plan to better monitor and cite drivers who may be under the influence of marijuana. The state legislature commissioned researchers at U.C. San Diego to develop a faster, more efficient way to test drivers. The project comes in at $1.8 million. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it has no verifiable accepted medical use.

“We’re not trying to punish people; we’re trying to prevent accidents,” Lackey said. “We need roadside tools that detect whether a driver is impaired by marijuana. This program could have national implications.”

Presently, law enforcement officers can administer a sobriety test, which requires drivers to perform certain physical and mental tasks including standing on one leg and counting backward. That field testing is useful in detecting alcohol impairment, but scientists don’t believe it can always detect marijuana in a person’s system.

Political experts said the measure could end up on the Nov. 8 state ballot.