Bonnie Lowenthal to Chair California’s Emergency Managment Committee

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Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal will lead the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.

Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal has been named chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, a panel that oversees the state’s preparation for, and response to, disasters.

“This is an important responsibility,” said Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. “I take it very seriously.”

The Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management grew out of a gubernatorial investigation into the handling of the especially catastrophic wildfire season of 2003. A blue ribbon commission examining the state’s efforts recommended that the Legislature create a panel specifically for the purpose of overseeing emergency response, whether to natural disasters or homeland security issues.

Lowenthal, who was appointed chair for the remainder of the 2011-2012 legislative session, said she intends to find out whether several years of budget cuts have inadvertently diminished California’s capacity to respond to emergencies.

“We’ve been cutting spending since my first day in Sacramento. It had to be done, and there was no way around it,” Lowenthal said. “Now we have to go back and make sure that our emergency plans still make sense and that they don’t rely on resources we no longer have.”

The committee is comprised of seven members of the Assembly, and seven members of the Senate.

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