Gavin Newsom speaks during signing ceremony
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during the bill signing ceremony. Image from livestream

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a bill he championed to fight alleged price gouging by oil companies in California.

The bill, Senate Bill X1-2, which would authorize the California Energy Commission to investigate and potentially cap oil industry profits, passed the Assembly by a vote 52 to 19 on Monday after Senate approval last week.

Passage came during a special session of the Legislature, with Newsom sought to fast track the bill.

“We proved that we could actually beat Big Oil,” Newsom said at a press conference before signing the legislation. “There’s a new sheriff in town in California, where we brought Big Oil to their knees.”

But the measure does not directly penalize the industry, as it would take new regulations and an inquiry by the energy commission before any fines would be imposed. But political observers see it as a win for Newsom.

It was opposed by Republicans, who equated it to a potential increase in gasoline taxes and prices.

“His reckless proposal allows unelected bureaucrats to intervene in the free market and jack up gas prices for those who can least afford it,” said Sen. Brian Jones of Santee, the minority leader in the state Senate.

“I opposed this bill not because I’m protecting the companies, but because my constituents were cut out of the conversation on a rushed law and this bill is going to lead to higher gas prices for all Californians,” Jones said.

CalMatters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.