Democrats Question Schwarzenegger’s Response to Heat Wave
Democratic lawmakers at a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday questioned why Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) did not declare a state of emergency during a heat wave last month that contributed to the deaths of at least 141 people statewide, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Sen. Dean Florez (D-Bakersfield) said a state of emergency would have allowed Schwarzenegger to force hospital emergency departments to stay open and would have required state officials to go door-to-door to check on elderly residents.
Administration officials defended their actions, saying no local governments had asked the state to declare an emergency. In addition, officials said they took several steps to protect residents -- including contacting nursing homes to verify proper care, opening cooling centers and arranging on-site visits to single-room occupancy hotels (Schultz, Sacramento Bee, 8/10).