Legislative committee blocks Sen. Cogdill's jobs bill

A bill state Sen. Dave Cogdill of Modesto wrote to spur construction on big infrastructure projects lost a party-line vote in an environmental committee Monday.

The bill would have protected 25 projects every year from expensive legal challenges after the project clears its environmental impact report.

Critics have charged that the bill would attract corruption and bias because it would be difficult to designate the projects that would benefit from the protections.

Cogdill, a Republican, criticized Democrats for rejecting the bill: "Californians should be disappointed that in this economic climate, the Democrat-controlled Legislature has not kept jobs as its first priority. This balanced measure would have protected both the economy and the environment. It would have cut legal red tape to get Californians back to work, without shortchanging any environmental review."