Levine said he was concerned that the bill shifts the burden of proof on whether a utility was negligent onto victims.
"I hope the disgraceful past of public safety neglect, and the murder of innocent lives, is not a prologue to further PG&E-related devastation. It is hard not to see this bill as something of a reward for monstrous behavior," Levine said.
Other legislators complained that the bill had been rushed through the Legislature.
Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R- Yucca Valley, was a co-author of the bill, and pushed back against the notion.
"This is not on the fast track as it's been said. I want to remind some of you that it was January of last year that many of us began working on these issues in two different working groups. We spent hours and hours and hours and hours studying this issue," Mayes said.
Earlier this week, several Bay Area mayors also protested the bill, saying that it would make it harder for local governments to buy utility lines.
Big Win for Newsom
The passage of the bill is a big win for Newsom, who was elected governor just days before the PG&E-caused Camp Fire raged across Butte County, killing 85 people. Newsom has been highly critical of the power company. But he also noted the problem of utility-caused wildfires is bigger than just one company.
In a statement following the passage of AB 1054, Newsom said it will provide certainty for wildfire victims and help the state continue to work toward its clean energy goals.
“The rise in catastrophic wildfires fueled by climate change is a direct threat to Californians," he said. "Strengthening our state’s wildfire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts will continue to be a top priority for my administration and our work with the Legislature.”
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that utilities will have to spend $5 billion on safety upgrades.