Two centrist Democrats have been removed from the Senate Appropriations committee, and replaced with two more reliable Democratic votes. The move came Thursday in a meeting of Senate Rules, but was orchestrated by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland.
Sens. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, and Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, were removed from the committee and replaced with Sacramento Democrat Darrell Steinberg and San Jose Democrat Joe Simitian.
The move comes just days after Correa and Calderon voted against a bill by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, that would have created new civil and criminal penalties for hospitals that discharge homeless patients without their consent. Cedillo said he will bring the bill up again next week, and when he does, he is expected to be able to marshal the two additional votes he needs to secure the bill’s passage.
This is the second round of punishment from Perata to Calderon and Correa. Both were among the three Senators who had their locks changed by Perata after they attended a fundraiser for the moderate caucus.
The move also comes less than two weeks before the Appropriations Committee’s suspense file will be heard. The suspense file is a type of purgatory for bills with a price tag of more than $150,000. Dozens of bills are moved to suspense, but only a select few are voted off — a decision that is driven by Senate leadership.
Changes to the committee before the suspense file voting are nothing new. Perata removed then-Sens. Jackie Speier and Debra Bowen from the committee last session after they raised objections to some of the bills leadership had chosen to move off the suspense file.