The Skinny

You’ve gotta hand it to Gloria Romero. The Los Angeles Senator gave all aspiring legislators a good lesson in one of the central axioms of politics — if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Romero showed her political flexibility this week, when Assemblyman Tom Berryhill’s metal theft bill, AB 844, came before the Senate Public Safety Committee. Berryhill’s office was concerned about the bill’s fate for a time this week, after Romero’s reluctance to support a provision in the bill that would require metal recyclers to obtain fingerprints from people hawking scrap metal. Romero had cited privacy concerns from the ACLU about the new fingerprinting provision, as she indicated to Berryhill and co-author Ron Calderon that she may not support the measure. But before Tuesday’s committee hearing, Berryhill had secured support for his bill from Sen. Gil Cedillo, ensuring the bill’s passage out of Romero’s committee. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Romero voiced support for some amendments taken by Berryhill — one requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before they could access these new fingerprints, and another  making dissemination of the fingerprints by the recyclers a crime — and opted to support the bill. “I think those amendments will make it a stronger bill,” Romero said Tuesday. As she ducked out of committee to present a measure in Assembly Health, Romero told the committee room, “I’ve been beaten up on this bill already,” and pledged to return to the committee to vote in favor of the bill. With that, she gracefully made her exit.

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