SACRAMENTO — The state Senate Rules Committee agreed Tuesday to hold an Aug. 7 confirmation hearing for chairman David Hepburn of the state Board of Prison Terms.
Hepburn, a former Los Angeles Police Department detective and appointee of Gov. Gray Davis, has served almost one year without Senate approval. He must be confirmed by Aug. 8 or lose the $99,343-a-year post.
Senate Leader John L. Burton (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Rules Committee, is highly critical of Davis' policy of refusing to release murderers who have been deemed eligible for parole and are considered no threat to public safety.
Burton has been trying to negotiate changes with Davis administration officials that he believes would give prisoners a more fair opportunity to win release. Meanwhile, he has delayed a confirmation hearing for Hepburn.
Burton said Tuesday that he had met privately with Hepburn and believes that the administration is "moving toward progress on some of these issues." But he refused to predict whether Hepburn would be confirmed.
If Hepburn is rejected, it would create the fourth vacancy on the parole board, which is overwhelmed by a backlog of more than 1,300 cases.
"We are going to see some progress, or we are going to see some vacancies," Burton said.