Simitian's bill passed the Senate in June. But it stalled in an Assembly committee after the California Medical Assn. lobbied against it, arguing that the notice could spook women not otherwise at risk for cancer.
The measure was left for dead until, hours before the Legislature would adjourn, Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) agreed to Simitian's pleas to reconstitute it.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, October 01, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 84 words Type of Material: Correction
Late legislation: An article in the Sept. 28 Section A about last-minute legislation by state Sen. Joe Simitian said that U-Systems, a medical equipment company, is in the senator's district. In fact, although the company's chief executive officer says he lives in that district, the firm's headquarters is in a district that borders Simitian's. The article also said the senator was unaware of a group that backed his bill. Simitian knew of the group but was not aware that it received funding from U-Systems.
Shortly before 5 p.m., a hearing of the Assembly Health Committee was hastily called on the new bill, SB 791. When a witness delved into reasons to oppose it, she was admonished by the committee chairman, Assemblyman William Monning (D-Carmel): "This is not a full evidentiary hearing."
The bill was quickly sent to the Assembly floor, bypassing the committee that killed the original proposal. In the Senate, where Simitian presented the measure only hours after rewriting it, there was no committee review at all. Passing both houses on the recommendation of legislative leaders -- par for the course in the annual hurry to wrap up -- the bill received just 6 no votes in the Assembly and one in the Senate.
When Simitian heard from a reporter several days later about Colton and Cappello's connection to U-Systems, he said it didn't matter.
He conceded that the gut and amend process can be unseemly but said the notification bill was one of his priorities this year and the earlier, virtually identical measure (SB 173) had been vetted in multiple venues.
"Every time we got the chance to tell our story," he said, "we had a broad base of support."