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Senate pares back select committees after years of criticism

March 22, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has significantly reduced the number of select committees in the Senate.
State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has significantly reduced… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

Just before the Legislature broke for its spring break this week, Senate leaders took steps to rein in the number of select committees, which in the past have been used to pad the payroll, sometimes with political cronies, but with few or no meetings.

The Times reported in 2009 that Yolie Florez was able to supplement her income as vice president of the Los Angeles school board by receiving more than $32,000 as a consultant to a Senate Select Committee on Urban Economies.

At the time of that report, the select committee headed by then Senator and Florez-friend Gloria Romero had never met and never issued any reports.

This year, the Senate Rules Committee headed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has approved about 20 select committees, 22 fewer than existed last session, according to Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Steinberg.

The leader this year "applied more rigorous standards when considering approval of requests’’ for establishing select committees, Williams said.

Each request "required a detailed plan of work with time lines and expected outcomes,’’ he added.

Even so, there are a lot of select committees, including panels focusing on valley fever, Asian Pacific Islander affairs,  the wine industry and California-European trade.


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