Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, was accused of some tit-for-tat legislative tactics this week, but her office says it’s much ado about nothing.
Hayashi chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, while state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, chairs the equivalent Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.
Hayashi’s medical peer-review bill – AB 120, sponsored by the California Medical Association – was to be considered Monday by McLeod’s committee, but Senate committee staffers thought there should be a comprehensive medical peer review bill which would be the sum of parts offered by Hayashi (in AB 120), McLeod (in her SB 700) and state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley (in his SB 58). To that end, McLeod’s committee offered amendments and gave Hayashi and the CMA a week to mull them over, putting AB 120 on the schedule for the Senate committee’s July 6 hearing.
Several Legislative sources say Hayashi’s reaction was to try to pull eight bills – some of which were McLeod’s own, the rest of which came from her committee – from the Assembly B&P Committee’s Tuesday-morning hearing agenda. Then she tried to scuttle the hearing entirely, the sources claimed; apparently state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s office intervened so that as of late Monday night, the hearing was back on, though some of the eight bills still weren’t heard.
“It caused a great deal of anxiety on everybody’s behalf. She … had thrown a lot of people’s lives into flux,” said one Legislative staffer, noting people had flown to Sacramento for the bills’ hearing. “We all scratched our heads.”
“She, with that bill from day one that it got into the Senate, was saying ‘This is the CMA’s biggest priority,’ and everyone else was like, ‘Well, that’s nice,’” said another staffer elsewhere in the Legislature, adding a one-week delay of her bill to insert some consumer-friendly amendments with bipartisan support shouldn’t have caused such a reaction.
The situation ranks among “tiddly-wink issues” compared to the massive budget crisis, this staffer said, and the Pro Tem’s office wasn’t happy that it had to take time during this hellacious week to deal with it. It’s unclear whether this had anything to do with Steinberg’s decision this afternoon to postpone all Senate policy committee meetings until after a budget deal is in place.
But Cory Jasperson, Hayashi’s chief of staff, says that’s not how it went down at all.
“The Business and Professions Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 30th, was never cancelled or rescheduled. Only the Speaker has the authority to cancel or reschedule committee hearings,” he said. “All of the bills scheduled for the Tuesday morning hearing were heard by the Committee with the exception of three bills authored by Senator Negrete McLeod which the author requested be put over to a later hearing.”
“There has been a lot of confusion in the Capitol over the past few days around the uncertainty of committee hearings in the Assembly and Senate due to the fluidity of on-going budget negotiations,” Jasperson added. “Some committee hearings previously scheduled for Tuesday were rescheduled for Thursday and today the Senate postponed committee hearings indefinitely. For example, some Senate hearings this morning were cancelled mid-hearing and hearings this afternoon were cancelled just minutes before the scheduled start times.”
So it seems as if either there was some honest miscommunication about hearing schedules followed by some state Senate knife-sharpening for Hayashi’s hide, or Hayashi tried to flex some committee-chair muscle and got smacked down.
It’s still a lot of he-said/she-said, but add this to Hayashi’s dust-up with state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, over their bills to save the San Leandro Hospital emergency room from closure, and it surely seems Hayashi hasn’t been making any friends in the other chamber this week.