Riptide calls Yee, Hill committee assignments “so-so”

By on Fri, January 30, 2009

The Pacifica Riptide says that our mutual state legislative team (Senator Leland Yee and newly-elected Assemblyman Jerry Hill) did merely OK when committe appointments were handed out.

Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco, who served in the largely ceremonial position of Assistant President Pro Tem last session, again chairs no committee. The position of Assistant Pro Tem appears to be of such significance that the Senate’s central office couldn’t recall whether anyone had been designated for that title this session. Yee is a member of four committees: Business and Professions (considered a "juice committee"—good for fundraising from special interests), Budget, Labor and Appropriations, (the most powerful of all the committees because virtually every bill must pass that committee). He is not a member of a budget subcommittee. He was removed from the Health Committee, where he killed a bill last year that would have required approval of rate increases sought by health insurers such as Blue Cross, which heavily opposed the measure.

Freshman Assemblyman Jerry Hill doesn’t chair a committee either, although that’s the norm for new members, few of whom win chairmanships. Hill is a member of the Budget Committee, and chairs its subcommittee on Health and Human Services. He also serves on Government Organization, which regulates gambling (major "juice") and Natural Resources, chaired by a newcomer from Berkeley.

The Legislature will start voting on bills in late March.