In our latest installment of Odd Ways to Kill Your Own Bill, we introduce Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Norwalk.
Mendoza on Tuesday brought his AB 377, a controversial bill dealing with payday loans, to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Among the many things consumer groups dislike about AB 377 is a provision raising the cap on these high-interest loans from $300 to $500. The Chronicle whacked the bill and Mendoza pretty good in a June 19 editorial. But with strong backing from lenders and business groups, the bill sailed through the state Assembly.
The AB 377 juggernaut quickly crashed in Senate Judiciary, however. Committee Chairwoman Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, announced that, after discussions among staff and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s office, AB 377 was now a two-year bill — a way of saying the bill is dead for now without, you know, saying it.
Why is everyone so testy? Enjoy a tantrum, after the jump.
This was apparently news to Mendoza and at least three committee members, who seemed ready to support some version of the bill. Things got testy between Corbett and Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, who insisted he had the right to ask questions about the bill even if it was DOA. Mendoza thought that was a fine idea, but Corbett, eager to keep the hearing moving, called a brief recess to settle things down. Whatever was said privately, it didn’t work.
Corbett announced that AB 377 would be shifted to the end of the agenda so more work could be done behind the scenes. That led to Mendoza’s meltdown.
“You’re moving me around like a toy!” he said, angrily collecting his papers and bottled water from the dais. “If I’m going to be at your disposition any time you want, I don’t want to play those games … Look, I’ll tell you what. I’ll just walk out, save you the precious time of bothering with my bill so you can continue with everyone else’s business on the agenda, except mine.”
Mendoza then stormed out of the committee room, telling Corbett to call him “whenever my bill is worth your time.”
(Legal Pad wonders if this is what it’s like inside the Big 5 budget meetings).
Apparently that call never came. Hours later, just before Corbett gaveled the hearing closed, a committee member asked about the fate of AB 377. Mendoza didn’t seem interested in returning, Corbett explained calmly, and with that the bill officially died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The California Channel has yet to post the full video of the hearing online. But someone has placed an edited version on YouTube under the title “Grumpy Legislators, which you can enjoy above.
— Cheryl Miller
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