Senate leader divvies up Calderon committee posts

Senate leader divvies up Calderon committee posts
State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), shown at a June press conference, lost his committee assignments in November. On Monday the state Senate's leader recommended they be assigned to others. (Manny Crisostomo / MCT)

SACRAMENTO -- Two months after state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon was stripped of all his committee assignments in the midst of an FBI probe, the Senate's leader recommended Monday that they be divvied up to other lawmakers for the coming year.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) proposed Monday that Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) fill the vacancy created when Calderon was removed in November as chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee.

Newly elected Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) would also become a member of the panel under the recommendations to be acted on Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee.

The committee had also removed Calderon as a member of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, so Steinberg on Monday recommended that Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) be appointed to that panel. Steinberg also proposed to remove Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) from the committee.

Calderon’s former seat on the Senate Governmental Organization Committee should be filled by Norma Torres (D-Pomona), Steinberg proposed.

Calderon was removed from the committees after an FBI affidavit indicated he was under investigation for allegedly accepting $88,000 in bribes to act on legislation affecting film tax credits and workers' compensation payments. Nobody has been charged with any crime in the case.

In November, Calderon denounced his removal from committees "while I am defending myself against false allegations."

Meanwhile, Senate members normally sit in pairs at desks in the chambers, but a new seating chart has Calderon sitting alone, with the desk next to him unoccupied to reflect the recent resignation of state Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands).