Sen. Steinberg recommends replacing Sen. Evans as judiciary panel chair

State Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), left, looks on as state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) speaks during a news conference on guns last year. Evans is being replaced as chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO -- Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) recommended Tuesday that Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) be replaced as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and observers say it appears part of a political squabble between the two over the race for Evans’ district.

Steinberg’s recommendation that Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) replace Evans as chairwoman will be considered Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee, of which Steinberg is chairman, according to the agenda.

Evans decided not to run for re-election this year, and one of the early candidates for her 2nd District Senate seat was Chris Lehman, who is in charge of fundraising for the Senate Democrats under Steinberg.

Steinberg wrote an email to Senate Democrats in October urging them to support Lehman, but Evans wrote her own email to the same lawmakers a day later saying it was premature for them to line up behind Lehman when there were other candidates emerging.


Steinberg cited Evans’ email countering his own when he notified her that he was replacing her as chair of the Judiciary Committee, according to Terry Price, Evans’ Santa Rosa political director.

“Chris was his guy. She froze things in place and that appears to have angered him,” Price said. “She is very disappointed.”

Price noted there was also some friction between Evans and Steinberg on the question of who would succeed him as president pro tem. Evans backed Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) to become the next Senate leader, while Steinberg supports Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) for the post. DeSaulnier dropped out of contention Monday when he announced he was instead running for Congress.

Also on the Rules Committee agenda: a Steinberg proposal to appoint new Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) to the powerful Rules Committee to fill a vacancy caused when Jackson moves to Judiciary.


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