The five-member Senate Committee on Public Employment and Retirement passed Senate Bill 151 on a 3-2 party-line vote this afternoon. The brief hearing was the first step toward legislatively adopting six state employee contracts negotiated last month with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.
Chairwoman Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, supported the bill. Sen. Alex Padilla D-Los Angeles and Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego joined her.
Republican Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville and Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, opposed.
The meeting lacked any drama. Schduled for 2 p.m., the hearing started 90 minutes late, and then with only Negrete McLeod present. She listened as representatives of the unions made one- or two-sentence public declarations supporting the bills. No opponents stepped forward.
The other committee members eventually joined the meeting, cast their votes on the bill with no debate, heard a handful of bills, voted on them and then left to go back to the Senate floor.
Union representatives at the hearing said that they don't expect the bill to get to a floor vote before the Legislature goes on a week-long break next week. It needs two-thirds support in both the Senate and Assembly to pass. To reach that threshold, two Republicans in each chamber will have to vote for the bill.