Portantino loses chairmanship

The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert blog is reporting that Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, has been stripped of his chairmanship of the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

This appears to be the first sign of fallout from Portantino’s failed candidacy for the speakership. Back on Feb. 28 we speculated on what kinds of repercussions Portantino — and by proxy, the Valley — might face after Portantino lost his challenge to Speaker Fabian Nunez’s handpicked successor, L.A. Assemblywoman Karen Bass. Losing speakership candidates have faced similar punishment before, but we hoped the relatively peaceful nature of the Nunez-Bass transition might have proved benign to Portantino and other challengers.

Apparently not so. Capitol Alert is reporting that besides Portantino another challenger, Hector De la Torre, has also been removed from the head of the powerful Assembly Rules Committee. It seems that both assemblymen were part of an opposition group of Democrats that had joined to try to thwart Nunez’s attempt to have Bass selected as speaker through a procedural maneuver. But De La Torre and Portantino weren’t the only ones involved in opposing Bass, so it is unclear why they were the only ones singled out so far.

Will Portantino’s loss of clout in Sacramento affect the Valley’s already meager chances of attracting state funding in an already dismal fiscal climate? My guess is yes. Higher Education is an important committee, and first to be affected may be our local community colleges like Pasadena, Citrus and Mt. SAC, as well as other universities and assorted students and faculty, whom have just lost a powerful local advocate in the capitol.

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