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Stripping Assemblyman Of Committee Assignments Dents His Influence

Rich Pedroncelli / AP / File

FILE - In this photo taken Thursday, March 31, 2016 Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, speaks before the Assembly in Sacramento, Calif.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP / File

California Assemblyman Roger Hernandez will lose a significant amount of his power at the state Capitol, now that Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is stripping him of his committee assignments.

Rendon announced the move Friday, shortly after a judge issued a restraining order against Hernandez for physically abusing his ex-wife.

It may seem like an arcane and procedural response, but Loyola Law School ethics and government professor Jessica Levinson says it has a practical effect.

"Completely stripping someone of the ability to sit on committees is really saying to them you’re only going to do a fraction of your job," says Levinson.

Hernandez had chaired the Labor and Employment Committee, which allowed him to decide what bills dealing with those subjects received a vote.

"They [chairmen] can basically veto an idea and just decide to hold it, so there will never be a hearing, so the idea is killed," says Levinson.

He also served on the appropriations committee, casting early votes on bills that cost the state money.

Speaker Rendon took the action unilaterally, as lawmakers began a month-long recess. When they return, legislators could seek to suspend Hernandez without pay, under Proposition 50, which voters approved last month.

The Assemblyman is currently running for U.S. Congress and denies allegations of domestic violence.