That was clear Wednesday when the first words of Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to a committee considering one of his bills was to assure the panel it was not tied to the FBI investigation.
Lara's bill, SB 146, would scale back a requirement that medical service providers, when seeking reimbursement for workers compensation claims, include certain documents that detail the services and costs, including a copy of the prescription for pharmaceutical services.
Lara began his testimony to the Assembly Insurance Committee by decrying press reports that he said “irresponsibly linked [the bill] to an investigation for which there are no details and that has not been confirmed.”
After the committee unanimously approved the bill, Lara said in an interview in the hallway that he felt compelled to make the statement to cool some of the speculation rampant in the Capitol.
“I just want to make sure that we’re very clear that hysteria not get in the way of important policy making,” Lara said. “There is no relation to the investigation.”
Asked if he has been subpoenaed in the investigation, Lara said, “No comment.”
A second bill on the committee agenda was offered by Calderon, who pulled it from the meeting at the last minute and was a no-show.
A Calderon aide said the delay was sought to allow time to negotiate amendments on SB 251, which would allow an insurer, with the consent of the policyholder, to transmit electronically, in lieu of mail, the offer of renewal required for personal auto or real personal property insurance policies, as well as the offer of earthquake insurance.
If the bill had come up for a vote, it would have been considered by a committee that includes two Assembly members with ties to Calderon. The Insurance Committee includes Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), the senator’s nephew, and Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), a former staffer for the senator.
Cooley said in an interview before the meeting that he has not heard from or been subpoenaed by federal officials.