Accusations of political retaliation against a fellow Democrat, as told by Twitter

imgresA bill to expand parental leave was killed in committee Wednesday, leaving the Twitterati to speculate there was an appearance of retaliation by the chairman, Assemblyman Roger Hernández. 

The perceived retaliation came two months after the West Covina Democrat was asked to step down by the bill’s sponsor amid domestic violence allegations (that he’s denied) surfaced and after being placed under a temporary restraining order from his wife.


The bill, SB1166, was a priority of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and especially its chairwoman, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who had called for Hernández to step down along with other members of the women’s caucus.

The bill previously passed three Senate committees and the Senate floor along party lines, making it a measure widely supported by Democrats.

Outside the Capitol, it was supported by women’s rights activists like Sandra Fluke, who made national news in 2012 after being called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Rush Limbaugh for advocating for women’s access to birth control at a Congressional hearing while a law student at Georgetown University.

Another group, the Equal Rights Advocates, which describes themselves as “civil rights champions, fighting since 1974 to expand and protect the opportunities of all women and girls,” also urged support earlier in the day.

Abstain = No

There were other liberal activists and groups tweeting support, but when the bill came up for a vote in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, four of the seven members abstained from voting, including Hernández, the chairman.

Hernandez gave no indication at the hearing as to why he abstained from voting, and his office didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment later in the day from CalWatchdog.

How others “voted”

The other members who abstained were Democratic Assemblymen Kansen Chu of San Jose, Patrick O’Donnell of Long Beach and Eric Linder, a Republican from Corona.

Chu and O’Donnell’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CalWatchdog. A spokesman for Linder told CalWatchdog that Linder supported expanding family leave and the main thrust of the bill, but had concerns over certain provisions.

Democrats Tony Thurmond of Richmond and Kevin McCarty of Sacramento voted in favor of the measure, while Republican Jim Patterson of Fresno voted against. 

Since the domestic violence allegations surfaced, Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, has chosen not to take action against Hernández, including removing him from the Labor and Employment chairmanship. Rendon did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the hearing. 


Hernández’s wife, Baldwin Park City Councilmember Susan Rubio, previously accused him of assaulting her 20 times over a three-year period. In divorce court last month, Rubio detailed eight alleged incidents that included being choked with a belt, being beat with a broom while on the ground and being threatened with a knife after having been accused of an affair. 

No charges have been filed against Hernández.

Hernández is termed out of the Assembly. He had hoped to win a seat in Congress held by fellow-Democrat Grace Napolitano, but failed to advance from the primary. Hernández recently blamed his primary failure on Rubio

Past allegations

Hernández has been accused of wrongdoing before. In 2012, an ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence, although charges were never filed due to insufficient evidence. 

That same year, Hernández was arrested for drunk driving in a state vehicle, but was acquitted by a jury on one charge, while the jury was hung on another. 

And in 2015, allegations of political money laundering against Hernández were dropped by the Fair Political Practices Commission after two key witnesses were unable to testify — one had serious medical issues while the other had passed away. 

Related Articles

CA Lost in Clean Energy Labyrinth

California’s entangled clean energy policy just added another program to an already convoluted, growing bureaucracy. The new program, signed into

Kashkari draws a media crowd

Neel Kashkari, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Republican challenger, has been playing a long game. That hasn’t been immediately evident from the frenetic

CA teachers sue union over political use of dues

  Monday marks the start of a new school year for Rebecca Friedrichs, a kindergarten teacher at Holder School in