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Oropeza still gone from old panel assignments

When Sen. Jenny Oropeza made her bid for Congress earlier this year, one of the little things she had to give up was a pair of committee assignments in the state Senate.

Oropeza challenged Assemblywoman Laura Richardson in the June contest to replace the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald. As such, she hit the congressional campaign trail full-time and wasn't around to cast votes in committee.

So, as is tradition, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata lowered her committee assignment load, leaving her as chairwoman of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and keeping her seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee, but removing her from the transportation and elections panels.

She was replaced by Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco and Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, respectively.

But, three weeks after Oropeza lost the primary to Richardson she still hasn't been returned to those panels.

"Right now Senator Perata is focused on the budget and since this week was the deadline for policy committees to meet, there is no rush to replace members," said Perata spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

Ray Sotero, a spokesman for Oropeza, said that the Long Beach Democrat "expects to be returned to those committees."

But she's waiting patiently for now.

"Whatever Senator Perata thinks is best. He's the boss," said Sotero. "She understands and will work with Senator Perata and looks forward to returning to her committees as soon as possible."

Today is the deadline for policy committees to hear and report bills to fiscal committee for the year.