UC Riverside: A variety of votes by Inland lawmakers - Brian W. Jones

UC Riverside: A variety of votes by Inland lawmakers

Budget legislation that directs the University of California to allocate $15 million to UC Riverside’s school of medicine received a mixed reaction from the area”s Republican lawmakers. Assembly...

members Eric Linder, R-Corona, Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, and Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert and state Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, supported the measure, Assembly Bill 94.

“This is a bill that will greatly benefit the region and get a good farm team of medical providers in the region that, like I said, is under-served,” Linder told colleagues during Saturday’s floor debate.

The UCR language was part of a bill that also would create an expensive middle-class scholarship program championed by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles.  Republicans unlikely to support a stand-alone bill creating the scholarship program nevertheless voted for the measure.

Not everyone, though.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said he backed the medical school but complained that, “This has been cobbled together with this middle-class scholarship.” Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, who represents the Idyllwild area, also opposed the measure.

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, was among several Republicans who abstained.

[UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: In an e-mail, Melendez said she supports the medical school and noted that she voted for stand-along legislation in May to appropriate $15 million to it.

"I would have liked to support the budget trailer bill which carved out $15 million to the UC Riverside Medical Center but my colleagues across the aisle had to play their games and put in a number of other things I just could not support," she said. "That is way I abstained from voting on that one measure."]

No Republican, though, voted for the main budget bill that contained an additional $125.1 million for the University of California. Without that money, AB 94′s medical school provision would have been moot.

“While he didn’t agree with the overall spending plan, he agreed with (the medical school) expenditure,” said David Lynch, Morrell’s chief of staff.

AB 94 passed 65-9 and awaits consideration by Gov. Jerry Brown.