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What will the “New” Legislature Bring?

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Senators and Assembly members are sworn in today for the new legislative term and while much has been made about the Democrats supermajority, there is no certainty about what we will get from the new legislature.

Veteran legislators have already made it known that they want to change the two-thirds vote requirement for some taxes. Senators Mark Leno and Lois Wolk announced plans to go in that direction last week. Certainly, some Democrats and their allies will want to take advantage of the supermajorities and offer dramatic changes to the voters while they can. The supermajorities could last just one election cycle.

However, voters have changed term limits. The newly elected first time legislators can be in place for 12 years. They may take a long-term view in dealing with the state’s problems.

While the Senate was expected to capture the two-thirds majority before the election, the Assembly results were a surprise. What also may be a surprise is how the new Assembly members react to calls for changes to the tax code or to the constitution.

A number of legislators in the supermajorities won their elections by narrow margins. In a couple of assembly races that pitted Democrats against Democrats, the Democratic establishment and the Speaker of the Assembly backed the eventual winner’s opponents. Will the new legislators fall into line with certain tax or constitutional changes or might they forestall such efforts?

With so many new legislators elected in newly drawn districts, under the rules of a top-two primary, no one can be certain how these new legislators will act.

More than half of the Assembly Democrat caucus (28 members if you include Steve Fox in the still disputed 36the AD), is made up of new members. A dozen of the re-elected members are serving their final term under the old term limit law.

On the Republican side, 10 freshmen make up 40-percent of the caucus’s total membership. Five of the 15 re-elected Republicans are finishing their terms.

Both party leaders, Democratic Speaker John Perez and Republican Assemblywoman Connie Conway are termed out after this term. New members who will be around for a while may not be so eager to follow the direction set by the leaders.

As we welcome the new legislators to the capitol, a lot is unknown how they plan to govern.

Here is a list of the Freshman Class in the Assembly for both parties (with a tip of the hat to the California Target Book)

DEM. FRESHMAN CLASS
Ken Cooley (AD8)
Marc Levine (AD10)
Jim Frazier (AD11)
Susan Eggman (AD13)
Bob Bonta (AD18)
Phil Ting (AD19)
Bill Quirk (AD20)
Adam Gray (AD21)
Kevin Mullin (AD22)
Mark Stone (AD29)
Rudy Salas (AD32)
Steve Fox (AD36)
Raul Bocanegra (AD39)
Chris Holden (AD41)
Adrin Nazarian (AD46)
Cheryl Brown (AD47)
Ed Chau (AD49)
Richard Bloom (AD50)
Jimmy Gomez (AD51)
Ian Calderson (AD57)
Christina Garcia (AD58)
Reggie Jones-Sawyer (AD59)
Jose Medina (AD61)
Anthony Rendon (AD63)
Sharon Quirk-­Silva (AD65)
Al Muratsuchi (AD66)
Tom Daly (AD69)
Shirley Weber (AD79)

 

GOP FRESHMAN CLASS
Brian Dahle (AD1)
Frank Bigelow (AD5)
Jim Petterson (AD23)
Scott Wilk (AD38)
Eric Linder (AD60)
Melissa Melendez (AD67)
Travis Allen (AD72)
Marie Waldron (AD75)
Rocky Chaves (AD76)
Brian Maienschein (AD77)

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