Senate leader Kevin de León announces committee assignments, leadership posts

Sacramento Bee

December 21, 2016

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León released committee assignments and floor leadership posts for the upcoming session Wednesday, shuffling the chairmanships of some influential panels.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D- Los Angeles, will lead the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, taking over the Senate budget-writing panel from longtime chair state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who was termed out. Mitchell previously led the budget subcommittee that oversees health and social service programs.

Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, will take the helm of the Governmental Organization Committee, a panel with a purview that touches everything from gambling and alcohol to the Legislature’s implementation of the new law legalizing marijuana.

Legislative leaders in both houses determine committee assignments every two years. Depending upon the committee, the positions can boost a legislator’s campaign account as special interest groups try to make nice with politicians to influence the outcome of bills.

On the Senate floor, Senator Bill Monning, D-Carmel, will serve as majority leader. Senate newcomer Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, is the majority whip. Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, will be the chair of the Democratic Caucus, and Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsberg, will serve as her vice-chair.

Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who just crossed over from the Assembly, is the only Senate Democrat not named as a committee chair, vice chair or floor leader. She was also the only one who challenged a member of de León’s caucus for her post.

Here’s a rundown of other new committee chairs in the Senate:

Banking and Financial Institutions - Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa

Education - Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica

Elections and Constitutional Amendments - Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles

Governance and Finance - McGuire

Human Services - Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco

Insurance - Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia

Labor and Industrial Relations - Sen. Steve Bradford, D-Gardena

Legislative Ethics - Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa

Natural Resources and Water - Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles

Public Safety - Skinner

Veterans Affairs - Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton

Senate budget subcommittee chairs are (education) Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge; (resources) Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; (health and human services) Richard Pan, D-Sacramento; (state administration) Richard Roth, D-Riverside; and (public safety) Skinner.