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New and Re-Elected Lawmakers Arrive in Sacramento for Swearing-In Ceremony

Significant Number of Representatives from Local Government

December 1, 2014
California lawmakers returned to Sacramento this week for the swearing-in and organization of the 2015-16 legislative session.
Assembly Member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Sen. Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) easily received confirmation for their leadership roles as Assembly speaker and Senate president pro tem, respectively. Upon confirmation, both leaders took to the podium and gave remarks touching on policy and legislative agendas.
Assembly Speaker Atkins spoke about the need for continued work on policy items related to affordable housing, veteran homelessness, and higher education affordability. She expressed her willingness to address recent University of California student tuition hikes and adding a “measure” of zero-based budgeting to the state budget process. She reiterated and praised successful Assembly achievements from the previous legislative session reached on a bipartisan basis and implored her colleagues to continue in that spirit.
Following her remarks, Assembly Member Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) was sworn-in as Assembly speaker pro tem. Assembly Member Mullin is one of 22 alumni of League Partner-sponsored California Civic Leadership Institute® (CCLI), a program designed to give local leaders a broad, in-depth understanding of critical issues affecting the state, illuminate the invaluable tools they will need to succeed if elected to the Legislature, and provide a forum where lasting bonds can be created among California’s rising political leaders. The following list reflects all recently sworn-in Assembly CCLI alumni: Additionally of note, 55 out of 80 Assembly members and 20 out of 36 senators previously served as an elected local government official. 
In the Senate, President Pro Tem De León advocated that his house focus on providing equal educational opportunities to all students and increasing community public safety efforts. He stated that policies focused on “improved human relations and respect” are the key to sound policy decisions and legislation.   
Following today’s organizational session, the Legislature will reconvene and resume legislative business Monday, Jan. 5.
Democratic Supermajority Potential
Absent any developments resulting in vacant Assembly seats, it remains unlikely that Democrats will recapture the supermajority (54 votes) in the lower house. Four seats held by Democrats last legislative session were lost to Republican challengers in November resulting in a full Assembly with 51 Democrats and 29 Republicans.
On the Senate side, however, Democrats could take back the supermajority (27 votes) if they secure three of the four vacant seats created by Sens. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord, SD 7), Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel, SD 37) and Steve Knight (R-Lancaster, SD 21) ascension to Congress and the resignation of Sen. Rod Wright (D-Ingelwood, SD 35). Gov. Jerry Brown has called a special election for Dec. 9 to fill the seat left vacant by Sen. Rod Wright and is expected to call three more in the next few weeks.
Recent Secretary of State Senate district party registration data suggests easy wins for Democrats in SD 7 and SD 35, a competitive race in Republican held SD 21 and a Republican win in SD 37.
Quick Facts
Assembly By the Numbers
  • 51 Democrats, 29 Republicans, 0 vacancies
  • 27 new members
  • 55 members previously served as an elected local government official
  • 22 CCLI alumni members 
Senate By the Numbers 
  • 24 Democrats, 12 Republicans, 4 vacancies (SD 7, SD 21, SD 35, SD 37)
  • 10 new members
  • 20 members previously served as an elected local government official

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