by Shaun Rundle, Government Affairs Specialist
The embattled California State Senate continues to reshape in the wake of member indictments and excessive spending that occurred over the last year. Soon after new President Pro-Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) took office, he eliminated a number of staff positions within the Senate’s administrative functions. These 39 layoffs, which de León deemed necessary to make the Senate more fiscally responsible, included the office services unit, floor analysis unit, and the office of research. No related layoffs were implemented in the Assembly, although the house is also experiencing a smaller increase in state funding this fiscal year.
Today, December 15th, Senator de León further made cuts to Senate operations by eliminating the Office of Oversight and Outcomes. This staff-led office created by de León’s predecessor Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), analyzed functional operations of many state agencies and produced reports to the Senate. The office, which consisted of three consultants and a legislative aide, totaled salaries near $380,000 annually. De León plans to use the Senate’s budget and policy committees to continue the work the Office of Oversight and Outcomes performed previously.
As a result of a December 9th special election to fill the 35th District (Los Angeles County) seat left vacant by the resignation of Sen. Roderick Wright, former Assemblyman Isadore Hall III of Compton beat three other candidates to bring to the Democrats the last remaining vacant seat in the Senate. Hall introduced a number of public safety related bills in 2013-2014, notably pertaining to firearms and gambling control.
Although the Assembly has released a list of its committee chairs, the Senate has yet to do so. CPOA will be awaiting that list, especially who will be chairing the Public Safety Committee.
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