State of the State for a New Speaker-in-Waiting?

Governor to address legislature as new leadership team emerges. I’ll be on KALW Your Call at 10AM to discuss the State of the State.

by Brian Leubitz

There was a bit of controversy surrounding what was slowly coming into focus last week surrounding the legislative leadership races. Sen. Steinberg said last week that Sen Kevin de León was going to be the next Senate President Pro Tem. That was met with some worrying tones from Northern California, especially from the Bay Area Council:

We respect the importance of Southern California and often work closely with leaders there on key issues, but for the good of California, we must continue to share leadership.

As a region, therefore, we face an enormous and historic political test. Northern California’s senators and Assembly members should stand up for their districts, their voters, their region and this historic balance of power, and ensure that the next leader of either the Senate or the Assembly is from this part of the state. Once we lose that position of power, it’s very difficult to get it back. (Jim Wunderman, CEO of Bay Area Council , op-ed)

While this is a fuzzy kind of truth, you don’t really have to go all that far back to find contra cases. Willie Brown and Bill Lockyer were leading both chambers in the mid-1990s, but it has been something of a recent practice with the fast changing faces of the Legislature since term limits.  

At any rate, the BAC and other northern allies will have another shot at this race in two years. Atkins is term limited in 2016, while de León will face his Senate limit in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Governor has a plethora of topics to discuss at today’s State of the State. Water, climate change, the budget, and HSR all may come up.  I’ll be on KALW Your Call (91.7 in SF) at 10 AM, right after the speech to discuss it.