Assemblymember Rob Bonta with his wife and
father at Monday's swearing-in.
In the upper house of the State Legislature, two-term south county Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski became the region's newest state senator. Wieckowski replaces termed out State Sen. Ellen Corbett, although, technically, because of redistricting in 2010, the seat covers a slightly different area. Kansen Chu, a former San Jose council member, replaces Wieckowski in the Assembly's 25th District.
Meanwhile, Democrats expected to have another new member of the Assembly in the 16th District, but Republican Catharine Baker scuttled that premise with her victory last month over Tim Sbranti. Baker's election gave Bay Area Republicans their first taste of victory in eight years. Notably, one of the most prolific donors to Baker's campaign, GOP billionaire activist Charles Munger, Jr., attended Monday's swearing-in ceremony and was seen on the Assembly floor.
Although Monday marks the beginning of the legislative schedule in Sacramento, it will not convene until Jan. 5. In the meantime, some legislators wasted no time in offering new or recycled bills for consideration in the new year. Bonta's sporting of a barong, similar to two years ago, marks a continued effort by the state's first Filipino American member of the legislature to honor his heritage. A bill honoring Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong was quickly introduced Monday by Bonta to celebrate Itliong's birth date as a day of remembrance in the state.
Across the bay, but pertinent to the push by some East Bay cities to raise the minimum wage, San Francisco State Sen. Mark Leno re-introduced a bill to boost the state's minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2017. San Francisco approved a wage hike to $15 an hour last month, while voters in Oakland backed a measure raising the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour.
In addition to Wieckowski's move to the State Senate, Thurmond replaces termed out Assemblymember Nancy Skinner. Thurmond won a hard-fought race last month over fellow Democrat Elizabeth Echols.