Freshman orientation underway for new California legislators
Ian Calderon comes from a family of prominent state politicians, but as a newly elected member of the state Assembly, he is joining 38 other freshman lawmakers in going back to school, their classroom the Capitol.
The freshman orientation that resumes Wednesday teaches new lawmakers such basics as how to draft legislation, gain recognition to speak on the Assembly floor and avoid conflicts of interest that could land them in hot water legally. The class roster includes clear winners in the election as well as some candidates in races that are still too close to call.
Calderon, a Hacienda Heights resident, is joining a Legislature where his father, Charles, has served, as have his uncles, Ron and Tom Calderon. Still, he said he has learned things since the orientation began last week.
"I may be part of a family that has been doing this for a long time, but that doesn’t make me an expert in this area," Ian Calderon said. He particularly looks forward to the mock session that the freshmen will hold later this week as they get hands-on learning about the procedures and decorum of the Legislature.
"The orientation is like drinking from a fire hose,'' emailed Bill Quirk, a Democrat and astrophysicist from Hayward who has a lead in election returns for a Bay Area Assembly seat. "I love it!''
The 80-member Assembly will have 38 freshmen, the most since 1934. Nine of the 10 new members of the 40-person Senate have previously served in the Assembly. Only Riverside attorney Richard Roth, a Democrat, is new to the Legislature.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: The state Capitol, where freshmen legislators are undergoing orientation, viewed in a puddle during a rainstorm last year. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.