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State Senate begins new two-year session with oaths of office

December 3, 2012 |  1:18 pm

The state Senate convened a new two-year session on Monday, with Democrats who hold supermajorities in both houses signaling their priority issues will include restoring education funds, relaxing immigration enforcement and shedding more light on campaign finances.

In the state Senate, the oath of office was administered to nine new members, eight of them former Assembly members, by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. The Senate then re-elected Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) as Senate president pro tempore, giving him the power to appoint committees, including their leadership, and control which legislation is heard.

Steinberg told the Senate that there is a danger in overusing the two-thirds majority, but that there also is a danger in not using it enough. Steinberg noted that he has had to deal with $42 billion in deficits, and the shortfall has been reduced to a manageable $1.9 billion.

He said the supermajority will come in handy as the state Senate pursues efforts to restore funding to education, improve the state’s infrastructure and revise regulations that interfere with economic growth, primarily state environmental quality laws.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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