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Perez set to take Assembly reins on March 1

January 25, 2010 |  2:02 pm
Speaker-elect John Perez (D-Los Angeles) will take the speaker’s gavel of the state Assembly on March 1, his office announced today.

Perez will succeed Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who will be forced from the Assembly by term limits this year.

“It’s recently been announced that March 1, 2010, will mark one of the roughest transitions in history -- the changing of "The Tonight Show" from Conan O'Brien to Jay Leno,” Bass said. “I am delighted that March 1, 2010, will also mark one of the smoothest transitions in history, when I turn the Assembly gavel over to incoming Speaker John Pérez,” Bass said.

The timing means that Bass will be in control of the house when Sen. Abel Maldonado’s political fate is decided. Maldonado is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s choice for lieutenant governor, but either legislative house can reject his nomination before Feb. 22.

It also means Bass will probably be around for one more round of budget talks. Schwarzenegger has called a fiscal emergency, giving lawmakers until mid-February to address the state’s $6-billion deficit for the current fiscal year. Last week, state Controller John Chiang said the state would have to issue IOUs if no action was taken before April 1.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento