Sacramento Bee: Bills, oaths and receptions mark California Legislature’s first day

BY LAUREL ROSENHALL AND JEREMY B. WHITE

With a room full of freshly sworn-in state legislators looking back at her, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, offered a few hints on Monday of how this incoming legislative class will differ from those who have governed California in years past.

The man Atkins heralded as the longest-tenured “dean” of the Assembly – Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles – was elected in 2010. He is 40 years old. Atkins later instructed new members on the mechanics of voting.

“Please insert and turn the key now,” Atkins explained. “If you lift up the desk and look back there,” she added, “you’ll find a key.”

A day of swearing-in ceremonies marked the first meeting of a California Legislature profoundly shaped by term limits, with a majority of members entering their first or second terms. This year’s election has also altered the political dynamics. While Democrats still dominate both the Senate and the Assembly, they no longer wield the two-thirds “supermajorities” they briefly secured in 2012.

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