The announcement came as the Senate Rules committee convened to approve committee membership for the extraordinary session on the budget called today by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Steinberg said during the hearing that Leno's chairmanship is expected to continue during the regular session, though approval of the regular session committee membership will require another vote by the Rules Committee.
Leno was previously a member of the budget committee, as well as chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. The San Francisco Democrat, who chaired the Appropriations Committee during his time in the state Assembly, also served on the Budget Conference Committee this year. He fills the top committee post vacated by former Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, D-San Diego, who left the Legislature due to term limits.
Rules members approved designating Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, as vice-chair of the budget committee for the special session. Other members approved to the committee are Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton, of Rancho Cucamonga, Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada-Flintridge, Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Chino, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, Sen. Michael Rubio, D-East Bakersfield, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto and Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood.
Rules also approved appointing Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, as chairman of the Senate Health Committee and Sen. Curren Price, D-Inglewood, as chair of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.
Steinberg said the rest of the committee assignments will likely be announced mid-December and voted on early next year.
PHOTO CREDIT: California State Senator Mark Leno speaks on the floor during the last day of the legislative session Tuesday August 31, 2010. Andy Alfaro, Sacramento Bee.