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A month after announcing plans to step down in the middle of his term as state senator, Bill Emmerson has been named a senior vice president of the California Hospital Association.

State law forbids lawmakers from lobbying the Legislature for a year after leaving office. But it doesn't stop them from directing an organization's lobbying operation, which is what Emmerson will do for the hospital association based in Sacramento.

"In his new role, Emmerson will oversee CHA's state-level legislative advocacy efforts," says an announcement from the group.

The statement says Emmerson will supervise the hospital association's lobbyists and provide the group with "political analysis and strategic guidance."

The hospital association has been a consistent donor to Emmerson's campaigns in recent years. The Republican from the San Bernardino County city of Redlands was an orthodontist for many years before being elected to the Assembly in 2004.

He was re-elected to the Senate last year, and was one year into a four-year term when he announced last month that he would step down Dec. 1. At the time, Emmerson said his passion for legislating had waned.

Duane Dauner, president of the hospital association, described Emmerson as "a person of high integrity."

"His knowledge of health care and the political process will be invaluable to California's hospitals," Dauner said in a statement.

Emmerson fills the position left open in July when Marty Gallegos moved from the California Hospital Association to the Hospital Association of Southern California. He begins his new job on January 1.

PHOTO: Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, listens to discussion on the main budget bill as senators prepared to vote on the state budget in June 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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