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The California Senate is set to vote June 16 to formally name Sen. Kevin de León the next leader of the upper house.

De León, a Los Angeles Democrat, emerged from a closed-door Democratic caucus today and said that "by acclamation" -- rather than a vote -- his colleagues chose him as the next Senate President Pro Tem. The move essentially formalizes a decision Senate leaders announced in January because no other candidates have emerged since then.

"I love the Senate and I'm honored and humbled by my colleagues," de León said.

Sen. Darrell Steinberg, the current Pro Tem, will remain in his leadership position until the end of November, said his spokesman Rhys Williams. Steinberg, the Sacramento Democrat who is forced by term limits to leave the Legislature this year, released the following statement:

"I offer my wholehearted congratulations to Kevin, and the Senate Democratic Caucus on their decision today. As we build upon the most productive years in the Legislature's recent history, California can look forward to many more under Senator De León's leadership"

PHOTO: Sen. Kevin De Leon, talks with Senate President Pro Temp Darrell Steinberg, during the first California Senate session Jan. 6, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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