California legislators are back at work in Sacramento. Democrats now own two-thirds majority in both houses. This means Democrats can pass laws and raise taxes without any support from Republicans.
Political analyst David Schecter said, “For the Republican party, what can they do? Will they have any say in Sacramento? That'll be very tough because it will be very difficult for them to get anything on the agenda. The Republican party will just sort of be sidelined all the time by the Democratic leadership.
And when it comes to the valley, Schecter says, it's a little complicated, “Being in the minority in Sacramento is very tough. So for the valley which has both Republican and Democratic assembly members, it's kind of a mixed bag because there's still hope the Republicans will be able to do something good for this area, but it will be more difficult for them in a Democratic led assembly.
The speaker of the assembly, John Perez reached out to Republicans. He said, "For those Republican members who are new to the assembly, I want to state clearly that your voice is welcome, your contributions are desired and your active service is needed. I fervently believe we can do great things for the people of our state if we approach these challenges from a place of thoughtful cooperation.”
They were reassuring words for newcomer Frank Bigelow. He expressed, "I was encouraged to hear the speaker say that. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it unfolds later in session and judge from there. But with the optimistic eye coming in as a new member, I certainly hope that his words stay true."
Democrats won't actually hold that supermajority for long, though. Vacancies and special elections will likely give them less than a two-thirds majority in the assembly for most of next year.
Lawmakers will hold mostly organizational sessions this month before breaking for the holidays. They'll come back in January to a special session on health care reform.