Assembly Environmental Committee Assignments Reflect Term Limit Atmosphere

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Jan. 11, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

With 30 new members in the state Assembly, one would expect significant turnover on committees, and the recently released 2003 committee assignments do not disappoint in the environmental area. The Natural Resources Committee, a 12-member committee with jurisdiction over air quality, land use and solid waste issues, will have only three returning members, Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who will assume the chair, and Assemblymembers Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Thomas Harman (R-Huntington Beach). New members are vice chair Doug LaMalfa (R-Briggs) and Assemblymembers Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), Ray Haynes (R-Murrieta), Rick Keene (R-Chico), paul Koretz (D-W. Hollywood), John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), Ssally Lieber (D-Santa Clara), Montanez (D-San Fernando) and Lois Wolk (D-Davis). The Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, which has jurisdiction over water quality, hazardous waste and hazardous materials issues, faces a similar situation with only three of seven members returning: Assemblymembers Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), Ken Maddox (R-Garden Grove) and Lowenthal. The balance are freshmen, including the chair, John Laird, and the vice chair, Greg Aghazarian (R-Stockton). Assemblymembers Lieber and Lloyd Levine (D-Sherman Oaks) will also sit on the "Toxics" committee.

The partisan balance of these committees remains relatively unchanged, with a five-to-two split in favor of Democrats on the Toxics Committee and an eight-to-four split favoring Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee. All things being equal, it would be safe to assume that these committees will operate largely as they have in the recent past, with business concerns receiving short shrift. The only factors mitigating against this outcome are the Legislature's focus on the state budget deficit and the possibility that members -- most of whom are new to the Legislature -- will exercise restraint and balanced policy judgment.
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