The Transition: The Governor is still the Governor until Inauguration

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

Capitol Update, Oct. 9, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Although California voted last Tuesday to recall Governor Gray Davis (D) and replace him with Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the results are not official until they are certified by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley (D).

Each of California's 58 counties have 28 days to canvass their counts and report them to their boards of supervisors. Within seven days they must be sent to the Secretary of State who has up to four more days to certify statewide results. Official election results could take up to 39 days (November 15th). Schwarzenegger then has 10 days to set a date to be sworn in.

Governor Davis remains Governor until the swearing in of the new governor, retaining all of his executive duties. He has until Sunday, October 12 to sign or veto bills already on his desk. There have been rumors that he could call a special legislative session during this interim period to pass more legislation, but given his conciliatory concession speech, this seems unlikely. Promising to “do everything he could to help California's next governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, succeed” he called on “everyone in this state to put the chaos and division of the recall behind us and do what's right for this great state of California”.

Davis can still make appointments to state boards and commissions. He can also fill vacancies in the judiciary (municipal, superior, appeals and Supreme courts). Those that are subject to confirmation by the State Senate could be withdrawn by Schwarzenegger unless the Senate confirms them while Davis remains governor. Early indications are that Senate President pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco) would call the Senate in for confirmation hearings.

In addition to his immediate staff, the Governor has a cabinet composed of the secretaries of the eight major state agencies (State and Consumer Services; Business, Transportation and Housing; Environmental Protection; Child Development and Education; Food and Agriculture; Health and Welfare; Resources; and, the Youth and Adult Correction Agency), the Director of Finance, and the Director of Industrial Relations.

On Wednesday, Governor-elect Schwarzenegger named Representative David Dreier (R-District 26 in the LA Basin) as chairman of his transition team. Dreier was first elected to Congress when Ronald Reagan won the White House. He is chairman of the California GOP congressional delegation, heads the House Rules Committee and is a close ally of President Bush.

This afternoon the rest of the transition team was announced. It's a diverse group – politically, philosophically and geographically – with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown; Republican Bill Simon Jr. and Democrat Susan Estrich, a professor. Donna Arduin, Director of Office of Policy and Budget in Florida (under Governor Jeb Bush), will head Schwarzenegger's audit of state spending.
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