Assemblyman Tom Bane (D-Van Nuys) will become chairman of the state Assembly's Rules Committee, one of the body's most powerful jobs, he said Thursday.
Bane, the senior member of the Rules Committee and one of Speaker Willie Brown's loyal lieutenants, said Brown asked him to take the job and he agreed. He will fill the vacancy being left by Assemblyman Louis J. Papan (D-Millbrae), who is running for a state Senate seat.
Susan Jetton, Brown's press secretary, said the San Francisco Democrat sent Bane a letter this month asking if he would accept the post.
In requesting Bane to take the job, Brown wrote, "I know of no other member better suited to occupy that position than you."
The Rules Committee is the gatekeeper for the thousands of bills introduced during each legislative session. It sometimes can help kill a bill or speed it along by assigning it either to a hostile or friendly committee.
Bane, 72, said one of his priorities will be to use his increased influence to help secure money for projects in the San Fernando Valley.
"I decided to take the Rules chairmanship because it will lead to more constructive benefits to my district," he said.
The assemblyman said he would like to obtain money to build a Valley cultural center, a long-time dream of many arts groups here. He said he also favorably views using state money for a park along Chandler Boulevard.
Bane said Brown gave him the choice at the end of the legislative session of becoming Rules Committee chairman or speaker pro tem, the officer who presides over the Assembly when the speaker is absent.
Assemblyman Phillip Isenberg (D-Sacramento) also had been rumored to be in line for the Rules Committee chairmanship. In an interview, Isenberg said he was not interested in the job. He said Bane is a "terrific choice" because the Van Nuys assemblyman was chairman of the committee in the early 1960s.
Bane is never seriously challenged at election time and has been a top fund-raiser for Brown. He estimated that he raises $200,000 every two years for Brown to use in other Assembly races. Brown has also relied upon Bane's wife to organize some of his fund-raisers.
As Rules Committee chairman, Bane said, his style will be quieter than Papan's, who is noted as a volatile lawmaker. Papan has been a champion of the physically and mentally handicapped.