After the passage of Proposition 63, Hill said he would carry bills to require that driving tests, welfare applications, state aid forms and a variety of other state services be made available only in English. But Hill said the bilingual education issue is taking more of his time and he has had to place the other issues on the back burner.
In the past, Hill has carried few bills for specific projects in his district or Los Angeles County. Last year, however, he unsuccessfully pushed a bill, sponsored by Miller Brewing Co., to prevent construction of a high-tech incinerator near Miller's Irwindale plant. Two years ago, Hill carried a bill that would have opened up the Malibu coastline to oil drilling, but it was shelved.
Hill often gets as much recognition for his help in fashioning bills carried by other lawmakers. He was a key Republican negotiator last year on legislation, which eventually was signed into law, to encourage recycling of beer and soft-drink containers by offering consumers a penny for returning them to neighborhood centers.
Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles), who carried the measure, said Hill was concerned about the impact of the bill on industry, but sought "to work things out, to reach an accommodation."
Hill also is known for his political instincts. Former Assembly Minority Leader Robert W. Naylor (R-Menlo Park), who retired last year, said Hill "just has a good sense to know when to fight and when not to fight."
As a result, Hill's counsel is often sought by older, more experienced Republicans, said five-term Assemblyman Gerald N. Felando (R-San Pedro).
"Here I am at 52," Felando said, "and when I need political advice, I go to a 34-year-old kid" because Hill's instincts are sound.
However, Hill stubbed his toe as a political consultant last spring. In a hotly contested Republican Assembly primary in the Bakersfield area, Hill and other Assembly GOP members first endorsed Kern County Supervisor Trice Harvey. Then, a few weeks before the primary, they switched their support to Anna K. Allen, a community activist.
Hill reported contributing $30,000 to Allen's campaign and providing her long-distance advice by telephone. Meantime, he told a reporter for the Bakersfield Californian that he would "drive a stake" through Harvey's heart to beat him.
Hill's tough talk disturbed other Republicans. Hill said he regrets the comment. "It was a mistake and I've been impressed with Harvey," who outpolled Allen and went on to win the general election.
Despite the misstep, Hill continues to speak his mind. Earlier this year, Speaker Brown's bilingual education bill was approved by the Assembly Education Committee, with surprise votes from two Republicans--Assemblymen Richard E. Longshore of Orange and Charles W. Quackenbush of Saratoga, who thought they had won a concession from Brown.
Almost immediately Hill privately scolded Longshore for being taken in by Brown. "Willie can be impressive," Hill said. "He puts on his dog-and-pony show, and when you think he's making concessions he's just blowing smoke."
Hill is also not shy about raising campaign contributions for the Republican Assembly caucus. Hill is vice chairman of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, which handles bills on liquor, horse racing and other gambling--all industries that are major campaign contributors.
'He's Been Helpful'
Assemblyman Condit, chairman of the committee, said, "Frank is a very aggressive" fund-raiser. One lobbyist said that as a member of the GOP leadership, Hill tends to be more visible in raising funds. "He's been helpful to my clients, so they're helpful to him," the lobbyist said.
In the most recent ranking by the state Fair Political Practices Commission last June, Hill was listed as the Assembly GOP's second highest fund-raiser--behind Nolan. According to Legi-Tech, a computerized information service, Hill listed among his major contributors the California Medical Political Action Committee, $8,000; California Real Estate Political Action Committee, $4,000, and the Los Angeles Turf Club, $2,000.
The Fair Political Practices Commission does not rank legislators by the amount of outside income, but Hill last year reported earning about $33,500 in outside income, honorariums and gifts, including gifts from many special interests affected by decisions made by the Legislature. He also earns $37,105 a year as a legislator, plus $75 a day for each day the Legislature is in session.
In his annual economic disclosure statement filed last month, Hill reported honorariums totaling nearly $20,000 last year, including $3,000 for a speech to Quarter Horse Racing Inc. of Los Alamitos; $2,200 for a speech to the Huntington Park Casino, and $2,500 for a speech to the California Beer & Wine Wholesalers Assn.