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Valley Briefing

Rating the Lawmakers : Members of the Senate Take Stock After Legislature Ends

October 23, 1994

Each year, thousands of bills are introduced in the Legislature by state lawmakers whose names or track records may mean little to the average voter.

While the decisions made in Sacramento may seem distant to Southern California residents, it is the state Capitol where many critical local issues get resolved.

From education to earthquake relief to economic reform, state legislators tackle a wide range of problems with solutions that sometimes typify which side of the ideological aisle the lawmaker occupies.

In the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, state legislators embrace a broad spectrum of views, ranging from the staunchest conservative to the most liberal.

To familiarize readers with area representatives, here is a look at highlights from the 1993-94 legislative session.


Tom Hayden, D-Santa Monica

Senate District: 23rd Senate District (includes Sherman Oaks, Encino, Woodland Hills, Westlake Village, Beverly Hills, Hollywood)

Year elected to the Assembly in 1982

Term limit: 2000

Career before Statehouse: Author/teacher

Specialty areas: Environmental protection, higher education, earthquake safety.

Key bills authored and signed into law:

- SB 504, forbids UC regents from considering pay and perks behind closed doors.

- SB 612, extends sexual harassment protections to professional relationships.

- SB 1927, requires the state to begin enforcing laws against selling tobacco to minors.

- SB 2098, upgrades the crime of ATM robberies to first-degree robbery.

Bill passage rate: Of 65 bills Hayden introduced, 10 were signed into law.

Voting record: Hayden abstained or was absent for 11% of his floor votes; 28% of his committee votes. He voted yes 79% of the time, no 7%.


David Roberti, D-Van Nuys

Senate District: 20th (includes Van Nuys, San Fernando and parts of Los Angeles)

Year elected to the Senate: 1966

Term limit: December, 1994

Career before Statehouse: lawyer.

Retiring because of term limits. Lost a primary bid for state treasurer.

Specialty areas: Gun control, earthquake safety, animal rights.

Key bills authored and signed into law:

- SB 750, strengthens seismic safety requirements for mobile homes.

- SB 692, protects sick or crippled animals from inhumane treatment at the slaughterhouse.

- SB 112, guarantees a breast cancer patient an explanation of treatment beyond mastectomy.

- SB 37X, prohibits drug addicts and violent felons from possessing firearms ammunition.

Bill passage rate: Of 47 bills Roberti authored, 20 were signed into law.

Voting record: Roberti abstained or was absent from 20% of his floor votes; 23% of his committee votes. He voted yes 77% of the time; no 3%.


Don Rogers, R-Tehachapi

Senate District: 17th (includes Inyo County, and parts of Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, as well as the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale and Santa Clarita and Tehachapi)

First elected to the Senate: 1986

Term limit: 1996

Career before Statehouse: petroleum geologist

Specialty areas: Veterans' affairs, surface mining, oil and gas industry.

Key bills authored and signed into law:

- SB 1646, requires three state departments to take steps to help military people leaving active duty.

- SB 603, modifies requirements for veterans' home and farm purchase loans.

- SB 575, exempts used-car buyer from smog check requirement if one was performed recently on the vehicle.

- SB 2066, authorizes university police to inspect premises on state property for alcohol violations.

Bill passage rate: Of 51 bills Rogers introduced, 15 were signed into law.

Voting record: Rogers abstained or was absent from 5% of his floor votes; 15% of his committee votes. He voted yes 74% of the time; no, 20%.


Herschel Rosenthal, D-Los Angeles

Senate District: 22nd (includes Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills)

Year elected to the Senate: 1982

Term Limit: 1998

Career before Statehouse: typographer

Running for election in 20th Senate District Nov. 8

Specialty areas: energy, public utilities, consumer protection.

Key bills authored and signed into law:

- SB 1939, expands telecommuting programs like those established after the Northridge earthquake.

- SB 491, requires the Public Utilities Commission to establish a program to help low-income customers.

- SB 798, provides consumer protection to buyers of appliance service contracts.

- SB 215, provided $150 million in revenue bonds for alternative energy and conservation projects.

Bill passage rate: Of 73 bills Rosenthal introduced, 35 were signed into law.

Voting record: Rosenthal abstained or was absent from 6% of his floor votes; 9% of his committee votes. Rosenthal voted yes 89% of the time; no 5%.


Newton R. Russell, R-Glendale

Senate District: 21st (includes Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles and Pasadena)

Year elected to the Senate: 1974

Term limit: 1996

Career before Statehouse: insurance

Specialty areas: public employee retirement system, insurance, mediation.

Key bills authored and signed into law:

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