The Legislature will begin its new two-year session in Sacramento on Monday. Newly elected Assembly members and senators from Southern California will experiment with their flights: LAX, Long Beach, John Wayne or Burbank? The 7 a.m. flight or the 8:30, to be in the Capitol for the noon ceremonies? They will take their oaths, and crow or complain about the size of their new offices. They will exude cautious optimism about the still-ragged but improving condition of the state budget.
Members will take office on a cushion of tax increases, approved by voters last month as part of Proposition 30. They will be less Republican and more Democratic than the previous term's Assembly and Senate — enough more, in fact, for Democrats to command the two-thirds supermajority that will allow them to adopt veto-proof bills, raise taxes without Republican consent and place constitutional amendments on the ballot, assuming of course that votes fall along partisan lines.
Reflecting a period of battering cuts, they will receive less pay than did their predecessors — $90,526 a year for most lawmakers, down nearly $5,000 from last term and down about $26,000 from 2009. If their constituents are satisfied with them, they will be able to keep their seats for up to 12 years without scrambling for new offices, thanks to the voter-approved term-limits reform.