Former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is joining the ranks of academia – at an institution funded by a measure he championed while in the Legislature.
Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, will become director of policy and advocacy for the new UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, the school announced Wednesday.
The position is unpaid, which allows Steinberg to lobby the Legislature on behalf of the center without violating California’s revolving-door law. The law that forbids lawmakers from lobbying their former colleagues within a year of leaving office only applies when they are being paid to lobby.
The $7.5 million UC Davis center is funded by Proposition 63, California’s tax on millionaires to fund programs for people who are mentally ill. Steinberg, a longtime advocate for mental health programs, wrote the 2004 measure.
“With UC Davis as a partner, my goal is to strengthen and unite our voice for mental and behavioral health in California,” Steinberg said in a prepared statement. “We will connect and inform the next generation of policy leaders, researchers, health professionals, providers and our communities.”
Steinberg will be a visiting professor at Davis’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He will continue working as a lawyer who heads up the California government practice at the Greenberg Traurig law and lobbying firm, and is also establishing the Steinberg Institute for Advancing Mental Health Policy to improve care in what has become his signature policy area.
“When I took job with Greenberg Traurig I said, ‘While my full-time job will be with the law firm, I’m used to full-time plus.’ And I that was going to do this on the side,” Steinberg said. “I do a lot of different things in the course of a single day.”
Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 2 p.m. March 5, 2015 to provide more detail on the new position and other jobs Steinberg has.
Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.