New Assembly leadership means new committee assignments, and the reshuffle started on Tuesday.
Decisions about who gets to lead which committee carry significant weight in the Legislature, helping to dictate influence and direct campaign dollars. New assignments started trickling out in anticipation of Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, taking over as Assembly speaker and Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, departing to advise a pharmaceutical industry group.
Leadership duties will render Rendon unable to continue as chair of the powerful Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, which oversees issues such as energy efficiency and the Public Utilities Commission. Replacing him as chair is Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, who in 2014 lost a coveted spot heading the Assembly Appropriations Committee and faces term limits next year.
In lieu of Perea, Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, will lead the Assembly Agriculture Committee. His agricultural roots extend to a family grape farm.
Those moves tumbled other dominoes: Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Arcadia, takes over the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection from Gatto. Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, will in turn take the reins from Chau on the Housing and Community Development Committee.
Republican members also received new appointments to accommodate Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, who will take over as minority leader next month. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, takes his spot as vice chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee.
The vote for Rendon to succeed Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is scheduled for January 11, with an official transition expected in March. One of his first tasks will be distributing committee assignments.