California News

Jan 7, 2010 2:12 PM

Calif. Assembly elects LA lawmaker as new speaker

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Los Angeles Democrat John Perez has been elected the next leader of the California Assembly, becoming the first openly gay lawmaker to lead either house of the Legislature.

He is a cousin of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and was elected to the 80-member Assembly last year.

Perez, who is 40, will work alongside current Speaker Karen
Bass, also a Los Angeles Democrat, before making the full
transition later this year. Bass, the first black woman to head either house of the Legislature, will be termed out of office Nov. 30.

Perez was elected speaker Thursday on a 48-26 party-line vote.

The Assembly leadership role has become a revolving door since California voters passed term limits in 1990. Assembly members are limited to three two-year terms.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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