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In New Calif. Legislature, Moderate Dems Hold Leverage

Now that Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses of the California legislature, the leverage held by lawmakers considered to be “swing votes” on critical issues has shifted.

Aired 1/22/13 on KPBS News.

The most critical members in the California legislature this year could well be moderate Democrats – not moderate Republicans, as in years past, or even Democratic legislative leaders.

Instead of pursuing Republicans for key measures requiring a two-thirds vote, legislative leaders and Governor Jerry Brown will seek the support of moderate Democrats.

Some of those moderates are new to the Capitol – and many of them won their races with support from business groups. Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton said she’s wary of “going to war” on major issues, commenting, “I think to act in a lot of big, radical ways right now could hurt the recovery that we’re beginning to see.”

Progressive groups and some liberal Democrats have said they’re looking at tax and fee measures – as well as changes to California’s tax-limiting Proposition 13. Those actions would all require two-thirds votes – and therefore, support from moderate Democrats.

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