In California, Legislative Caucuses Wield Influence
In California politics, the balance of power is often discussed in terms of the Republican and Democratic parties. But there are other groups that wield influence as well: the Legislative caucuses.
The 25-member Latino Caucus has garnered attention recently because of its role in the bribery scandal concerning Sen. Ron Calderon. But there are several other caucuses as well, including one for women, one for black legislators and one for rural lawmakers.
Steven Boilard is the executive director of the Center for California Studies. He said the influence of a caucus partially depends on how large it is.
"In addition to that there has to be some measure of cohesion," Boilard said. "The members of that caucus have to share some pretty fundamental principles or positions on legislation."
But Boilard said if a caucus gets too large it could run the risk of fracturing.
The groups exist to push and support legislation that will help their interest. They can also raise money and make donations through political actions committees.