Changes are in store for Sacramento Legislators. In a press release posted on the Republican Caucus web page yesterday, Senator Robert Dutton announced he will step down as Republican Minority Leader effective in early January when lawmakers return to the Capitol. Dutton, who is termed out in 2012, said the change is “right and logical”. Dutton said his focus for the remainder of his term will be on enabling legislation that will help business create jobs. It’s not clear at this time if Dutton will seek another office at the end of his term.
Dutton did not name a likely successor. However, shortly after his press release, Senator Robert Huff of Diamond Bar released a statement that he will seek the leadership role. Huff claimed in his own press release that he has enough commitments from Caucus members to be elected. Huff currently serves as Republican Caucus Chair.
“It makes sense that we have a new leader in place before the governor announces the new budget, so he or she can begin to negotiate immediately with the majority party on a budget solution that ends California’s fiscal crisis and the state’s economic uncertainty,” Dutton said. However, it remains to be seen whether the Governor will even be interested in resuming talks with Republicans. Because of recent changes in the law, Democrats no longer need to reach across the aisle to get a budget deal. And, Governor Brown has already made it public that he will seek a tax increase directly from the people of California with a November ballot measure.
Huff, who served as his caucus’s point man on the budget, said, “There’s always a role, even if we’re outside the door banging on it. We’re willing to work with him if he’s willing to.” We’re betting he isn’t.