Senate Leader Atkins Announces Transitional Role for Emeritus Majority Leader Hertzberg, Appoints Senator McGuire as Majority Leader

January 19, 2022

SACRAMENTO – As the Senate moves forward in the second year of the 2021-2022 legislative session, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) today announced that two Democratic Senate leaders are transitioning into new positions. Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) will move from serving as Majority Leader of the Senate to Majority Leader Emeritus. Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), currently serving as Assistant Majority Leader, will become Majority Leader.  

“Term limits and elections always lead to changes, and I think Senators have done a great job over the years in managing our transitions. That is absolutely true in this instance with Senator Hertzberg shifting to Majority Leader Emeritus and Senator McGuire stepping up to serve as Majority Leader,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “Three years ago, when I asked Senator Hertzberg to serve as a majority leader, I shared with him my primary goal for the floor which was to further professionalize and achieve organizational efficiencies.  The hard work by Senator Hertzberg to put new systems in place certainly met my goal and for that I am very grateful.”

Senator Hertzberg said he is looking forward to the next role in the Senate.

“It has been a joy to work with Pro Tem Atkins in many different leadership efforts,” Senator Hertzberg said. “Senator Mike McGuire has been at my side for three years, and I have done everything I can to assist him in becoming a great Majority Leader. I enthusiastically join the Pro Tem in supporting his new role.”

As Majority Leader Emeritus, Senator Hertzberg will lead Senate negotiations on pending ballot measures, working with the respective policy chairs. He was integral in the development of SB 1253 (Steinberg), enacted in 2014, which requires proponents of ballot measures to have the opportunity to withdraw measures even after signature verification as long as the Secretary of State has not finally certified the ballot. In recent years, this has meant that proponents and opponents of measures have come to the Legislature to seek alternative policy solutions. 

“Senator Hertzberg has a unique skill set where he can pull competing sides to common ground and compromise,” Pro Tem Atkins said. "He has demonstrated this over the course of his career, including making use of SB 1253 to find solutions that don’t have to be fought over at the ballot box. The Senate will be well-served by Senator Hertzberg emphasizing his leadership in this area in the coming year.”

In addition to responsibility for ballot measure negotiations, Senator Hertzberg will be leading an effort to establish a formal training for incoming members of the Senate. As Speaker of the Assembly, Senator Hertzberg played a critical role in institutionalizing preparation of new members and staff, as well as providing for continued professional development throughout their legislative service. In his role as Vice Chair of the Joint Rules Committee, he also will continue to serve as the Senate’s lead on development of the new legislative annex building.

“I am extremely excited to use my deep institutional history in the Legislature to help work on all these important assignments with the Pro Tem and the Secretary of the Senate,” Senator Hertzberg said.

While serving as Assistant Majority Leader, Senator McGuire has served a pivotal role in communications among Senators during Floor sessions. He has also worked with Senator Hertzberg to advance Pro Tem Atkins' goal to bring greater organization to Senate Floor proceedings. 

"Elevating Senator McGuire to the role of Majority Leader is a natural progression for our Senate leadership," Pro Tem Atkins said. “In addition to working on process in this time of pandemic, Senator McGuire has been invaluable to me and our Committee Chairs as the Senate worked toward important policy victories on wildfires, housing and other key issues. Senator Hertzberg leaves huge shoes to fill, of course, but knowing Senator McGuire and his energy, he will work to fill them, shine them, put in new laces and resole them, all within two and a half minutes.”

“With bold leadership, along with the ingenuity and hard work Californians are known for, the Golden State is poised to emerge from this pandemic stronger. That’s why I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with our exceptional Senate leader, Pro Tem Toni Atkins,” Senator McGuire said. “We’re bringing forward one of America’s strongest climate action plans, building more affordable housing, increasing our wildfire resilience and advancing solutions to the homelessness crisis – and that’s just the beginning. Yes, we’re living in challenging times, but I’m more energized than ever to work with Pro Tem Atkins and the State Senate to ensure our best days are still ahead.”


Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: