Current Legislator Tenure Rankings (End of June 2015)

Since 1849, a total of 4,416 people have served in the California State Legislature. So how do the current 120 legislators rank in terms of tenure?

In June, Senator Jim Nielsen (with 18.5 years of legislative service) moved up to become the 119th longest serving California legislator in state history, passing Don A. Allen.

Also in June, Senator Sharon Runner passed the 8-year mark in her legislative service and is now California’s 539th longest serving legislator. She started the month as the 713th.

State Senator Glazer, the legislature’s newest member, finished June with five weeks under his belt and is now the 4410th longest-serving legislator.

The complete list of current legislators ranked by their tenure;

Tenure Ranking Legislator Years of Service
120 Nielsen, Jim 18.48
276 Hancock, Loni 12.58
277 Leno, Mark 12.58
278 Liu, Carol 12.58
279 Pavley, Fran 12.58
280 Wolk, Lois 12.58
389 Huff, Bob 10.58
520 Anderson, Joel 8.58
521 Beall, Jim 8.58
522 Berryhill, Tom 8.58
523 De León, Kevin 8.58
524 Fuller, Jean 8.58
525 Gaines, Ted 8.58
526 Galgiani, Cathleen 8.58
527 Hernandez, Ed 8.58
528 Jackson, Hannah-Beth 8.58
713 Runner, Sharon 8.08
752 Bates, Patricia 6.58
753 Block, Marty 6.58
754 Hertzberg, Robert M. 6.58
755 Hill, Jerry 6.58
756 Mendoza, Tony 6.58
757 Monning, Bill 6.58
759 Hall, Isadore 6.56
1188 Gatto, Mike 5.06
1199 Achadjian, Katcho 4.58
1200 Alejo, Luis 4.58
1201 Atkins, Toni G. 4.58
1202 Bonilla, Susan 4.58
1203 Campos, Nora 4.58
1204 Cannella, Anthony 4.58
1205 Gordon, Rich 4.58
1206 Grove, Shannon 4.58
1207 Hernandez, Roger 4.58
1208 Hueso, Ben 4.58
1209 Jones, Brian 4.58
1210 Lara, Ricardo 4.58
1211 Mitchell, Holly J. 4.58
1212 Morrell, Mike 4.58
1213 Olsen, Kristin 4.58
1214 Pan, Richard 4.58
1215 Perea, Henry T. 4.58
1216 Wagner, Don 4.58
1217 Wieckowski, Bob 4.58
1218 Williams, Das 4.58
1230 Gaines, Beth B. 4.15
1988 Allen, Travis 2.58
1989 Bigelow, Frank 2.58
1990 Bloom, Richard 2.58
1991 Bonta, Rob 2.58
1992 Brown, Cheryl R. 2.58
1993 Calderon, Ian 2.58
1994 Chau, Edwin 2.58
1995 Chavez, Rocky 2.58
1996 Cooley, Ken 2.58
1997 Dahle, Brian D. 2.58
1998 Daly, Tom 2.58
1999 Eggman, Susan T. 2.58
2000 Frazier, Jim 2.58
2001 Garcia, Cristina 2.58
2002 Gomez, Jimmy 2.58
2003 Gray, Adam 2.58
2004 Holden, Chris 2.58
2005 Jones-Sawyer Jr., Reginald B. 2.58
2006 Levine, Marc 2.58
2007 Linder, Eric 2.58
2008 Maienschein, Brian 2.58
2009 Medina, Jose J. 2.58
2010 Melendez, Melissa 2.58
2011 Mullin, Kevin 2.58
2012 Nazarian, Adrin 2.58
2013 Patterson, Jim 2.58
2014 Quirk, Bill 2.58
2015 Rendon, Anthony 2.58
2016 Roth, Richard 2.58
2017 Salas, Rudy 2.58
2018 Stone, Mark W. 2.58
2019 Ting, Phil 2.58
2020 Waldron, Marie 2.58
2021 Weber, Shirley N. 2.58
2022 Wilk, Scott 2.58
2042 Gonzalez, Lorena 2.12
3622 Vidak, Andy 1.94
3630 Rodriguez, Freddie 1.77
3636 Dababneh, Matt 1.62
3640 Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian 1.58
4347 Allen, Ben 0.58
4348 Baker, Catharine 0.58
4349 Brough, William 0.58
4350 Burke, Autumn 0.58
4351 Chang, Ling-Ling 0.58
4352 Chiu, David 0.58
4353 Chu, Kansen 0.58
4354 Cooper, Jim 0.58
4355 Dodd, Bill 0.58
4356 Gallagher, James 0.58
4357 Garcia, Eduardo 0.58
4358 Gipson, Mike 0.58
4359 Hadley, David 0.58
4360 Harper, Matthew 0.58
4361 Irwin, Jacqui 0.58
4362 Kim, Young 0.58
4363 Lackey, Tom 0.58
4364 Leyva, Connie 0.58
4365 Lopez, Patty 0.58
4366 Low, Evan 0.58
4367 Mathis, Devon 0.58
4368 Mayes, Chad 0.58
4369 McCarty, Kevin 0.58
4370 McGuire, Mike 0.58
4371 Nguyen, Janet 0.58
4372 Obernolte, Jay 0.58
4373 O’Donnell, Patrick 0.58
4374 Santiago, Miguel 0.58
4375 Steinorth, Marc 0.58
4376 Stone, Jeff 0.58
4377 Thurmond, Tony 0.58
4378 Wood, Jim 0.58
4397 Moorlach, John M. W. 0.29
4416 Glazer, Steve 0.10


Quirks of Term Limits

A quirky result of term limits; last year, John M. W. Moorlach was serving on the Orange County Board of Supervisors with Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen. Now, all three are State Senators. But Moorlach, elected four months after the others will actually term out two years earlier.

Term Limits 1.0

Under California’s first term limits law (TL1), legislators were able to serve three 2-year terms in the Assembly and two 4-year in the State Senate.


There was one caveat, which had to do with special elections; if a legislator won a special election and assumed office in the first half of a term, that fraction was treated as a full term (and counted towards term limits). Alternatively, if a legislator won a special election and assumed office in the second half of a term, that fraction was treated rounded down (and didn’t count towards term limits).

  • ROUNDING UP: Examples of the rounding up of terms includes George Runner, who left the State Senate as a termed-out member on December 21, 2010 (just past the halfway point in his second term). If Runner had resigned on November 30, 2010, he would be eligible for another full term in the Senate. (Runner served 73 months in the State Senate)
  • ROUNDING DOWN: A great example of rounding down was Gloria Romero, who was elected to the Senate in March 2001 and served 21 months of that fractional term before serving another two full terms. (Romero served 117 months in the State Senate)

A total of 432 legislators served during the TL1 era (1990-2010). Of them, only 38 termed out of both houses. That’s about 8.8%.


Term Limits 2.0


The TL2 era began when voters approved Proposition 28 (2012), changing the term limits law to an overall cap of 12 years in the legislature (rather than a number of terms in a specific house). The old caveat disappeared; the new law specifically said that “may serve no more than 12 years in the Senate, the Assembly, or both, in any combination of terms.”

  • This means that Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, who was elected in a special election in December 2013 (just past the halfway point in the 2013-14 term) will term out at the same time as the Assemblymembers who were elected 13 months before.
  • Similarly, State Senator John Moorlach (elected March 2015) will serve the remainder of his current term and be eligible for two more terms, leaving in office in 2026. His colleagues who were elected to full terms in November 2014 will be eligible to serve until 2028.


Term Limits Prospective

Of the 120 seats in the Legislature, there are currently (March 2015); 46 TL1 legislators, 73 TL2 legislators, and one vacancy.

The Assembly is divided into three groups;

  • Terming out in 2016. The last of the current TL1 members (there will almost certainly be one or two former TL1 members who run again in the next decade). This also includes Mike Gatto (elected in a 2010 special election) and Beth Gaines (elected in a 2011 special election).
  • Terming out in 2026. The first TL2 members who were first elected in November 2012, plus the members who won special elections during the 2013-14 session.
  • Terming out in 2028. The second class TL2 members who were first elected in November 2014.

The Senate is divided into #groups;

  • Terming out in 2016. Six TL1 members who have served in the Senate since 2009.
  • Terming out in 2018. Six TL1 members who have served in the Senate since 2011.
  • Terming out in 2020. Nine TL1 members, including eight who have served in the Senate since 2013, and one elected in a 2014 Special Election.
  • Terming out in 2020. TL1 member Sharon Runner. Elected in a 2011 Special Election, and served less than half a term. Elected in a 2015 Special Election, and will again serve less than half a term. Eligible for a full term in 2016.
  • Terming out in 2022. Seven TL1 members who have served in the Senate since 2015.
  • Terming out in 2022. A TL1 State Senator first elected in 1978, Jim Nielsen served in the Senate until 1990, and returned after winning a special election in January 2013.
  • Terming out in 2022. The first TL2 Senator to term out will be Andy Vidak, elected in a special election in July 2013. Although he served only 16 months of his first term (ending in November 2014), the 12-year cap means that Vidak will only be eligible to serve two more full terms.
  • Terming out in 2024. A TL1 State Senator elected in December 2014, Isadore Hall is eligible to serve in the Senate until 2024. He will not be staying that long; he’s running for Congress in 2016.
  • Terming out in 2024. The first TL2 State Senator, Richard Roth, who was first elected in November 2012, plus the members who won special elections during the 2013-14 session.
  • Terming out in 2024. Similar to Vidak, John Moorlach will be limited to only two full terms after his fractional term, leaving office in 2024.
  • Terming out in 2026. The five members of the second class TL2 members who were first elected in November 2014.

A chart showing the remaining maximum time that each legislator has in their current house. Note the Nielsen tail stretching back to the 1970s:

Remaining Service for Current Legislators

Remaining Service for Current Legislators



Assemblyman Bill Brophy: A Busy 12 Months

Bill Brough

Over the past few months, when I heard people talking about incoming Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Orange County), I thought they had meant Assemblyman Bill Brophy (R-Los Angeles), who remains one of the great cautionary tales of the Legislature. Brough seems like a nice enough guy (married, two kids, military service, and local government experience) so please keep in mind that this is just the story of another guy with a similar name.

Our story starts in the early 1970s. Brophy won election to the Assembly in a 1971 special election that resulted from David Roberti‘s move to the State Senate. The district, with a heavy Democratic majority, would almost certainly have elected Richard Alatorre, had it not been for two factors; a second liberal latino on the ballot (Raul Ruiz of the La Raza Unida Party) and a drive-by shooting of Brophy’s house two days before the election.

With those two factors, including Ruiz pulling nearly 8% of the vote, Brophy ended up winning by just 1,570 votes.

Bill Brophy

Things were looking up for the new 36-year-old Assemblyman, who got married to a 19-year-old former model just months into his term. Four months later, on June 6th, Assemblyman Brophy won the primary for Congressional District 30. Brophy was clearly a rising star.

Less than two weeks after the Primary, on June 18, 1972, Brophy’s wife Susan Marie was in a major traffic accident on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades when her car swerved into the oncoming lane, hitting another vehicle and killing the two occupants, Chris George Panas and Elizabeth Panas. Mrs. Brophy suffered a broken jaw.

According to an L.A. Times article, “Officers at the scene said Mrs. Brophy admitted to them that she had taken secobarbital…”

Less than two weeks after the crash, Brophy was in the news again. Having returned to Sacramento and living out of a hotel room during the session, Brophy met two young women at a bar and, after a few drinks, left the bar. He later woke up in his hotel room with the women (“Brophy said he did not know how the two visitors got into his room.”) After the women left, Brophy (who was apparently not wearing pants during their visit, checked his pants (which were in the bathroom) and realized that $300 was missing. He called the women and told them that he would be calling the police. One of the women told him not to “because of your reputation.”

Brophy Accuses 2 Women of Taking $300

“The 36-year-old lawmaker said he had several drinks with the women, both about 25, at a bar from 1 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and then returned to his hotel room alone and went to bed. Brophy told officers he was awakened at 3:10 a.m. by the same two women in his room. He said one of them stayed for about 20 minutes before leaving. Brophy said he then checked his pants and discovered $300 missing from a pocket…”
Los Angeles Times, Jul 1, 1972

By September, Brophy had dropped out of the congressional race to help his wife in her manslaughter trial (scheduled to begin in mid-November). Days before the November election, Susan was taken to UCLA Medical Center for “what police said was a possible drug overdose.”

Mrs. Brophy Gets Emergency Care

Assemblyman Bill Brophy’s wife, Susan, was hospitalized today with what a UCLA Medical Center spokesman said was an “acute respiratory disorder” and what police said was a possible drug overdose.

The 19-year old Mrs. Brophy, a former model, was in “good condition” a few hours after Brophy had driven her to the hospital for emergency treatment.

She was reported to have been in a semicomatose state and having difficulty breathing when she arrived at 1:30 a.m.”
Los Angeles Times, Nov 3, 1972

The following week, Brophy lost his campaign for Congress, receiving only 28.6% (incumbent Edward Roybal won with 68.4%). Four months later, Susan was convicted on two counts of felony manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence of drugs.

Four years later, Brophy was in the news again after being arrested by the CHP in for “possessing marijuana and driving under the influence of drugs.”

Ex-Assemblyman Brophy Fined in Marijuana Case

Former Assemblyman Bill Brophy has been fined $200 and placed on two years’ probation after entering a plea of no contest to charges of possessing marijuana and driving under the influence of drugs.

Brophy was arrested last Nov. 25 in El Monte by a California Highway Patrol officer who said he had pursued Brophy for more than a mile at speeds ranging from 30 to 70 m.p.h.
Los Angeles Times, Mar 30, 1976

Finally, in 1978, Brophy’s name came up during a congressional inquiry into Panamanian drug trafficking, in which he was alleged to have attempted to trying to help with the sale of cocaine in California.

Panama report in closed session

WASHINGTON (UPI) – The Senate held a closed session today to consider a report from its Intelligence Committee into persistent allegations that high Panamanian officials had aided and abetted drug trafficking…

“A second Panamaninan witness, who requested anonymity, told House investigators that Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos discussed with former California Assemblyman Bill Brophy in the early 1970s the profits which might be made by selling Columbia[n] cocaine in California. But there was no indication Torrijos ever acted on this discussion. UPI could not reach Brophy or otherwise corroborate the report.”
Ellensburg Daily Record, Feb 21, 1978

Brophy never ran for elected office again after 1972.

More Reading:
“FACING TRIAL: Mrs. Brophy Gets Emergency Care”, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 4, 1972
“Ex-Assemblyman Brophy Fined in Marijuana Case”, Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1976
“Brophy Accuses 2 Women of Taking $300”, Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1972