Kevin de León

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Kevin de León
Kevin de Léon 2012.jpg
President pro tempore of the California Senate
Assumed office
October 15, 2014
Preceded by Darrell Steinberg
Member of the California State Senate
from the 24th district
22nd district (2010–2014)
Assumed office
December 6, 2010
Preceded by Gil Cedillo
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 45th district
In office
December 4, 2006 – December 6, 2010
Preceded by Jackie Goldberg
Succeeded by Gil Cedillo
Personal details
Born (1966-12-10) December 10, 1966 (age 52)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children Lluvia
Alma mater University of California, Santa Barbara
Pitzer College
Website Official website

Kevin de León is a Democratic politician who was elected to the California State Senate in 2010 to represent the 24th district. de León was elected President pro tempore of the California State Senate on June 19, 2014, and was sworn in on October 15, 2014; he is the first Latino to hold that position in over 130 years.[1]

Political career

De León served four years as a State Assembly member for the 45th district that included Hollywood, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Historic Filipinotown, Echo Park, Chinatown, El Sereno, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, Mount Washington, Montecito Heights, Highland Park, Glassell Park and East Los Angeles.

Throughout his legislative career, De León focused much of his efforts on bills affecting the environment, the working poor, immigration and public safety. He was instrumental in last year's passage of a bill providing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and made national headlines in 2012 by proposing a first-of-its-kind, state-run retirement savings plan for low-income workers.[2] He co-chaired Proposition 39 – the California Clean Energy Jobs Act — hoping to create more than 40,000 California jobs, and generate billions of dollars to modernize California schools.

During his eight years representing Los Angeles in the Legislature, de León has pressed the concerns of immigrants, low-wage workers, and families suffering from gang violence. He has championed bills that restrict the sale of ammunition, improve energy efficiency in schools, expand urban park space, give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and require overtime pay for domestic workers. He also fought to ensure revenue from California's landmark law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions be directed towards air, water and other environmental quality projects in low-income neighborhoods.[1]


After years as an educator teaching U.S. citizenship courses, de León became a community organizer helping plan the largest civil rights march in California history against Proposition 187. Now, on the 20th anniversary of Proposition 187's passage, his Senate Bill 396 erases this California law. Following years as an advocate for teachers and public schools with the National Education Association and California Teachers Association, Kevin de León ran for a seat in the California state legislature and won.[1]

Personal life

de León was the first in his family to graduate from high school and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and received his degree from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with Honors. He lives in Los Angeles and has one daughter.

de León is a member of the Alliance for a Better California and the California Teachers Association.[3]


Gun control

De León is an advocate of gun control. He proposed an annual permit tax of up to $50 to pay for background checks for criminal records and mental illness.[4] In February 2008, as an assemblyman, de Léon introduced AB 2062 regulating sales of handgun ammunition; the bill passed the Assembly but died in the Senate.[5] In December 2012, de León introduced Bill SB 53 in the California Legislature, in which he proposed stricter gun control by requiring ammunition buyer permit requirement and face-to-face ammo sales only at licensed dealers, as with AB 2062 this also failed.[6] De Leon has also criticized NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.[7]

De León was the sponsor and author of California Assembly Bill 962[8][better source needed] (AB 962) a gun control law in California, later signed into law by Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 11, 2009. AB 962 was set to take effect on February 1, 2011, but was ruled unconstitutional by Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton on January 18, 2011, in Parker v. California.[9][better source needed]

In January 2014, de Léon was ridiculed by opponents of gun control for his lack of gun knowledge after he incorrectly described the rate of fire, barrel length, type of magazine, and caliber of a homemade semiautomatic rifle and repeatedly referred to it as a "ghost gun" in a press conference speech about gun control.[10]

On August 15, 2014, Senate Bill 53 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and put on the suspense file. This indicates that the bill is suspended from further committee action. On August 30, 2014, the bill was brought to the floor of the CA Senate and failed to garner the 41 votes needed to pass.

"Yes Means Yes"

De León was the sponsor and co-author (with of State Senator Hannah Beth-Jackson), requiring colleges in California, in order to receive state funds for student financial assistance, to adopt an "affirmative consent standard" and prohibits various affirmative defenses, including prohibiting specified factors that may negate an accused's mens rea, in college disciplinary proceedings involving allegations of sexual misconduct.[11] Senator De León wrote (along with Senator Hannah Beth-Jackson) that, although "In a court of law, due process is necessary to protect the accused’s liberty," prosecutors too often are unable to gather enough evidence to prosecute offenders.[12] They continue, by stating that their "Yes Means Yes" legislation deals with an administrative adjudication process to ensure that students abide by the code of conduct, and thus is "a fairer process." [12]


External links