|Member of the California State Senate
from the 11th district
December 3, 2012
|Preceded by||Joe Simitian|
|Member of the California State Senate
from the 3rd district
December 1, 2008 – December 3, 2012
|Preceded by||Carole Migden|
|Succeeded by||Lois Wolk|
|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 13th district
December 2, 2002 – December 1, 2008
|Preceded by||Carole Migden|
|Succeeded by||Tom Ammiano|
|Member of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from District 8
April 22, 1998 – December 2, 2002
|Preceded by||Susan Leal|
|Succeeded by||Bevan Dufty|
September 24, 1951 |
|Alma mater||University of Colorado at Boulder|
Mark Leno (born September 24, 1951) is an American politician, representing California's 11th Senate district, which includes San Francisco and part of San Mateo County. He was first elected to the State Senate in 2008 and is the first openly gay man to serve there. Leno was previously one of the first two openly gay men (along with John Laird) to serve in the Assembly. He also served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors between 1998 and 2002 after being appointed by Willie Brown. Leno is the owner of Budget Signs Inc., a small business.
In 2008, he won the Democratic Party nomination for California's 3rd Senate district with 43.8 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Senator Carole Migden, who had 28.6 percent of the vote, and former Assemblyman Joe Nation, who had 27.6 percent of the vote. He was then elected with 80% of the vote in the general election.[dead link]
Before elected office 
Leno is the grandson of Jewish Russian immigrants. He is a native of Wisconsin and attended Nicolet High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder, then went on to become valedictorian of his graduating class at the American College in Jerusalem, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. Leno also spent two years in rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College in New York. Afterward, he moved to San Francisco on the invitation of his sister. He lived his first four years in the Tenderloin before moving to the Noe Valley neighborhood. In 1978, Leno started Budget Signs as owner and operator. The business incorporated in 1982. Working with his life partner, Douglas Jackson, the business continued to grow and their involvement in community affairs steadily expanded. Jackson died from complications related to AIDS in 1990. Despite this loss, Leno continued his efforts in community service.
Political career 
Leno was elected citywide to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1998 and reelected in the reinstated district races of 2000. He was then elected to the California State Assembly in 2002, and was re-elected in 2004 and 2006. Leno was the chair of the Assembly's powerful Appropriations Committee, as well as the Select Committee on Childhood Obesity & Related Diabetes.
Board of Supervisors 
Prior to his election, Leno's political background included raising money for candidates and causes such as AIDS services, the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Democratic Party. Leno was appointed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by Willie Brown in 1998. Within six months of the appointment, Leno introduced legislation to allow tenants to replace a roommate without losing their lease, measures to aid those with HIV/AIDS, and a measure to promote the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to help low income residents. He authored legislation to ban mercury thermometers, one of the first in the country. Leno's district included the The Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park, Diamond Heights, Twin Peaks, Duboce Triangle, and the westernmost part of the Mission District. As a supervisor, he also supported Proposition L, the slow-growth measure, in 2000. He authored legislation to protect neighborhood business districts from big box retail. Leno also served as a statewide spokesman for the No on Proposition 22 campaign.
In 2001, he passed an ordinance providing equal access to the city's health plan for transgender employees of San Francisco. Leno also helped create the nation's first medical cannabis identification card program in San Francisco upon which was based California's statewide program.
State Assembly 
In 2005, Leno authored AB 849, a bill legalizing same-sex marriages that became the first bill of its kind to pass a legislative body in the United States. The bill passed both the Assembly and the State Senate, but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. In 2007, Leno introduced AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, that would have allowed for same-sex marriage. This bill passed the Assembly and Senate, but was again vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Same-sex marriage was legalized by the California Supreme Court in a May 2008 decision, becoming effective June 16, 2008.
In 2006, Leno and Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore co-authored a bill that would legalize the cultivation of non-hallucinogenic hemp. The bill does not conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act, and would mandate that hemp be tested to ensure it is non-hallucinogenic. Leno also authored California Assembly Bill Number AB 1668 - on Feb 23, 2007—a bill encouraging Open Document Formats ODF in California.
In Leno's first two terms in the Assembly, 58 of his bills where signed into law. Leno co-authored AB 32 to cap greenhouse emissions. He authored AB 706 to prohibit the use of fire retardants in upholstered furniture. He authored AB 2573 to allow San Francisco public utilities to install solar panels on public infrastructure. Leno also authored Assembly Bill 1358, the California Complete Streets Act, to require cities and counties to consider including walking and bicycling in their general plans. He coauthored the AB 583, "California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act," to bring public financing to political campaigns.
Leno was a principal co-author of SB 840, the "Single-Payer Universal Health Care Act." The bill provided health care coverage for all Californians and would have replaced hundreds of health insurance companies with state provided coverage. The bill did not call for state control of the health care delivery system. Leno authored several bills to increase funding for programs for at-risk and low-achieving students and foster children.
In 2008, Leno introduced legislation he named the "Airline Passenger Bill of Rights." The bill requires airlines to provide basic needs for passengers, such as water, snacks, fresh air, sanitary restrooms, and lights if a plane is delayed on a tarmac at a California airport.
He is also the author of SB 810, the California Universal Health Care Act.
Awards and honors 
Leno has been honored for his public service by many organizations. In 2006, he was honored by the Stonewall Democratic Club in Los Angeles with their Sheila Kuehl Trail Blazer Award, the Lazarus Project’s Lazarus Award for Marriage Equality, the California Young Democrats’ Mentor of the Year, Partners Ending Domestic Abuse’s Kamala Harris Leadership Award and Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim’s 2006 Herman Humanitarian Award.
In 2005, he was honored by the California Attorneys For Criminal Justice with their “Scales of Justice Award” in recognition to his fair and balanced approach in chairing the Assembly Public Safety Committee. He also received the “Lifetime Friend and Champion” award from the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club and was chosen by OUT Magazine as one of 2005’s “Most Intriguing Gay Men.”
In 2004, Leno received the Award of Courage from American Foundation for AIDS Research and he was honored by the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles at their 25th Anniversary. He also served as Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.
In 2003, Leno earned recognition from the American Heart Association, the California Association of Food Banks and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
- Lovett, Ian (July 14, 2011). "California to Require Gay History in Schools". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- Official Assembly home page
- Leno moves to prime time Brown's latest choice for supervisor ready for first bow in political spotlight
- Short-term supervisor has little name recognition S.F. SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES
- Marriage fight casts shadow on Senate race Matthew S. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter, May 4, 2008.
- Mark Leno Already Vying for Another Job, The Noe Valley Voice (July–August). Retrieved on May 17.
- Industrial Hemp Legislation in CA
- And California Makes Four
- Mark Leno for State Senate: Environment
- Mark Leno for State Senate: Transportation
- Mark Leno for State Senate: Clean Money
- Mark Leno for State Senate: Health Care
- Single payer universal health care
- Children and Education
- Leno's airline passenger 'bill of rights'
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mark Leno|
|Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
April 22, 1998– December 1, 2002
|California State Assemblymember, 13th District
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2008
|California State Senator, 3rd District
December 1, 2008 – present