Bill Emmerson

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Bill Emmerson
Member of the California State Senate
from the 23rd district
37th district (2010–2012)
In office
June 9, 2010 – December 1, 2013
Preceded by John J. Benoit
Succeeded by Mike Morrell
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 63rd district
In office
December 6, 2004 – June 9, 2010
Preceded by Bob Dutton
Succeeded by Mike Morrell
Personal details
Born (1945-10-28) October 28, 1945 (age 72)[1]
Oakland, California[2]
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nan Emmerson[2]
Children Kate
Residence Redlands, California
Alma mater La Sierra University (B.A.)
American University
Loma Linda University (D.D.S., M.S.)
Occupation Orthodontist, politician

Dr. William Emmerson D.D.S. [3] (born October 28, 1945[1]) was a Republican California State Senator who represented the 23rd district in Riverside County. He previously represented the 37th Senate District, having been elected in a June 8, 2010, special election and sworn into office the next day. Preceding his tenure in the State Senate, Emmerson served as California State Assemblyman from the District 63 representing the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, having been first elected in November 2004.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Born in Oakland, California,[2] his family moved to Orange County when his father opened a dental practice in Corona Del Mar, then moved again to Riverside County, where he attended local high school.

Emmerson received a B.A. degree in history and political science from La Sierra University in Riverside, California. He then studied public administration at American University in Washington, D.C.,[2] while working as an aide for Congressman Jerry Pettis. Emmerson moved back to California and joined the staff of the Assembly Majority Leader W. Craig Biddle,[2] where he worked from 1969 to 1974 while also continuing his post graduate studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Professional Dentistry[edit]

Dr. Emmerson has spent the majority of his professional career in the oral health field as a practicing orthodontist. After attaining a D.D.S. degree from The School of Dentistry of Loma Linda University and a M.S. degree in orthodontics, Dr. Emmerson was invited by Dr. Stem Linder-Aronson a renown orthodontist and Dean of the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden to join him in conducting advanced orthodontic research. At the conclusion of his tenure with Dr. Linder-Aronson, Dr. Emmerson presented their findings to the European Orthodontic Society and the Foundation for Orthodontic Research. Their work was also published in peer-reviewed publications such as the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Italy's University of Padova's Opus Honorarium Benito Miotti, and the Foundation for Orthodontic Research.

Dr. Emmerson then returned to California and embarked upon a 26-year orthodontic practice in Hemet,[2] where he actively participated in organized dentistry at the state and local levels.  He served as president of Tri-County Dental Society, chair of the California Dental Association’s Council on Legislation, and chair of the Association’s Political Action Committee.

Legislative Career and Highlights[edit]

Dr. Emmerson was elected to the California State Assembly in 2004 and subsequently to the California State Senate in a 2010 special election. In addition to serving on numerous legislative standing committees in both chambers, Dr. Emmerson was appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore to serve as a Member of Little Hoover Commission, and Chairman of the Select Committee on California European Trade. 

  • Student Oral Health Exam - AB 1433 [4] Studies, have shown a direct correlation between oral health and a pupil's academic success. To identify kindergarten and first grade students facing oral health risks, Dr. Emmerson authored the Student Oral Health Assessment to ensure our youngest students have received an oral health assessment by a licensed dentist or other licensed dental health professional. Dr. Emmerson's Oral Health Assessment was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Self Determination for People with Developmental Disabilities - SB 468 [5] The landmark Lantern Developmental Disabilities Services Act declares California's responsibility to provide for an array of services to support the needs of those with developmental disabilities. The concept of self determination calls for facilitating individuals with developmental disabilities to choose their own services and support rather than from a prescribed list of services. Self determination provides more freedom and responsibility of the individual to control the direction of their life choices. Dr. Emmerson's Self Determination for People with Developmental Disabilities was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
  • Sexually Violent Preditors - SB 295[6] Sponsored and supported by the Riverside and San Bernardino District Attorney's as well as supported by the Los Angeles District Attorney and the California District Attorneys Association, this measure clarified how a Sexually Violent Person seeks conditional or unconditional release as well as establishing procedures that should be followed by the court in doing so and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
  • Vision Screening and Eye Glass Donations - SB 724[7] The California non-profit, the California Lions Friends in Sight and others like it offer vision screenings and offer no cost eye glasses to those who cannot afford it. Unfortunately, non-profits offering such services faced sever liability for damage or injury and this law cleaned up and provides qualified immunity from liability to a non-profit to provide charitable vision screenings and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
  • Ensure Orthotic and Prosthetic Benefits - AB 2012 [8] Although the law provided health plans and insurers to offer coverage of orthotic and prosthetic benefits, many placed annual or lifetime caps on those benefits resulting in that coverage being illusory. This measure ensures orthotic and prosthetic as a benefit to enrollees and policyholders in the group health insurance market and that the coverage not be limited by annual or lifetime benefit caps. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed this measure into law.

Volunteer work[edit]

Emmerson helped to establish the dental hygiene program at Riverside Community College and to rehabilitate Redlands Fire Station 1, and served on the alumni association of Loma Linda University. He is active in the Kiwanis Club of Hemet, and he serves as a board member on the Ramona Bowl Advisory Board and as a volunteer with the Kiwanis Club of Redlands and Redlands Bicycle Classic.[citation needed]


Bill and his wife, Nan, have two daughters, Kate and Caroline.[2]