Byron Sher

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For the Oklahoma politician, see Byron D. Shear.
Byron D. Sher
Member of the California State Senate
from the 11th district
In office
March 28, 1996 – December 6, 2004
Preceded by Tom Campbell
Succeeded by Joe Simitian
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 21st district
In office
December 1, 1980 – March 28, 1996
Preceded by Victor Calvo
Succeeded by Ted Lempert
Personal details
Born (1928-02-07) February 7, 1928 (age 88)
St. Louis, Missouri
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence Palo Alto, California
Alma mater Washington University
Harvard Law School
Occupation Politician, law professor
Profession Attorney

Byron D. Sher (born February 7, 1928) is an American Democratic politician. He served in the California State Senate from 1996 to 2004, prior to which, he served in the California State Assembly between 1980 and 1996. Sher was also a longtime professor at Stanford Law School. He currently serves as the California Senate Rules Committee appointee to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Early life and education[edit]

Sher was born February 7, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri). He received his BA from Washington University in St. Louis and his JD from Harvard Law School. Before beginning his political career, Sher taught at several schools, including Harvard Law School, Southern Methodist University, the University of Southern California, and Stanford University. He also became a Fulbright research scholar.[1]

Pre Assembly political career[edit]

Sher served on the Palo Alto City Council from 1965 to 1967 and 1973 to 1980. He served as mayor in 1975 and 1978.

Legislative accomplishments[edit]

Sher was a major environmental proponent during his time in the legislature. Major legislative accomplishments of his include the Groundwater Protection Act (1983), California Clean Air Act (1988), and the California Safe Drinking Water Act (1989).[2] He was the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee for 11 years.[3] Sher also authored a bill, signed by Jerry Brown, that increased the statute of limitations for rape from three years to six in response to the fact that many serial rapists—such as Melvin Carter—were able to avoid or partially avoid prosecution due to the shorter limit expiring.[4]


Near the end of his legislative career, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors designated January 30, 2004, as Byron Sher Day, calling him "the most effective environmental legislator in the state."[1] Sher is married to Linda and they have three grown children and five grandchildren. Former Senator and Mrs. Sher live in Palo Alto, California[citation needed]. He is professor emeritus at Stanford Law School.[5]

California Senate
Preceded by
Tom Campbell
California State Senator, 11th District
1996 – 2004
Succeeded by
Joe Simitian
California Assembly
Preceded by
Victor Calvo
California State Assemblymember, 21st District
1980 – 1996
Succeeded by
Ted Lempert


  1. ^ a b "Byron Sher Day Proclamation" (PDF). San Mateo County. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Guttman, Monika. "Three years added to the statute of limitations on rape". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  5. ^ "School of Law" (PDF). Stanford Bulletin, 2009-10. Retrieved 18 March 2011.