Darrell Steinberg

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Darrell Steinberg
Darrell Steinberg 2008.jpg
49th President pro tempore of the California Senate
In office
December 1, 2008 – October 15, 2014
Preceded by Don Perata
Succeeded by Kevin de León
Member of the California Senate
from the 6th district
In office
December 4, 2006 – November 30, 2014
Preceded by Deborah Ortiz
Succeeded by Richard Pan
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 9th district
In office
December 7, 1998 – November 30, 2004
Preceded by Deborah Ortiz
Succeeded by Dave Jones
Personal details
Born (1959-10-15) October 15, 1959 (age 56)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Julie Steinberg
Children Jordana
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Davis
Religion Judaism

Darrell Steven Steinberg (born October 15, 1959) is a Democratic politician from Sacramento, California. He was California Senate President pro Tempore and the leader of the majority party in the California State Senate from 2008 to 2014.

Steinberg was a member of the California State Senate representing the 6th District. He had also previously served as a member of the California State Assembly (1998–2004) and as a member of the Sacramento City Council (1992–1998).

Education and early career[edit]

Steinberg graduated from University of California, Los Angeles where he earned a BA in economics, then earned a Juris Doctrate from University of California, Davis School of Law.[1]

He served as an employee rights attorney for the California State Employees Association for 10 years before his work as an Administrative Law Judge and mediator.[2]

California State Assembly[edit]

Darrell Steinberg was a member of the California State Assembly from 1998 until he was termed out in 2004. During his time in the Assembly Steinberg served as Chair of the Assembly Committees on Budget, Appropriations, Judiciary, Labor and Employment, and the Select Committee on High Priority Schools.

He authored 70 bills that were signed into law in areas that included Mental Health, K-12 education, foster care and workplace safety. Steinberg is considered a strong advocate for children and mental health issues.[3]

He authored legislation to focus additional educational resources on high-poverty schools and make them more accountable for improvement.[4] He authored several nationally recognized laws to improve the state’s foster care system, including measures to improve system accountability and educational stability. His legislation in foster care included AB 408, which mandated steps to help older foster youth find permanent homes and families.[5] He also passed AB 34, the first significant expansion of community mental health programs in more than a decade.[6]

Steinberg also authored AB 1127, a landmark bill to give stronger prosecutorial power to district attorneys to address serious and willful violations of Cal/OSHA regulations which result in worker injuries and deaths.[7] Some supporters referred to this legislation as "the Tosco bill" because of an accident that occurred at the Tosco Refinery near Martinez, California in 1999. The accident, which resulted in four deaths, was held up as an example of insufficient penalties for dangerous workplace-safety violations.[8]

State Senate[edit]

Steinberg was the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate from 2008 to 2014. In February 2008, he was selected by Senate Democrats to become Pro Tem in the next legislative session, when the incumbent would be termed-out.[9][9] He took office in November 2008 as the first Senate leader from Sacramento since 1883.[9]

Before being elevated to Pro Tem, he was Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.[10] He also chaired the Senate Select Committee on High School Graduation.,[10] the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, and the Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.[10]

As a member of the State Senate, Steinberg continued many of the same causes he had undertaken as a member of the Assembly. He continued his work on improving test scores, aiding under performing schools, lowering dropout rates, and improving the state's mental health system.[11][12] In 2007, Steinberg introduced a bill to cap at 20 the number of hours high school students can work after school if their grade point average is not 2.5 or higher.[13]

On November 13, 2013, State Sen. Ron Calderon, lashed out at Federal authorities claiming that they wanted him to record conversations between Sen. Steinberg and fellow Sen. Kevin De Leon in a sting operation targeting Steinberg and De Leon.[14]

The 6th District[edit]

The 6th District includes the capital city of Sacramento parts of Elk Grove and Citrus Heights.[10]

Mental Healthcare Advocate[edit]

Throughout his legislative career, Steinberg has been a strong advocate for mental health care. He has called it “the under-attended issue in our time and in our society.” He is known within the mental health community as a long time champion.[15]

Steinberg became passionate about mental health during his time on the Sacramento City Council. In 1997, the City of Sacramento engaged in a lawsuit against Loaves and Fishes, a private charity providing food to the homeless. The free lunches began to draw thousands of homeless people which had become a nuisance to local business near the shelter in North Sacramento.[16] Former Mayor Joe Serna and then Councilmember Steinberg were the only two members to vote against the lawsuit. Upon further investigation into the rapidly increasing homeless population, Steinberg discovered that an overwhelming portion of homeless suffered from mental illness and did not have access to proper mental health care. He took up working on ways to help solve this issue.[17]

AB 34 Pilot Projects[edit]

During his first year in the State Assembly, Steinberg authored AB 34, which began three pilot projects that provided integrated services to the homeless in Stanislaus, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties. The pilot was so successful in lowering hospitalization, incarceration and homeless episodes the program was expanded to more than 30 counties in late 2000 as AB 2034. Data collection by the pilot programs demonstrated the success of the services being provided.[18]

Mental Health Services Act[edit]

Steinberg authored Proposition 63, the California Mental Health Services Act, approved by California voters on the November 2004 statewide ballot. The act imposes a 1% tax on incomes of $1,000,000 or more for mental health funding.[19] He co-authored "Prop 63" with advocate Sherman Russell Selix, Jr.[20] In the first five years, the program has provided mental health care to 400,000 Californians.[21]

The Mental Health Services Act includes a “whatever-it-takes” approach to support and services for people with severe mental illness and is the first of its kind in the United States. Services can include providing a safe place to live, a job, help in school, physical health care, clothing, food, or treatment when a mental illness and a substances abuse disorder are combined. These are examples of full service partnerships which have been proven to be effective in helping people with severe mental illness transition successfully to independent living situations.[21]

The Act also provides Prevention and Early Intervention services (PEI). PEI improves mental health care treatment by creating programs in places where mental health services are not traditionally given, such as schools, community centers and faith-based organizations.[22] The intent of PEI programs is to engage individuals before the development of serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance or to alleviate the need for additional or extended mental health treatment.

The Mental Health Services Act has proven to be a cost effective way to address mental health care. A 2012 report found that every dollar spent of mental health services in California saved roughly $0.88 in costs to criminal justice and health, and housing services by reducing the number of arrests, incarcerations, ER visits, and hospitalizations.[23]


Steinberg is married to his wife Julie and has two children.


  1. ^ "UC Davis Magazine". Ucdavismagazine.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  2. ^ "Biography | Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg". Sd06.senate.ca.gov. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  3. ^ "Public airing of private justice / Assemblyman calls hearings on mandatory arbitration - SFGate". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Steinberg. "AB 408 Assembly Bill - Bill Analysis". legix.info. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Darrell Steinberg and the Campaign for Mental Health: The AB 34 Programs". digital.library.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  7. ^ "AB 1127 or the "Tosco Bill" | Cry Wolf Project". crywolfproject.org. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  8. ^ "Tosco to Pay $2 Million in Fatal Flash Fire / Firm pleads no contest to '99 refinery blaze - SFGate". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  9. ^ a b c "Perata out, Sen. Darrell Steinberg in". SFGate. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  10. ^ a b c d [2][dead link]
  11. ^ [3][dead link]
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ [5][dead link]
  14. ^ "Ronald S. Calderon v US Complaint, Nov. 13, 2013". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  15. ^ "California Budget Puts Some Health Care Issues on Hold". California Healthline. 1996-05-30. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  16. ^ "Challenging Charity : Sacramento Sues Burgeoning Program for Homeless as a 'Public Nuisance' - Page 2 - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  17. ^ "Sacramento News & Review - The past, present and future of California’s mental-health system - Feature Story - Local Stories - March 15, 2012". Newsreview.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  18. ^ "AB 2034 (Assembly Bill 2034) Integrated Services to the Homeless Mentally Ill : Telecare Corporation". Telecarecorp.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  19. ^ "California's Mental Health System - Underfunded from the Start" (PDF). Mhac.org. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  20. ^ "CCCMHA | About US". Cccmha.org. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  21. ^ a b "Mental Health Program Shows Success - California Healthline". Californiahealthline.org. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  22. ^ "Transforming Mental Health Care" (PDF). Calmhsa.org. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  23. ^ "Full Service Partnerships" (PDF). Mhsoac.ca.gov. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Kim Mueller
Member of the Sacramento City Council
from the 6th district

Succeeded by
Dave Jones
California Assembly
Preceded by
Deborah Ortiz
Member of the California Assembly
from the 9th district

Succeeded by
Dave Jones
Preceded by
Sheila Kuehl
Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Ellen Corbett
Preceded by
Carole Migden
Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee
Succeeded by
Judy Chu
California Senate
Preceded by
Deborah Ortiz
Member of the California Senate
6th district

Succeeded by
Richard Pan
Political offices
Preceded by
Don Perata
President pro tempore of the California Senate
Succeeded by
Kevin de León