Sally Tanner

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Sally Tanner
Sally Tanner and Rev. Desmond Tutu on the latter's visit to California in 1986.
Member of the California House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born 1926 (age 90–91)
East Chicago, Indiana
Political party Democratic
Occupation advertising design and commercial art

Sally Tanner (born 1926) represented California's 60th District in the California State Assembly from 1979 to 1992.[1] Her legislative career encompassed environmental issues, including serving as chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee. On consumer issues, Tanner was the author of a consumer protection act that came to be colloquially referred to as the California Lemon Law. As a 1987 co-founder of the legislature's "Woman of the Year" program, she also became a recipient of the honor in 2009.

Education and background[edit]

Tanner attended Pasadena Community College and the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, California, after which she worked in advertising design and commercial art.[2] She married and had two sons, Timothy and Christopher.[2]

Political career[edit]

Tanner's political career began as a volunteer for the 1956 Adlai Stevenson II presidential campaign[2][3] followed by experience as an Administrative Assistant to both 58th District California Assemblyman Harvey Johnson for ten years[3] and Congressman George E. Danielson. In 1979 Tanner ran for Representative from California's 60th District[1] and served for 14 years.[3]

In 1981, she helped Willie Brown become California's first African American Speaker of the Assembly.[3] When he helped create California's first standing committee on the environment, the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, Tanner was appointed the first chair.[3][4] The committee generally considered bills relating to environmental pollutants, chemical and toxic hazards, and product safety.[5]

Tanner introduced numerous bills to clean up the environment throughout her career.[3] In 1982, she authored a California law (Civil Code Section § 1793.22 et. seq.) which was officially named the Tanner Consumer Protection Act,[6][7] even though commonly and officially known as the "California Lemon Law."[3][6][7][8] It mandates refunds, replacements or compensation to consumers for life-threatening problems unfixed in new vehicles for the first 18,000 miles or 18 months, whichever is first.[6][7][9] On 1 January 2001, the law was amended to consider a vehicle a lemon if two repair attempts fail.[10]

Tanner was a founding member of the California Legislative Women's Caucus in 1985.[11] At the same time, she was appointed to the Governor's task force on waste, energy and technology and asked to formulate a state waste management plan by Governor George Deukmejian.[12] In 1987, with Republican Assemblywoman Bev Hansen, Tanner co-founded the legislative "Woman of the Year" program.[1]

In retirement[edit]

When she retired in 1992, Sally Tanner Park (34°5′25.03″N 118°5′14.25″W / 34.0902861°N 118.0872917°W / 34.0902861; -118.0872917) in Rosemead, California[13][14] and a street in El Monte was named Sally Tanner Drive in her honor.[15][16]

In retirement in Ferndale, California, Tanner fishes, reads and paints,[3] and started the local Democratic Caucus.[2]

In 2009, as part of Women's History Month, Assemblyman Wes Chesbro named Tanner to be the First Assembly District's Woman of the Year.[3] Chesbro said, “The Northcoast was very fortunate when one of California’s great environmental leaders, Sally Tanner chose to move to Ferndale for her retirement. Sally has lived quietly in Ferndale, but she has been a great source of wisdom and advice for me and my predecessors in the Assembly, Patty Berg and Dan Hauser.”[3]

In 2013, Tanner and Patricia Hofstetter, a retired California municipal court judge, were the only two female competitors in the 31st Annual Chopper Steelhead Derby on the Smith and Chetco rivers which they won by catching and releasing the largest fish of the derby, a 36.5 inch steelhead.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "Sally Tanner". Election History for the State of California. Join California. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Sally Tanner: Capitol Family Art". California Capitol Exhibits. Capitol Museum, Sacramento California. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bird, Andrew (12 March 2009). "Sally Tanner of Ferndale 1st Assembly District Woman of the Year". Office of Assemblyman Wes Chesbro. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Bond Money OKd by Voters : Hearings to Begin on Toxic Cleanup Costs". Los Angeles Times. 21 February 1985. 
  5. ^ "Inventory of the California State Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee Records". California State Archives Online Archive of California. California Secretary of State. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "California Lemon Law Information". Programs and Services for Consumers. Better Business Bureau. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "California Lemon Law". State Laws California: California Civil Code Section 1793.22 - 1793.26. Onecle. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Frith, Stefanie (20 June 2002). "California Lemon Law turns 20 today". Associated Press. 
  9. ^ "Motor Vehicle Warranty and Lemon Law". Services and Information. State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Section 1793 Consumer Warranty Protection Amended Ch. 1023, Stats. 1979. Effective January 1, 1980.". Civil Code. California Division of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "The First Legislative Women's Caucus". Caucus History. California Legislative Women's Caucus. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "El Monte: Governor Appoints Tanner". Los Angeles Times. 5 December 1985. 
  13. ^ "City Facilities/Services". Community Resources, Links & Directory. City of Rosemead, California. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Park's New Name Honors Tanner". Los Angeles Times. 1 October 1992. 
  15. ^ "El Monte, California". Street Map. Mapquest. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Morning Announcements". Archive. El Monte High School, El Monte, California. 11 May 20122. Retrieved 5 September 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ "Derby winners...". The Ferndale Enterprise. March 7, 2013. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph B. Montoya
California State Assembly, 60th District
Succeeded by
Paul Horcher