Sen. George Runner is resigning from the Senate effective today in preparation to take the oath of office for the Board of Equalization on Jan. 3.
Runner is vacating the 17th Senate District seat earlier than planned to make sure the special election to fill his seat will coincide with the special election to fill the Senate seat previously held by Jenny Oropeza who recently passed away.
All of Oropeza’s constituents in Senate District 28 – and many of Runner’s constituents – reside in Los Angeles County.
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Runner said that he’s resigning today to give the governor a chance to consolidate both special elections to save taxpayers money and streamline the process and paperwork for the Los Angeles County clerk/registrar of voters.
Los Angeles County will be the first place testing the new rules of nonpartisan primaries, which voters approved in June with the passage of Proposition 14. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder has announced that candidate filing is open for the February primary; candidates will still indicate their party preference, but the runoff at the end of election day will be between the two highest vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation.
On Friday, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that the special election to replace Oropeza will be held on April 19, with the primary election scheduled for Feb. 15.
Runner won the race for the Board of Equalization’s 2nd district on the Nov. 2, which means he must resign his Senate seat. Runner was elected to the Senate in 2004 and served in the State Assembly from 1996 to 2002.
Runner said the district and capitol offices will remain open and staffed for constituent services.
Runner’s time in Sacramento has been busy. Elected to the Assembly in 1996, Runner served as the budget lead in the Assembly for four years. He was elected to the Senate in 2004 and was named caucus chair – a position he held for five years. He served as a court intervenor in a lawsuit to stop the federal government from supplanting the state’s jurisdiction over California prisons.
He was named Legislator of the Year numerous times by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association; California State Sheriffs’ Association; Crime Victims United; Coalition of Chief Probation Officers and other groups. And he consistently earned perfect score on legislative report cards by the California Chamber of Commerce.
Runner also authored some landmark legislation that strengthened protection of our children, honors a past president and supports our military.
Passed by the legislature in 2002, Amber Alert has resulted in more than 200 successful reunions of parents with their kids.
Proposition 83 – Jessica’s Law – was placed on the statewide ballot by Runner in 2006 and was approved by 70 % of California voters. It created some of the toughest and most comprehensive sex offender laws in the nation.
Blue Alert System
This law, which goes into affect Jan. 1, parallels the existing statewide Amber Alert notification system when a peace officer has been killed, seriously wounded or assaulted with a firearm and the suspect has fled the scene. Blue Alert was signed by the governor earlier in the year.
Ronald Reagan Day
This law creates a permanent annual holiday honoring America’s 40th President and former Governor of California, Ronald Reagan. It goes into law Jan. 1.
Joint Fighter tax credit
Runner wrote this bill to make California competitive with other states by allowing $250 million in tax credits for wages and equipment used in the production of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
Tuition for service families
This bill provides a permanent exemption from non-resident tuition at all California public universities for active military personnel and their families.