SACRAMENTO (AP) — Democrats have gained a supermajority in the state Assembly, giving California's majority party complete dominance of state politics and the ability to raise taxes unilaterally if they choose.
The party already had secured the crucial two-thirds majority in the state Senate after last week's election.
Voting results in two key Assembly districts announced this week will give Democrats 54 seats in the 80-member chamber, for a bare two-thirds majority. On Wednesday, The Associated Press called the 65th Assembly District race in Orange County for Democratic challenger Sharon Quirk-Silva.
She unseated incumbent Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent.
"They have spoken, and it looks like my 28 years in elected life is coming to an end," Norby said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening. "But I was glad of the three years I had up there."
He said eliminating community redevelopment agencies remains his biggest accomplishment because he viewed them as "huge drain of public resources toward crony capitalism and eminent domain abuse."
This marks the first time since 1933, when Republicans were in control, that one party has held simultaneous supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature. Democrats already hold every statewide office.
A two-thirds majority in both houses is enough for Democrats to approve tax increases, pass emergency legislation, override gubernatorial vetoes, place constitutional amendments before voters and change legislative rules while ignoring Republicans.
It will be the first time since 1978 that Democrats held an Assembly supermajority, and it's the first time since 1965 that they have had a supermajority in the Senate.