Biography

Senator Darrell Steinberg, the California Senate President pro Tempore, is the leader of the majority party in the California State Senate.

Representing the capital city of Sacramento in the California Legislature since 1998, Steinberg has earned a reputation for confronting seemingly intractable problems and delivering results through consensus-building that have led to major agreements on protecting California’s water supply, overhauling workers’ compensation laws, revamping zoning rules to combat urban sprawl and global warming, tackling school dropout rates, and cutting red tape to benefit the economy.

Elected to the Senate in 2006, Steinberg became Senate leader in late 2008, at the deep end of the economic downturn when the state faced an unimaginable $42 billion deficit. Two years later, he was honored with the John F Kennedy Profile in Courage award by the Kennedy Library Foundation in recognition of his leadership in bipartisan negotiations leading to the state’s fiscal recovery.

Throughout the state’s fiscal turmoil, Steinberg continued to work on other tough issues. Steinberg led the Senate in passing common sense pension reform that eliminated flagrant abuses of the system and is projected to deliver up to $55 billion in taxpayer savings. He was pivotal in sending AB 900 to the Governor to expedite the legal process for large scale environmentally-sustainable projects. Darrell introduced SB 946 to mandate insurance companies cover treatment of people with autism and related disorders.

To bring financial relief to thousands of students, Steinberg authored bills to make the most popular textbooks available digitally at no cost. To prepare high school students for the workforce, Steinberg reconditioned the state’s Academic Performance Index to dis-incentivize “teaching to the test”. To eradicate frivolous lawsuits against California small business, Steinberg teamed up with Republican lawmakers to improve the Americans with Disabilities Act while motivating businesses to accommodate disabled customers.

Steinberg has been a relentless advocate for mental healthcare, calling it “the under-attended issue in our time and in our society.” Heralded within the mental health community as the “most transformative figure mental health has ever seen”, Steinberg authored Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, creating a one billion-dollar system for dynamic mental healthcare in California.

Steinberg was identified by the Wall Street Journal as “One to Watch in 2013,” as his political acumen in key campaigns resulted in the first two-thirds Democratic majority in the California Legislature in more than 100 years.

Steinberg graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a BA in economics, then earned a Juris Doctrate from UC Davis Law School. He went on to serve as an employee rights attorney for the California State Employees Association for 10 years before his work as an Administrative Law Judge and mediator. Steinberg served on the Sacramento City Council from 1992 to 1998, and as an Assemblymember from 1999 to 2004.

Steinberg and his wife, Julie Steinberg, have two children – a daughter, Jordana, and a son, Ari.