Assemblyman Brian Maienschein / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post initially appeared in the March 29 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein’s defection from the GOP to become a Democrat earlier this year was well-publicized, but drawing less attention was the significant shakeup of his committee assignments the shift sparked.

With so few Republicans in the California Legislature, Maienschein was the vice chair of three Assembly committees: Judiciary, Housing and Community Development, and Human Services.

The vice chair of a committee steps in to lead the panel in the chair’s absence and is almost always a member of the minority party.

In the weeks after Maienschein’s switch to the Democratic Party, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon removed him from his vice chair posts, though he remained on the three committees.

Rendon also removed Maienschein from his committee slots on the Budget, Education, and Communications and Conveyance committees, as well as his post on the Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

Maienschein was added to the powerful Appropriations Committee chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a fellow San Diego Democrat who warmly embraced her colleague’s party change. Maienschein was also inserted onto the influential Rules Committee.

“He’s happy with his committee assignments,” said Lance Witmondt, Maienschein’s chief of staff.

Assemblyman Mark Stone, chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he was pleased Maienschein remained on the panel even without the vice chair designation.

“I’ve always felt he is a very thoughtful member of the committee,” said Stone, a Monterey Bay Democrat.

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