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First Woman, LGBT Leader Of California Senate Sworn In

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins has become the first woman and first LGBT person to lead the California Senate. A rainbow flag representing gay pride hung next to the California and U.S. flags in the Capitol rotunda as Atkins was formally elected Senate pro tem and took the oath of office on Wednesday. Atkins takes over as the Legislature faces ongoing scrutiny over its handling of sexual misconduct in the Capitol. The move is a return to legislative leadership for the 55-year-old Atkins, who was Assembly speaker from 2014 to 2016. She ran a women’s health clinic in San Diego before turning full time to local and state politics. Atkins replaces Los Angeles Democrat Kevin de Leon, who is termed out of the Legislature and is running for U.S. Senate.