Confirmation In California

As in the federal system, gubernatorial appointees to many California state agencies and departments are subject to confirmation by the Senate.  Cal. Gov't Code § 1322.  There are, however, a number of important differences between the federal and state appointments process.

In California the Senate Rules Committee, not the Judiciary Committee, holds hearings on appointments.  Senate Rule 13.  Prior to the hearing, an appointee may receive detailed interrogatories from the Committee.  At the hearing, proponents and opponents can testify and the appointee is subject to questioning by the committee.  More importantly, a gubernatorial appointee takes office prior to confirmation but cannot continue to serve if the Senate fails to confirm within 365 days.  Cal. Gov't Code § 1774.  

The Commissioner of Business Oversight is included in this list of state officers whose appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.  Cal. Gov't Code § 1322(5) (the Legislature has yet to update the statutory reference to the Commissioner of Corporations).  In the case of my own appointment as Commissioner of Corporations, the Senate Rules Committee, then chaired by Senator Bill Lockyer, held several days of hearings.  On my 365th day in office, the Senate Rules Committee voted 5-0 to recommend my confirmation and the Senate voted 37-0 to confirm.