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Senate elects Los Angeles Democrat as next leader

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The state Senate has named as its next leader a Los Angeles Democrat who has championed programs that range from cleaning up pollution in urban areas to those benefiting low-wage workers.

By voice vote Monday, the 40-member chamber elected Sen. Kevin de Leon to succeed Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, who will step down Oct. 15.

De Leon will become just the second Latino leader of the Senate, but the first in more than 130 years.

His ascension comes even after de Leon's name was mentioned dozens of times in a federal corruption probe against a fellow state lawmaker.

The FBI affidavit in that case accuses suspended Democratic Sen. Ron Calderon of accepting about $100,000 in bribes. Federal prosecutors have said de Leon is not a target.

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