Omer Rains California Senate


Having served three terms in the California Senate, Senator Omer L. Rains was first elected in July, 1974, in a special election. His Senatorial District, the 18th, covered the counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura where he represented approximately one million constituents.

During his last term (before announcing for the Office of Attorney General), Senator Rains served as Chairman of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee. In addition, he was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Administration of Justice, and Chairman of the Select Committee on Government Regulation. He was also a member of the following standing committees: Banking and Commerce, Constitutional Amendments, Elections and Reapportionment, and Joint Rules. The Senator also served as Gubernatorial appointee to the State Solar Cal Council, on the State Geothermal Resources Task Force, and on the Interagency Oil Task Force. In addition, he was the Senate’s representative on the State Judicial Council and on the California Law Revision Commission.

Senator Rains’ past legislative activities also included two terms as Chairman of the Senate Majority Caucus; Chairman of the Elections and Reapportionment Committee; Chairman of the Business and Professions Committee; Chairman of the Joint Committee on Legal Equality; and Chairman of the Select Committee on Political Reform.

Born in 1941, Rains received both his B.A. (in Political Science), his LL.B., and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of California at Berkeley. Deeply concerned with California’s educational system, Rains served for several years as an elected member of the U.C. Alumni Council, and has frequently lectured on politics, finance, law, criminal justice, planning and the environment at the university level.

Senator Rains served in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office in the mid-60’s, during which time he established and headed the Consumer Fraud Unit, supervised the administration of various D.A. offices, and served as one of California’s Major Felony Trial Deputies. He entered the private practice of law in 1969 and, shortly thereafter, was certified to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He is also the recipient of several academic and professional awards and is listed in various International, National. Regional and State editions of “Who’s Who.”

An active member of his community, the Senator formerly served as Vice President of his local Chamber of Commerce, on numerous elective and appointive boards and councils at the local level, and in 1971 was presented the “Distinguished Service Award” as his community’s “Outstanding Citizen.”

Senator Rains is the father of three children: two daughters, Kelly and Jessica, and a son, Mark. Backpacking, Mountaineering, skiing, and running “wild rivers” are the Senator’s main hobbies, although he enjoys and participates in most all sports. He has even been known to engage in “wing walking” on airplanes engaged in aerobatic stunt flying.

California State Resolution


WHEREAS, The Honorable Omer L. Rains, representative of the 18th Senatorial District, will be closing his tenure of service at the end of this session. and in recognition of the outstanding record of leadership which he has displayed in office, is deserving of special honor and highest commendations; and

WHEREAS, First elected to the California Senate at the age of 32, Omer Rains is now completing his third term as Senator representing the Counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura; and

WHEREAS, During his three terms, Senator Rains has held the following leadership positions, among others: Chairman, Senate Majority Caucus; Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee; Chairman, Business and Professions Committee; Chairman, Elections and Reapportionment Committee; Chairman, Joint Committee on Legal Equality; Chairman, Joint Committee for Revision of the Penal Code; Chairman, Select Committee on Political Reform; Chairman, Select Committee on Government Regulation; Chairman, Subcommittee on the Administration of Justice; Chairman, Subcommittee on Board of Prison Terms; and Senate Representative to both the California Law Revision Commission and the State Judicial Council; and

WHEREAS, Senator Rains, at 35, became the youngest person ever to hold the position of Chairman of the Senate Majority Caucus, being unanimously elected to that position during successive legislative sessions (1977-1980); and

WHEREAS, In his capacity as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and of all other Committees which dealt with either the administration of criminal or civil justice, Senator Rains became the recognized leader with respect to matters pertaining to the Judiciary in the California Senate; and

WHEREAS, As the Legislature’s representative on the California Law Revision Commission, he carried a series of bills that struck from the books innumerable outdated laws, and as the Legislature’s representative on the State Judicial Council, he acted to aid aggrieved parties and consumers by authoring landmark legislation allowing for the payment of prejudgment interest on court judgments for the first time in California history; and

WHEREAS, His efforts in the area of criminal law produced in 1981-82 what has been referred to as “the most comprehensive anti-crime package in recent California history”, and he did so without sacrificing the vigilant protection of constitutional guarantees for which he has always actively stood and fought; and

WHEREAS, Senator Rains, in recognition of the devastating effects of child molestation and child abuse, authored an historic six-part package of bills putting the needs of child victims first while balancing the societal goal of protecting the family unit, and to further protect children, Senator Rains authored legislation to insure that all school children are immunized against measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus; and

WHEREAS, To provide part-time work for persons unable to work full-time, he authored legislation to establish California’s first “Part-
time Employment Act” and to help prevent a health care breakdown in California, he carried legislation during the 1975 Special Session designed to curtail skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates which had placed California’s health care services in serious jeopardy; and

WHEREAS, Senator Rains, as one of the leading environmentalists in the California Legislature, is the principal architect of container deposit legislation, commonly known as the “Bottle Bill”; and

WHEREAS, As Vice Chairman of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, and as a Gubernatorial appointee to the State Geothermal Resources Task Force and the Solar Cal Council, he authored pioneering legislation encouraging the development and use of alternative energy sources, such as solar, geothermal, co-generation, wind and developing ocean technologies; and

WHEREAS, He also created the “Oil Spill Liability Act,” authored legislation to purchase beach property for public use, secured passage of an historic measure to protect the California deserts by preventing the “piracy” of our State’s native plants, and enacted legislation to prevent strip-mining in the Los Padres National Forest; and

WHEREAS, He authored legislation which ended the inequitable program that called for mandatory installation of NOx devices on automobiles; and also oversaw establishment of an interconnecting network of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails between state parks, California missions, and state and federal historic sites which is unique throughout the United States; and

WHEREAS, Senator Rains has been equally sensitive to the needs of California’s business community, and as Chairman of the Select Committee on Government Regulation, has acted to identify regulatory abuses, and has authored laws streamlining the State’s cumbersome permit process, in addition to starting California down the road toward “zero-base” budgeting and establishing time tables for periodic review of state agencies (encompassing the “sunset” concept to eliminate programs whose existence can no longer be justified); and

WHEREAS, To further the creation of a healthy business climate, he also jointly authored the “Lockyer-Rains Economic Development Act of 1977” which consolidated the economic planning functions of several agencies into one Department of Economic and Business Development, and established an Office of State Tourism; and

WHEREAS, As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Elections and Reapportionment and of the Select Committee on Political Reform, Senator Rains vigorously fought for the principles of full disclosure and open government, and authored far-reaching legislation which prohibited the use of false endorsements in political campaigns and banned the fraudulent solicitation of campaign funds; and

WHEREAS, Steeped in the civil rights movement, Omer Rains served as Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Legal Equality, the only legislative committee in the United States established to address legal inequality between the sexes, and in that capacity he developed a comprehensive package of 68 bills which allowed the cause of women’s rights to successfully advance in California from one of discussion to one of action; and

WHEREAS, As a result of his efforts to amend and repeal various sections of the California Codes that discriminated on the basis of sex, California became the first state in the union to conform its law to the “Equal Rights Amendment,” and in recognition of this fact, in 1976 the President of the National Women’s Political Caucus stated that “Senator Omer Rains has done more to advance the cause of women’s rights and equality under the law than any legislator in California history, ” a fitting accolade for one who has always embraced the American ideal: “Equal Justice Under the Law”; and

WHEREAS, Senator Rains’ excellence as a legislator has been complemented by an ongoing rapport with both his colleagues and constituents, and he will be greatly missed by all those who have had the pleasure of associating with him; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, That the Members express their appreciation to their colleague and good friend, the Honorable Omer L. Rains, for his many invaluable contributions on behalf of the people of the state throughout his distinguished career in the California Legislature, and convey their best wishes for every success in his future endeavors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit a suitably prepared copy of this resolution to the Honorable Omer L. Rains.