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Democrat Marty Block, who bested his GOP rival George Plescia in this fall's battle for the 39th district state senate seat, was named today by senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to chair the education subcommittee of the Budget and Fiscal Review committee, the Sacramento Bee reports.

With their historic supermajority, Democrats will be in charge of the legislative agenda as never before, and Block, a longtime favorite of teachers' and other public employee unions, will now be especially well-placed to exercise that power.

According to the non-profit website MapLight.org, Block, former chairman of the Assembly's committee on higher education, raised a total of $4,694,412 from May 20, 2008 through May 19 of this year.

The top group of Block special interest funders is made up of general trade unions, with $329,300. Next are public sector unions, with $278,986. Lawyers and lobbyists have kicked in $129,435, according to MapLight's tally, and tribal governments came up with $59,700.

The top single contributor was the Service Employees International Union, with $19,500; second was the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, with $15,550.

Intra-party and candidate fund transfers and independent expenditures, which grew sizably for both parties this year, are not included.

According a MapLight tally of contributions from January 1, 2007 through March 17, 2010, Block received 94.6% of his money from outside his Assembly district, ranking him 2 out of 119 members of the Assembly and Senate for extra-district funding.

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