Toni Atkins

California Senate picks female leader amid misconduct probes

San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins was tapped Thursday by fellow state Senate Democrats to replace Kevin de Leon and become the chamber's first female leader amid scrutiny over the Legislature's handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

De Leon, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, announced Atkins as his successor but did not say when it will happen next year. Atkins will need to be elected by senators but that's perfunctory since Democrats have 27 of 40 seats.

Term-limited legislative leaders often transfer power to their successor during their last year in office.

"For nearly four years, it's been a profound honor to lead a unified, progressive...