Toni Atkins Takes The Gavel As Leader Of The California Senate Cody Drabble Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | Sacramento, CA Listen / download audio Update RequiredTo play audio, update browser or Flash plugin. Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins.Rich Pedroncelli / AP San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins takes over as Senate President pro Tempore this week. Atkins will be the first ever female leader of the California Senate — and its first openly gay leader. She also takes over at an interesting moment is the state's political history. While state leaders feud with President Donald Trump, the #MeToo movement continues to rock the state Capitol. Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler spoke with Senator Atkins before she steps into the job about her priorities and what it means to lead at this moment at the Capitol.