For the second consecutive year, state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Venice) has been named by a national government-policy publication as one of the nation’s top “legislators to watch.”

Governing Magazine selected Lieu and 11 other state lawmakers for the recognition, among thousands nationwide.

“At a time when politicians are about as popular as a sewage treatment plant being built next to your house, it may seem like poor taste to assemble a list of state legislators who are rising stars,” the editors of Governing Magazine wrote in their January 2012 issue. “But there are big decisions ahead of state legislatures this year, so it’s good to know there are talented people making them.”

Lieu is the only Californian on the list. Last year the magazine also named Lieu one of 12 national lawmakers worth watching, citing his initiative, leadership and work ethic.

“We wanted to feature politicians with a long future, particularly with the possibility of winning higher office at the state or federal level,” the editors said last year. “We looked for leadership qualities, demonstrated either through formal leadership posts or service in junior positions where a legislator showed unusual initiative.

“We gave special weight to those who have a compelling personal story to tell.”

Last February Lieu, 42, won 57 percent of the vote among a crowded field of eight candidates in a special election. He is a former state assemblyman and Torrance City Council member who represents nearly one million residents in west Los Angeles County, from Venice and Santa Monica in the north to South Bay cities.