Rod Wright’s decision comes with pressure mounting on Senate Democrats to hold Wright to the same standard as the other member of their caucus in legal trouble, Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello). He’s been indicted on 24 counts, including bribery and corruption. And Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg has given Calderon a week to resign or take a leave of absence – or else face a suspension vote on the Senate floor. But there’s been no call by Democrats for Wright to resign – even though he’s been found guilty by a jury, and Calderon hasn’t gone to trial yet.
Steinberg insists the two cases are different: The charges against Calderon, Steinberg argues, go to the very heart of voter confidence in a public official. But that hasn’t stopped questions about whether the different treatments of the two lawmakers are justified. If Calderon now takes a leave of absence too, Senate Democrats will lose their two-thirds supermajority.
ORIGINAL STORY (AP)
Sen. Roderick Wright, a Democrat who represents a Los Angeles-area district, requested the leave during a meeting Tuesday with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Steinberg, a fellow Democrat, said in a statement that he accepted the request.
The senate leader had recommended letting Wright remain in office until his sentencing. That has been delayed until May.
But Steinberg faced increasing pressure from Republicans after Senate Democrats demanded that a second Democratic senator, Ron Calderon, resign or take an indefinite leave after he was indicted last week on multiple federal corruption charges. Calderon pleaded not guilty Monday.
Wright's spokeswoman did not immediately return telephone and email messages.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the California budget with no fanfare Thursday.
California lawmakers will take final votes on the state budget Friday. The houses will also each vote on several trailer bills that dictate how the budget will be implemented.
Advocates for the developmentally disabled are furious after being left out of this year’s California budget deal. They held a tense rally at the Capitol Wednesday.
California tends to rank near the bottom in voter turnout. But some state officials say a bill announced Wednesday could help improve participation.
The California Senate has approved a measure that would repeal a rule limiting when families can receive additional state aid.