Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is a devout Jew, so it’s not often you hear him cite the New Testament. But there he was on the Senate floor Thursday, quoting Jesus to the Pharisees: “Let he who is without sin among you first cast a stone.”
The context: An effort by Senate Republicans to force a vote to expel Democrat Rod Wright, whom a jury convicted a month ago of perjury and voter fraud.
“In my calculation, over a quarter of members in the minority party on this floor today have had their own residency status questioned at the time that they filed for office,” Steinberg said.
And as he led the charge to sidetrack the GOP expulsion motion, Steinberg promised to investigate Republicans alleged to live outside their districts too.
“That’s an interesting bait and switch,” responded Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff. He points out none of his caucus members have been convicted of any felonies – or even charged, like Democratic Senator Ron Calderon, who's the center of an undercover FBI investigation. “Those are the issues we’re dealing with,” Huff said after Democrats blocked the Wright expulsion motion Thursday. “The rest is just smoke and mirrors.”
Yet Huff has said he has sympathy for Wright, who’s taking a leave of absence as he pushes a judge to overturn his conviction on the grounds that the district residency law is too vague. And on Thursday, Huff suggested he would have opposed the expulsion motion had Democrats allowed a vote.
“There is a strong case to be made that there has been precedence, that a jury’s findings have been overturned, andwe should give him the benefit of the doubt,” Huff said.Huff and Steinberg agree the law can be unevenly applied: one district attorney might charge; another might not. And both want to look at rewriting the law once the Wright case has run its course.
California lawmakers are turning their attention to fixing the state’s crumbling roads. Assembly Republicans threw their plan into the mix Monday.
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.