Facing pressure to act after three Democratic Senators were charged or convicted of crimes, Senate President Darrell Steinberg moved to suspend Senators Leland Yee, Ron Calderon and Rod Wright. Yee is facing federal charges of wire fraud and gun trafficking. Calderon is facing federal charges of public corruption. Wright has been convicted on state charges of not living within his district.
Steinberg says he wanted Yee and Calderon to leave willingly.
“I wish that Senators Yee and Calderon would resign and spare this proud and productive institution and its members the stigma of associating with their alleged actions," he says.
Since neither man indicated he would resign Steinberg moved to suspend them. He also said he will require each Senate office to undergo an ethics review.
But Republican Senator Joel Anderson, who has called for the expulsion of the Senators, says Steinberg’s response is disingenuous.
“Are we going to go ahead and introduce reforms that would reduce our gifts from $400 to $200? Because, after all, that’s going to address the issue," he says. "Look, if you can be bought for $400, you can be bought for $200.”
All three Senators will continue to be paid during their suspensions. Steinberg has introduced a Constitutional Amendment that would allow members of the legislature to be suspended without pay.