Recent scandals in the California Senate continue to cause ripples throughout the Capitol. Now an effort is underway to broaden the options for dealing with misbehaving lawmakers.
Democratic Senators Leland Yee, Rod Wright and Ron Calderon are all currently suspended from the legislature because of legal problems, but each continues to receive a paycheck. That’s because the state Constitution currently doesn’t allow the Senate or Assembly to suspend a member without pay.
Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is proposing a new Constitutional Amendment that would give lawmakers that option. He noted the more severe punishment of expulsion remains available.
“None of this changes the discretion of a legislature to expel a member with two-thirds of the membership approving," he says.
Steinberg’s proposal would not apply retroactively. If approved by two-thirds of the Senate and Assembly the amendment could go to voters this November.