For the third time in less than two weeks, Democrats in the California state Senate have blocked Republican attempts to formally oust two Democratic senators who are involved in criminal cases.
The latest move came Monday after Senate Republican leader Bob Huff introduced two resolutions, one calling for the Senate to suspend Sen. Rod Wright and the other to suspend Sen. Ron Calderon. Republicans have previously asked for Wright to be dismissed but Monday was the first time they asked for a vote on Calderon's fate in the Senate. The resolutions, SR 34 and SR 35, call for temporarily removing the senators, with pay, until their legal cases are resolved.
Wright, of Baldwin Hills, has been found guilty of eight felonies including perjury for lying about whether he lives in the Inglewood-area district he represents. Calderon, of Montebello, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 24 counts related to corruption. Both men are on a voluntary paid leave of absence from the Senate.
"I believe we should have the opportunity to weigh in on something that is not breaking new ground... it's merely out there and codifying what's already been done," said Huff, of Diamond Bar.
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, called the resolutions a waste of time and ordered them sent to the Rules Committee, where they could permanently stall.
"Another day here on the floor of the Senate, another drill," Steinberg said. "Senators Wright and Calderon have already left the building."
The Senate voted 22-12, largely along party lines, to support Steinberg's maneuver to delay action on the resolutions. Sen. Ted Lieu, a Torrance Democrat running for Congress, and Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, a Stockton Democrat in a competitive district, joined Republicans in the vote.
Monday's votes followed an attempt on Thursday by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, to permanently expel Wright, which Steinberg quickly shot down, and a similar effort by Anderson and three fellow Republicans the week before.