FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2014
CONTACT: David Orosco (Knight) 916-651-4021, Nicole Hopkins (Anderson) 619-289-8909, Jann Taber (Vidak) 916-651-4016
Supermajority Buries Resolution to Expel Wright
Senate Leaders in 1990s Chose to Remove Convicted Felons from the Senate, not give them a Paid Vacation
Sacramento – In a stunning rebuke of the bipartisan leadership of the State Senate in the 1990s, current Senate leaders today used parliamentary procedures to prevent the Senate from expelling Senator Rod Wright, who was found guilty of eight felonies in January.
Yesterday, Senators Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley), Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) introduced Senate Resolution 29, calling for the expulsion of Senator Rod Wright for his being found guilty of eight felonies in a unanimous verdict by a jury of his peers.
The three Senators tried to bring their SR 29 up for an immediate Floor vote today. However, under pressure from the Senate President pro Tempore, the Senate instead voted to send SR 29 to the Senate Rules Committee with no date set for a hearing of SR 29.
During the 1990s, Senate leaders from both political parties forced Democrat Senator Joe Montoya and Republican Senator Frank Hill to resign from the Senate within days after they were found guilty of multiple felonies by a jury, because they faced expulsion from the Senate. Today, the Senate Leadership intervened on behalf of a felon and acted to keep him in office.
“It is disingenuous for the Senate leader to make a universal decision for the House to keep a member on payroll who has been found guilty of eight felonies,” said Knight. “The Senate should be afforded the opportunity to expel a member who has violated legal and ethical boundaries. Anything else does a disservice to California voters.”
Anderson expressed his disappointment that the resolution was denied a vote.
“This is a sad day for all Californians because the minority’s voice is being silenced on the Senate Floor,” said Anderson.
“Folks in the Central Valley keep asking me how the Senate can place itself above the law,” said Vidak. “If being convicted by a jury of eight felonies doesn’t disqualify someone from serving in public office, what does? It’s unfortunate that the clear precedent by Senate leaders in the 1990s is so easily being cast aside today so that a supermajority can be maintained.”
Video of the Senators’ Floor speeches supporting the expulsion of Senator Wright:
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