FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2014
CONTACT: Nicole Hopkins (Anderson) @ 619-289-8909, Jann Taber (Vidak) @ 916-651-4016
Senate Leadership Denies Motion for Expulsion of Sen. Wright
Senators Anderson and Vidak pushing for a Senate Floor vote to restore integrity of the Legislature
State Capitol – In absence of action by Senate leadership to address the case of Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) today introduced a motion on the Senate Floor to call for a vote to expel Sen. Wright. Wright was found guilty by a jury of eight felonies on January 28th, 2014 and has been allowed to take a voluntary, paid leave of absence while he awaits sentencing.
Sen. Anderson began by saying, “I’d like to make a motion under California Constitution Article Four, Section Five-and Senate Rule 12.3-that the member from the 35th District be expelled from the California State Senate.” Any senator may make a motion to bring up a bill or issue without reference to file, as was the case with Anderson’s motion.
The Senate President pro Tempore stated in his response that the motion was out of order, since his substitute motion to refer Senate Resolution 29 to the Senate Rules Committee passed last Thursday. SR29, introduced by Senators Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley), Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), requested the expulsion of Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood). The Pro Tem’s parliamentary maneuvering denied a Floor vote on the matter last week and again today.
When responding to the denial of his request for a Floor vote, Anderson stated, “I’ve given every opportunity for this Floor to do what’s correct.” He continued by quoting Abraham Lincoln: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men’s character, give him power.”
Sen. Anderson closed his Floor speech by saying, “All I’m asking for is a vote. I’m not telling you how to vote. I’m not insisting on you voting a certain way.” He continued, “What I continue not to understand is why the minority view does not have a right to be heard on this floor. Senators are not above the law. And every day we allow this to be kicked down the road-using parliamentary procedures to hide-we’re sending a clear signal to all Californians that we believe we’re above the law.”
Sen. Vidak offered the following statement in response to today’s activities on the Floor: “I don’t understand why Senate leadership is blocking a vote on expelling Sen. Wright. My constituents, and all Californians, deserve to know where every senator stands on the issue of allowing convicted felons to serve in the Legislature.”
The Pro Tem reiterated that SR29 “will stay in Rules unless and until we decide to agendize it.” This statement echoes concerns in the press that the substitute motion to send the resolution to Rules will result in it stalling out in committee. It is at the sole discretion of Senate leadership whether to hear SR29 or to effectively kill it through inaction.
When speaking with press following the adjournment of the session, Sen. Anderson recognized the vital role of the media in keeping issues alive even when the acting powers attempt to brush them aside. “The minority voice deserves to be heard on the floor. It’s up to the media now to pick up this story and keep it alive.”
The next opportunity for the Senate Rules Committee to meet and discuss SR29 is next Wednesday, March 12th at 1.30pm.
Video of Sen. Anderson’s motion and Floor speech supporting the expulsion of Senator Wright:
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