A quick response to bad publicity for scandal-scarred Senate

Give Sen. de Leon credit for recognizing the outcry over a Senate 'security service' and pulling the plug

Sometimes it can feel as if elected officials aren't listening. But sometimes, they are listening pretty closely.

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) evidently falls into the latter category. On Friday afternoon, he pulled the plug on an overnight security detail after a flurry of negative publicity and editorials from the state's news outlets, most recently The Times.

"The Senate after-hours emergency services program was reinstated at the recommendation of security experts for the safety and protection of our Senators and hundreds of staffers, but, given the confusion caused by recent media reports, I have asked the Chief Sergeant to discontinue the infrequent practice of providing late-night/early morning transportation for Senators, effective immediately," De León wrote in a statement.

The confusion he's referring to stems from an article in the Sacramento Bee a week ago in which unnamed sources were quoted saying that the graveyard shift security staffers were hired to drive home senators should they drink too much. De León's office disputed that idea, saying the late night security shift was there mostly to escort staffers working late to their cars.

In any case, it didn't play well on the public stage, given the still-recent scandals in the Senate. De León gets credit for recognizing that and responding quickly.

Follow me on Twitter @marielgarzaLAT

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