California Assembly approves measure to block suspended lawmakers’ pay

Ron Calderon
State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), shown in June 2013, has been suspended from the Senate after being accused of corruption.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The Assembly on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would allow pay and benefits to be withheld from suspended legislators, but the measure will not be appearing on the November ballot.

The measure by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) would ensure that “each house of the Legislature has the power to suspend its members without pay if the circumstances warrant such action,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

The constitutional amendment, SCA 17, would need to be approved by the voters to become law. Steinberg had sought to put the measure on the ballot this November, but his office said earlier this week that the deadline to do so had passed. It will appear on the June 2016 ballot.

The ballot measure comes in the wake of the recent suspensions of state Sens. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) and Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood).


Yee and Calderon are currently facing corruption charges in separate cases. Wright was convicted of perjury and voter fraud in January.

The Senate voted to suspend the three lawmakers in March, but their pay and salary benefits continued. Steinberg said the state Constitution did not allow for suspensions without pay.

The Assembly approved the measure on a 64-1 vote, with Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) opposing. 

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.


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