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Debate over Calif. budget gets heated, physical

June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The debate over the California budget turned confrontational between two lawmakers.

Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, was discussing a bill that would abolish most of the activities of local redevelopment agencies.

"Let's not go for the bait and switch. Let's not buy the insurance policy that Tony Soprano is selling us," said Wagner.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, did not like what he was hearing.

"I just rise because I take offense at the reference to the Sopranos. As a proud Italian American, I resent that. I ask the commenter to make an apology to the Italian Americans in California," said Portantino.

The argument between Wagner and Portantino escalated to a point where Assemblyman Warren Furutani, a Lakewood Democrat, had to step in.

In a picture taken by a photographer from the Sacramento Bee, Furutani appeared to give Wagner a shove.

Lawmakers had to break up the brawl.

Lawmakers passed the budget plan Wednesday, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday. Brown said he had a number of concerns about the proposal and though it reflects some positive work, it does not go far enough.

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