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Democrats derail GOP attempt to expel state Sen. Roderick Wright

California state Sen. Roderick Wright is seen in this undated file photo.

February 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Democrats in the California Senate have derailed a Republican effort to expel Sen. Roderick Wright, who has been convicted of perjury and voter fraud.

Wright, an Inglewood Democrat, is on a paid leave of absence and will be sentenced May 16 following his conviction on eight felony counts. The jury found Wright guilty of living outside his Inglewood district when he ran for -- and won -- his state seat in 2008 for the 25th Senate District.

Three Republicans -- Joel Anderson of Alpine, Steve Knight of Palmdale, and Andy Vidak of Hanford -- on Thursday introduced a resolution to have Wright kicked out of the Senate now. They don't think Wright should be on a leave that allows him to continue receiving his $95,291 annual salary.

But Democrats sent the resolution back to the Senate Rules Committee, where it could die without a hearing.

State Senate President Darrell Steinberg called the expulsion attempt "political theater." He said they should be focusing on the state's drought issues instead of "a resolution that would make zero practical difference."

"Senator Wright has already left the building," Steinberg added.

Anderson called the Democrats' move a "bullying motion." He said Democrats want Wright to stay in the end. He accused them of trying to protect their two-thirds majority.

This comes as Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) is being pressured to resign or take an indefinite leave after he was indicted on multiple corruption charges involving bribes, kickbacks and fraud. He has pleaded not guilty.

If Wright and Calderon leave the Legislature, Democrats would lose the supermajority that lets them act on any matter without Republican support.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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