Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Convicted Sen. Rod Wright takes leave from Legislature (updated)

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UPDATE: The State Senate on Thursday took up a resolution from Republicans to expel Rod Wright from the Senate. The Democrat from Inglewood was recently convicted on perjury charges for lying about whether he lived in the district he represents.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg instead introduced a substitute motion for the resolution to be referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Steinberg quoted the bible, telling his colleagues, "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." Indeed, Steinberg said the Rules Committee would also investigate whether other senators live in their district.

Steinberg's resolution passed on a 21-13 vote — the bare minimum needed. Senator Ron Calderon, facing a Monday deadline from Steinberg to either resign or take a leave of absence because of his legal woes, was absent for the vote. 

Original story: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced Tuesday that Democratic State Senator Rod Wright would suspend his role representing Inglewood and other communities south to San Pedro.

A jury found Wright guilty of eight counts of voter fraud and perjury in January. Wright was accused of not living in the district he represents, which is required under state law. He was also accused of voting under an address that is not his home.

While legislators who are convicted of felonies are not allowed to remain in the senate, Wright's conviction is not considered final until it is affirmed by a judge at sentencing, said Steinberg's spokesman, Mark Hedlund.

In the meantime, Wright's legal team is working on motions to set aside the verdict. The sentencing is set in mid-May.

Steinberg's statement said he had met with Wright, who requested an indefinite leave pending the conclusion of the legal process.

The State Senate is also wrestling with the fate of another member. On Monday, Steinberg gave Sen. Ron Calderon one week to resign or take a leave of absence. If he doesn't, Steinberg said the senate would move to suspend him. Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello, is free on bond after being arraigned Monday on a variety of public corruption charges. 



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