Prop 50: Early Returns Show Voter Support for Anti-Corruption Measure

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The California State Capitol building is seen in a file photo. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

A measure that would authorize the state Senate and Assembly to suspend members without pay is receiving widespread support by voters, early returns in Tuesday’s California Primary indicated.

Proposition 50, the lone initiative on the June 7 primary ballot, was winning by more than 77 percent by 10 p.m., according to Los Angeles Times voting results.

The measure is a constitutional amendment that gives that state legislature the authority to stop pay for members suspended by a two-third vote, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

State lawmakers currently have the ability to suspend senators and assembly members, but not their salaries, pensions or other benefits.

Under Prop 50, suspended representatives would also be prohibited from using the powers of his or her office, as well as their legislative resources, according to the measure.

The amendment was developed after the suspension of three state senators in 2014: Sen. Ron Calderon, D-30, and Sen. Leland Yee, D-8, on serious corruption charges; and Sen. Roderick Wright, D-35, who was convicted on charges he lied about his residential address, the Times reported.

A member had never been suspended in the Legislature’s 164-year history, according to the Times.

State senators at the time had debated whether to suspend the trio, or expel them from the California Senate, the newspaper reported. In the end, they decided on the suspension, even though that meant the three could continue to collect their paychecks and receive benefits.

Members are paid salaries by the state of about $100,000 each year. Their benefits include health, dental and eye insurance.

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