Proposition 50: Suspension of Legislators
The state Legislature consists of two houses: the Senate and the Assembly. The state Constitution provides that each house of the Legislature may expel one of its members who is accused of wrongdoing by a 2/3 vote of that house’s membership. The Constitution does not provide for suspension; however, each house of the Legislature may, by majority vote, suspend one of its members. In 2014, three Senators were accused of felonies, and the Senate voted to suspend them. Under this suspension, they were not allowed to vote on bills or take other legislative actions, but continued to receive their salaries and benefits while suspended, because there was no mechanism to prevent this.
The Constitution would be amended to authorize the suspension of a member of a house of the Legislature, with or without salary and benefits, by a 2/3 vote of the members of that house. The reasons for the suspension and rules for when the suspension would end would have to be set forth. The rules would require that either the suspension end on a specific date, or that a vote be taken in the future to end it.
Because suspension of legislators is so rare, in most years Prop. 50 would have no effect on state or local finances. In the event of any future suspension, there could be minor savings to the state.