Transcript: CA Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s remarks on Senator Leland Yee’s indictment

Partial transcript of remarks by California Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on State Senator Leland Yee’s indictment. The press briefing was held on March 26, 2014: 

Good afternoon, everybody. This is an extraordinary situation. And I felt it important and my colleagues felt it important that a number of us sit together because we are one and we are a team.

And we express our anger and our revulsion at today’s events.

We recognize that under the law anybody accused of a crime is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. And yet, this indictment is sickening.

As such, consistent with the actions we have taken in other situations, I want to on behalf of my colleagues today call on Sen. Yee to resign. Leave. Don’t burden your colleagues and this great institution with your troubles. Leave.

Absent that, we are prepared to go to the floor immediately and suspend him, and we will do so if necessary.

We will also immediately remove him of course from his committee chairmanship and all of his committee assignments.

Again, we recognize that someone is not considered guilty, is innocent ’til proven guilty but these allegations are serious and involve gun-running and things that frankly are surreal.

The indictment itself is shocking and surreal.

I am angry. I am angry on behalf of the people. And I’m angry on behalf of the 37 other members whose hard work everyday on behalf of the people is being tarnished because of events outside of their control and outside of our control.

None of us here in the Senate elect the specific members who come here. These events are outside of our control.

In the early reading of the indictments, it suggests that most of this took place unrelated to the legislature.

I know what people are thinking. This is the third incident that the Senate itself has to – has had to deal with over the last six months.

And I recognize that people are going to come to their own conclusions.

But I want to say this: We have two choices here. We can either lay our heads down or we can hold our heads high.

And all of us here – the hardworking men and women who are sitting here today intend to hold our heads high because we are going to do everything in our power to uphold the integrity of the Senate and to do the people’s business, and yes, to still have a great and productive year.

The irony of these events over the last six months is as follows: The last three years in this legislature have been among the most productive and successful years in the modern legislative era.

You look at the record in what we’ve gotten done, having helped steer this state from the abyss of unemployment and budget deficits to a multi-billion budget surplus and all of the achievements along the way. And I know that’s not what will be written about today and I understand that. That’s the irony of today.

So we’re not going to take any of it lying down. We’re going to hold our heads high. We’re going to demand that Leland Yee – yes innocent until proven guilty – leaves the Senate and leaves it now.

And then we’re going to go on with our work.

I love this institution. This is my eighth and final year. I’m proud of the people I serve with, and I’m proud of the work that we do.

And I want you to hear from them because there’s pain here today. There’s pain here today because good people and a great institution are being harmed and it’s not right.

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