Proposition 50 would amend the state constitution to authorize the Assembly and Senate to suspend a member of either house of the Legislature in event of wrongdoing. The measure would prohibit the legislator from performing any of the duties of their office. Salary and benefits could also be withheld during the suspension.
Official Election Results:
Yes votes: 3,766,852 [75.3%]
No votes: 1,238,521 [24.7%]
Supporters of Proposition 50 say that the measure would allow the Legislature to hold Senators and Assembly members accountable if it is determined that they have done their job improperly. Supporters believe that taking away pay benefits will have a greater impact than any other punishment in restoring the public’s trust of government.
Those who oppose Proposition 50 believe the measure is misleading. They believe that citizens will be left without proper representation while their representatives are suspended. Furthermore, they believe that the measure will allow other Senators and Assembly members to seek political retribution and gain power over members who disagree with them.
There are a number of ways in which the state Senate and Assembly can currently discipline legislators accused of wrongdoing. The Senate or Assembly can expel a legislator if a majority of Assembly or Senate members vote to do so. Expulsion means the legislator is no longer a member of the Assembly or Senate and he/she would no longer receive a salary or benefits.
Currently, suspended legislators are able to keep their office and receive salary and benefits but are barred from participating in legislative actions.
Proposition 50 would amend the State Constitution by adding provisions addressing the requirements to suspend legislators and it increases the penalty that accompanies suspension.
The measure would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly or Senate to suspend a legislator. Currently, only a majority vote is required for suspension. Proposition 50 would allow the Assembly or Senate to halt a legislator’s pay and benefits during the suspension. Each house would have discretion on stopping pay and benefits for part or all of the suspension.