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Bill Handel

State senators, staff receive ethics training

Posted April 23rd, 2014 @ 7:01am

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State senators were scheduled to receive a refresher course in ethics on Wednesday, the fallout from a series of legal cases involving Democratic lawmakers this year.

Two were charged with corruption and bribery, while a third was convicted for perjury and voter fraud.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg canceled committee hearings and ordered lawmakers and their top aides to devote the day to ethics training at a state library building and inside the Capitol. The purpose of the closed-door sessions was to reflect on the Legislature's current practices and prevent lawmakers and staff from putting themselves in compromising situations, he said.

"It is always important to look inside and to be reflective and to ask, 'Well, what practices are there that we ought to be looking at? What should we change?'" said Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat.

Earlier this month, the Senate suspended Sens. Ronald Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco after they were indicted on federal criminal charges. Calderon is accused of accepting $100,000 in bribes for friends and family in exchange for influencing legislation, and Yee was charged with accepting bribes and orchestrating weapons trafficking to help pay off campaign debts.

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