Three Republican state senators called Tuesday on Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to hold a vote on expelling state Sen. Rod Wright and to make a "forthright effort to the senator requesting his resignation."
In a letter Tuesday to Steinberg, state senators Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, and Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, said the Senate cannot wait for Wright's appeal of his felony convictions on voter fraud and perjury charges.
"The fact remains that felony convictions have been handed down from a jury upon a member of the Senate," the senators wrote. "Whether an appeal is granted by a judge or not is irrelevant to the fact that a vote of this body should be granted by leadership and/or a forthright effort to the Senator requesting his resignation."
"The California State Senate is an esteemed body and should always conduct itself with respect to the public and reverence for the laws that we are entrusted with," the letter reads.
Wright office was not immediately available for comment on the senators' letter.
In a statement, Steinberg said it is prudent to let the process play out.
"As I have stated before, I believe that it is premature for this body to act before the verdict is accepted by the judge. An expulsion cannot be undone if the judge does not accept the verdict," Steinberg said.
Tuesday's letter comes a week after a Los Angeles County jury found Wright guilty of eight felonies. Prosecutors contend that Wright lied when, running for the state Senate in 2008, he listed an Inglewood address on candidacy papers. In reality, prosecutors allege, Wright lived at an address in Baldwin Hills, about 1-1/2 miles north of the then-25th Senate District.
Steinberg said last Wednesday that Wright would be allowed to continue to serve pending his sentencing in mid-March and any potential appeals.
Two of Steinberg's Democratic colleagues also faced a call Tuesday to seek Wright's ouster. In a letter, Dan Schnur, an independent candidate for secretary of state, told two Democratic candidates for the post — state Sens. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco — that "you have a responsibility to use your authority to lead an effort to expel Senator Wright from your body."
"If you do not support his expulsion, then please plainly explain to your constituents and all California voters why you believe it is acceptable to for a convicted felon to continue to cast votes (and raise money) as a State Senator," Schnur wrote.
Editor's note: This post was updated at 2:30 p.m. to include Steinberg's statement.
PHOTO: Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, sits in the state Senate on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua