Fighting words at the Capitol

Aug. 27, 2012

Katy Grimes: The tension in the Assemmbly is so thick today, you could cut the air with a flimsy, plastic butter knife.

Session opened up with Assemblyman Charles Calderon, the Democratic Majority Floor Leader, telling Assembly members that there are 500 bills to get through by Friday at midnight, the end of session until after the November election, and indicted that this was not the week to dally.

When a bill about mobile homes was being debated, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, noted that the bill analysis identified that an identical bill had been passed in 2007, and another nearly identical bill was just passed this week. Donnelly asked that if time was so precious, why was the Assembly wasting time passing redundant legislation.

As Donnelly asked his question, another Assembly member said that his question was out of order. Another suggested that he limit his “turbulent” comments.

Shortly thereafter, Republican Assemblyman Don Wagner stood up and asked if he could get a definition of “turbulent,” as it was defined for minority party member use.


Out of nowhere, Assembly Speaker John Perez appeared at the front of the Assembly chambers, and slammed the gavel on the desk. BAM!

“You may NOT,” Perez yelled. “”We are here to debate the legislation… not allow games to be played on the floor.”

Donnelly asked for a parlimentary point of order.

“Mr. Donnelly, you may be seated,” Perez said, dismissing him.

Wagner asked if the Assembly Chief Clerk could define “turbulance.”  Perez told Wagner that he may not question the Chief Clerk, and instead to direct his questions only to the Speaker.

What’s going on?

The fur is flying with so much on the line for Democrats. Temppers are flaring. Perez has a huge tax increase bill on tthe line, and Gov. Jerry Brown has a tax increase measure on the November ballot.  They own the Legislature and Governor’s office lock, stock and smoking barrel.

It is not unusual for Perez to get prickly on the Assembly floor, especially when Donnelly challenges his party’s  bills… which is just about every bill presented.

It’s going to be a long week.

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