Capitol Alert

California Senate scraps late-night ride service

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D) Los Angeles, left, and Jose Mendoza prepare to drive away in a Toyota Prius on the west steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D) Los Angeles, left, and Jose Mendoza prepare to drive away in a Toyota Prius on the west steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. rbenton@sacbee.com

The California State Senate has ended a late-night ride service for lawmakers that stirred indignation and questions about the use of public resources.

Two part-time employees were hired to offer round-the-clock rides to senators, the Bee reported last week, an amenity that came after multiple lawmakers had been stopped for suspected drunk driving in recent years. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, announced in a Friday email he was halting the program.

“The Senate after-hours emergency services program was reinstated at the recommendation of security experts for the safety and protection of our Senators and hundreds of staffers, but, given the confusion caused by recent media reports, I have asked the Chief Sergeant to discontinue the infrequent practice of providing late-night/early morning transportation for Senators, effective immediately,” de León said in an emailed statement.

De León also said he had directed staff to begin working on releasing documents shedding light on the calendars of two suspended state senators, Leland Yee of San Francisco and Ron Calderon of Montebello, who are facing federal charges. The Bay Area News Group and Los Angeles News Group sued to gain access to the calendars after the Senate rejected their Legislative Open Records Act requests.

“I have instructed Legislative Counsel to immediately collaborate with the Bay Area News Group’s attorneys to determine precisely what documentation needs to be released and to make it available as soon as possible,” de León said.

Jeremy B. White: (916) 326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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