The Latest: California senator quits before discipline vote

February 22, 2018

Democratic state Senators Ben Allen, of Santa Monica, left, and Robert Hertzberg, of Van Nuys, leave the Senate to attend a Democratic caucus meeting Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. The Senate is expected to take up a resolution, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, to expel state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, over accusations of sexual misconduct. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on sexual misconduct in the California Legislature (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

A California state senator has resigned over sexual misconduct allegations just ahead of a possible vote by his colleagues to expel him.

Spokesman Robert Alaniz says Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza stepped down Thursday. He’s the third California lawmaker to resign over sexual misconduct claims in recent months.

In his resignation letter, Mendoza called the Senate’s process “farcical” and unfair and is still considering running for re-election in the fall.

An investigation found the Los Angeles-area Democrat likely engaged in unwanted flirtatious and sexually suggestive behavior with six women.

He denies wrongdoing but has apologized if he made anyone feel uncomfortable.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Mendoza’s former roommate in Sacramento, had been pushing to impose the most serious punishment in the Senate’s arsenal for the first time since 1905.


8:30 a.m.

California’s Senate leader has introduced a resolution to expel a senator accused of sexual misconduct as lawmakers prepare to debate punishment.

Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza would become the first lawmaker expelled since 1905 if lawmakers decide to remove him on Thursday.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon introduced the expulsion resolution late Wednesday after lawmakers met for hours behind closed door to discuss potential punishment for Mendoza.

De Leon used to rent a room in Mendoza’s Sacramento house but moved out after allegations against Mendoza came to light. Both are Democrats from Los Angeles County.

Lawyers investigating complaints against Mendoza found that he likely engaged in unwanted flirtatious or sexually suggestive behavior with six women. Mendoza denies wrongdoing but has apologized to anyone offended by his behavior.


12 a.m.

The California Senate is preparing to debate punishment for a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct.

Sen. Tony Mendoza could become the first lawmaker to be expelled in more than a century.

Thursday’s session comes a day after Republicans and Democrats met separately in secret caucus meetings to decide the appropriate discipline for the Los Angeles-area Democrat, who plans to defend himself on the Senate floor.

Lawyers investigating complaints against the 46-year-old lawmaker found that he likely engaged in unwanted flirtatious or sexually suggestive behavior with six women. The investigation found Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as giving alcohol to a 19-year-old intern in a hotel suite at a Democratic Party event.

Mendoza has denied wrongdoing but says he’s sorry if anyone was offended by his behavior.

Update hourly