California Senate officials earlier this year hired two part-time employees to provide late-night and early-morning rides for members while they are in Sacramento, a 24-hour service that follows high-profile drunken driving arrests involving lawmakers in recent years.
The office of Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León declined to discuss the details or rationale of the program.
“We’re not going to provide comment, because it’s a security issue,” spokesman Anthony Reyes said.
Senate records show two “special services assistants” were hired Feb. 2. They work in the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Office, where their duties include providing “ground transportation for Senate members.” The employees, a retired Assembly sergeant-at-arms and a retiree from the Department of General Services, are paid $2,532 per month.
One man who turned down the job told The Sacramento Bee that Senate officials approached him earlier this year about working from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. to drive senators home upon request.
He said he was told the shifts would come only when lawmakers were in Sacramento – generally Monday through Wednesday nights when the Legislature is in session, between January and early or mid-September. The purpose, he was told, would be to give rides “just if they were drinking too much. Just pick them up and take them home.” One legislative chief of staff confirmed that the service is intended to prevent drunken driving by legislators. Read more >>>