SACRAMENTO (AP) — Democrats in the Senate have sidetracked an attempt by Republican lawmakers to expel a senator convicted of perjury and voter fraud.

The attempt Thursday comes days after Sen. Roderick Wright, a Los Angeles-area Democrat, took an indefinite leave of absence as he awaits sentencing in May.

Republicans Joel Anderson, Steve Knight and Andy Vidak said Wright’s conviction merits expulsion, not a leave that will allow him to continue receiving his $95,291 annual salary.

Democrats say Wright can keep his seat until a judge enters the verdict at his sentencing. They used a parliamentary maneuver to send the Republicans’ Senate Resolution 29 to a committee.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg dismissed Republicans’ move as “political theater.” Anderson, of Alpine, says Democrats are trying to protect their two-thirds majority.

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