Yee’s district offices to remain open despite Senate suspension 

Constituents of disgraced state Sen. Leland Yee will continue to be represented by his district staff, despite Yee’s suspension from the Senate following his arrest last week on gun-trafficking and corruption charges.

Members of the Senate Rules Committee met Tuesday morning to discuss how Yee’s staff can carry on services for residents of District 8, which covers parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County, said Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

“This is an important office for constituents to get help in solving whatever challenges they have, and that doesn’t change,” Williams said.

District 8 is set to shift to central California in November, however, as part of a redistricting effort that established new even-numbered districts beginning with the 2014 election cycle.

Constituents in the current District 8 will then solely be covered by state Sens. Mark Leno and Jerry Hill, who represent odd-numbered districts that took effect in the 2012 election cycle. Their territory currently overlaps with parts of Yee’s district.

In the meantime, constituents in Yee’s district may continue to use the services they’ve been provided since before the senator’s suspension. District staff, who are employees of the Senate and will be called on in the interim, often serve as a liaison between the public and state agencies.

Leno, whose District 11 covers all of San Francisco and the northwest tip of San Mateo County, on Tuesday emphasized that constituents in Yee’s district will not go without Senate representation.

“No one in San Francisco should be concerned of any lack of representation in the state Senate,” he said.

Senate District 13, represented by Hill, will continue to cover the remainder of San Mateo County that overlaps with Yee’s district and northern Santa Clara County.

Yee, a veteran Democratic politician, was set to term out of the Senate in November and had been running for secretary of state before dropping out of that race in the wake of the FBI investigation.

FBI agents on Tuesday searched a legislative office in Sacramento belonging to Yee.

click to enlarge Leland Yee
  • AP Photo/Ben Margot
  • California Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, right, leaves the San Francisco Federal Building, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in San Francisco. The FBI has filed a 137-page affidavit outlining a detailed corruption case against Yee, who is accused of asking for campaign donations in exchange for introducing an undercover agent to an arms trafficker.

Yee’s March 26 arrest was one of 26 made by the FBI that week as part of a yearslong undercover probe into criminal activity in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Senate officials had discovered that the office was assigned to Yee and informed the FBI, which obtained a warrant allowing the search. Agents previously searched Yee’s main office in the Capitol last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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