Southern California Republican State Sen. Joel Anderson repeatedly told a female lobbyist at a restaurant last week in Sacramento that he wanted to “bitch slap” her. Anderson apologized for his conduct for which management ask him to leave the restaurant.
On Tuesday morning, while the maelstrom and the potential investigation into Anderson’s conduct is in full motion, East Bay State Sen. Nancy Skinner stood with Anderson at a press conference Tuesday morning to support a bill they co-authored that would reform the state’s felony murder rule.
Skinner’s office did not respond to an email asking for comment on why the East Bay progressive would appear with the senator in light of his recent transgression. The event was featured in a press release sent later in the day.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Anderson told the lobbyist who works for the California Nurses Association, “You better shut up before I bitch slap you.” Anderson also made derogatory comments about her appearance, witnesses told the newspaper.
Anderson later apologized after the incident came to light in the media and welcomed an investigation by the State Senate Rules Committee.
The encounter comes yet again at a time when the behavior of state legislators, mostly men toward women staffers and others employed at all levels in the capitol, is under intense scrutiny.
The bill Skinner and Anderson sought to promote on Tuesday seeks to reform the state’s “felony murder” rule. Under the proposed legislation, an individual who was the participant of a crime that involved murder, but did not kill the person, cannot be found liable of murder if they did not aid or intend to kill. The bill is also retroactive and allows for a court to determine whether those sentenced to murders they did not directly commit, can be released from jail.