Last week, California state lawmakers passed a budget plan on time but it was not without a little push and shove. A small fight between Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) and Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) broke out on the Assembly floor, Wednesday afternoon.
It all started when Assemblyman Wagner compared the bill to the HBO hit “The Sopranos.” He said, “Let’s not buy the insurance policy that Tony Soprano is selling us.”
Then, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, stood up, saying he was offended by Wagner’s comments. “As a proud Italian-American, I resent that and would respectfully ask the commenter to make an apology to Italian-Americans in California.”
Wagner took the bait, saying, “I will apologize to any Italian-Americans that are not in the Mafia and engaged in insurance scams.”
That comment brought murmuring from the Assembly floor, prompting Wagner to go even further. “My apology is sincere,” said Assemblyman Wagner. “My reference is not lost on anyone here. This is not an attack on anyone. This bill is a bait-and-switch.”
The speaker tried to move the conversation on, but then Assemblyman Warren Furutani confronted Assemblyman Wagner. The two had to be broken up by colleagues.
Eventually, the redevelopment bills were passed and handed over to Governor Jerry Brown.