Republican Tim Donnelly, a fiercely conservative lawmaker from the mountains of San Bernardino County, tests colleagues’ patience with scorched-earth rhetoric on his favorite subjects.

By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
September 2, 2012, 3:26 a.m.

SACRAMENTO — Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was thundering on the chamber floor against a proposal to make drivers stay 3 feet from cyclists, a regulation he said would chip away at Californians’ liberty. As his voice rose, a Democratic colleague stepped in.

“I’m tired of you hollering on the floor!” shouted Assemblyman Warren Furutani of Gardena, who urged Donnelly to “use his inside voice.” The interruption was met with scattered applause.

That was Monday, the first day of a marathon week in the Capitol. There would be more hollering to come from the fiercely conservative lawmaker from the mountains of San Bernardino County.

With little chance of affecting policy in a Legislature run by Democrats, Donnelly has made his Assembly desk a soapbox, testing fellow lawmakers’ patience with scorched-earth rhetoric on his favorite subjects.

Legislators want to “kneel and worship the environment,” he says. A Sacramento newspaper is “one of the most Communist papers on the face of the earth.” Cap-and-trade programs intended to reduce pollution will allow liberal financier George Soros to “play poker with our jobs” by gaming the market.

One day, another Republican assemblyman swiped Donnelly’s microphone as a joke (he gave it back).

Donnelly is often the first to speak in opposition to legislation, and he leaped at the chance to fight a bid to ban unloaded long guns in public, calling it “blatantly unconstitutional.” He had been apprehended at Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport in January for trying to take a loaded handgun through security.

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