06/16/2011 04:00 pm ET Updated Aug 16, 2011

'Sopranos' Comparison Causes Fight To Break Out On Assembly Floor

Life imitated art on the Assembly floor Wednesday when Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) compared line items in the Democrats' budget plan to something in HBO's mafia show "Sopranos."

It all began when Wagner expressed his opposition to community redevelopment agencies -- which he called "fantasy budgets... and unicorns." At that point, he compared the Democrats' budget plan to a "Tony Soprano" intimidation technique. "Let's not buy the insurance policy that Tony Soprano is selling us," Wagner asserted.

Quickly after Wagner stepped away from the microphone, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) rose to demand an apology: "As a proud Italian American, I resent that and I would respectfully ask the commenter to make an apology to Italian Americans in California."

To this Wagner retorted, "I will apologize to any Italian-Americans who are not in the Mafia and engaged in insurance scams." After this, a rumble of commotion broke out in the chamber as Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) approached and confronted Wagner. They had to be separated by surrounding representatives.

h/t LA Times.