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No one needs to tell Kevin de León that his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a long shot.

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In this file photo, Amado Nanalang watches basketball games while making bets at a sports book in Las Vegas.
In this file photo, Amado Nanalang watches basketball games while making bets at a sports book in Las Vegas. (John Locher / AP)

A proponent of an initiative to allow sports betting in California received the state’s approval to begin collecting signatures to put the measure on the 2020 ballot, but some key players in the gambling industry distanced themselves from the idea Friday.

The state attorney general approved the title and summary for a possible ballot measure that would amend the state Constitution to allow wagering on basketball, baseball, football and other sports contests, officials said Friday.

The proposition is being driven by Russell Lowery, a political consultant who has not disclosed who else is behind the measure but has said in-state and out-of-state gaming firms have expressed interest. Lowery would have to collect the signatures of  585,407 registered voters by February 2019 to qualify the measure for the November 2020 ballot.

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Phal Sok, left, rides the Metro Blue Line train to visit with his brother in 2017. Sok is among those pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Phal Sok, left, rides the Metro Blue Line train to visit with his brother in 2017. Sok is among those pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he has issued pardons to 36 people, including three immigrants with criminal records who face possible deportation. 

Brown also issued 31 sentence commutations for current inmates. 

The governor has stepped up a focus on immigrants at risk of deportation in recent rounds of pardons since President Trump took office, while the federal government has increased arrests and detentions of immigrants who are in the country illegally. A pardon can be key for someone hoping to avoid deportation.

Joseph Joslin, left, and Evan Albertson canvass in Tustin on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund for Rep. Mimi Walters.
Joseph Joslin, left, and Evan Albertson canvass in Tustin on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund for Rep. Mimi Walters. (Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

A conservative super PAC trying to help the GOP hold onto its majority in the House burst onto Southern California’s pricey airwaves this week with more than $2.5 million worth of buys across four congressional districts.

The ads, released by the Congressional Leadership Fund, attack Democrats running against Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), as well as a candidate running in an Orange County seat being vacated by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

A source familiar with the buy says the ads will run on broadcast and cable television and that August spending in each district ranges between $550,000 and $750,000.

An effort to make some internal law enforcement investigations open to the public cleared a key hurdle in the Legislature on Thursday, marking the first time in four decades that lawmakers could vote to meaningfully increase transparency surrounding police misconduct.

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California could soon end money bail, but some of the criminal justice groups who worked toward that goal aren’t celebrating.

  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance)
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A measure that would have required California hotels to provide employees who work alone in guest rooms with panic buttons in case of emergency was shelved in a state Senate fiscal committee Thursday.

The effort, Assembly Bill 1761 from Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), was aimed at protecting hotel workers from sexual harassment and assault. Opponents, including the California Chamber of Commerce and associations representing hoteliers, argued that the measure was unworkable and could require costly new equipment and administrative rules. 

“With the #MeToo movement making significant strides this year, the holding of this bill in committee is a clear setback for hotel housekeepers,” Muratsuchi said.

AB 1335 would have required safety warnings on vending machines as well as beverage containers.
AB 1335 would have required safety warnings on vending machines as well as beverage containers. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A bill that would have required warnings on all sugar-sweetened beverages in California died in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

The bill, AB 1335 authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), would have required that every sugar-sweetened beverage sold in California in a sealed container be labeled with the words, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.” Vending machines that offered those drinks would have been required to have warning labels as well.

Supporters, including the Service Employees International Union and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, argued that children who consume just one sugar-sweetened beverage each day have an increased chance of being overweight and having related health complications.

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  • California Legislature
Virgil Grant arranges containers of various strains of medical marijuana in a display case at a dispensary he runs in Los Angeles.
Virgil Grant arranges containers of various strains of medical marijuana in a display case at a dispensary he runs in Los Angeles. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

State lawmakers on Thursday shelved a proposal to allow the state to license private banks to handle the billions of dollars expected to be generated by the state’s legal marijuana industry amid questions about the plan’s feasibility.

Voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016 to legalize growing, possessing and selling marijuana for recreational use, but newly licensed pot shops and farms say they cannot put their money in federally chartered banks because cannabis remains illegal under federal law.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) proposed that the state could license special privately financed banks that would issue checks to the businesses to pay rent and state and local taxes and fees, and to compensate vendors for goods and services provided to their businesses.

  • California Legislature
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

A measure that would have required large businesses to report to the state more data on how they pay their employees failed to advance past a key legislative committee on Thursday.

Under the bill, SB 1284 by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), employers with 100 or more workers would have had to submit a report on how employees are compensated in each job category, broken down by race, ethnicity or sex.

The bill was backed by employment lawyers and women’s rights groups. Proponents said that such information would allow the state to “more efficiently identify patterns of wage disparities and allow for targeted enforcement of equal pay laws.”