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  • California Legislature
Gov. Jerry Brown hands a copy of the bail bill he just signed to state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, surrounded by other supporters of the measure.
Gov. Jerry Brown hands a copy of the bail bill he just signed to state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, surrounded by other supporters of the measure. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

One day after Gov. Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation overhauling the state’s money bail system, the California bail industry is fighting back.

A coalition of bail industry associations, crime victims groups and other opponents have launched a voter referendum drive in an attempt to block the implementation of the new law. They have roughly three months to collect and submit an estimated 366,000 signatures to qualify the measure.

If they are successful, the law would be put on hold and weighed on the November 2020 ballot. The law, which will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019, is expected to dismantle a bail-bond industry that includes bounty hunters, surety companies and about 3,200 registered bail agents.

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  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), left, with state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa).
Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), left, with state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

After months of negotiations, a last-minute proposal for a deal in the California Legislature on cleaning up lead paint in homes across the state has failed.

With lawmakers facing a Friday deadline to pass bills for the year, Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord) introduced legislation late on Tuesday that would have required paint companies to pay $475 million over the next decade to clean up lead paint, with additional funds coming from the settlement of a long-running lawsuit with 10 cities and counties on the issue. Grayson contended that the proposal would have allowed for the clean-up of more lead in homes across the state than solely relying on the court case.

But by Wednesday morning, Grayson conceded that he couldn’t reach an agreement between the companies and the local governments involved in the litigation and was abandoning the effort.

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(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Supporters of an initiative to repeal California’s recent gas tax increase alleged Wednesday that state-hired contractors working on a Caltrans road project in San Diego County improperly stopped traffic and gave motorists fliers opposing Proposition 6.

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a leader of the Proposition 6 campaign, said he is filing a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission that the activity violated state law.

“There is absolutely no grey area here,” DeMaio said in a statement. “Caltrans is caught in blatant violation of California law that prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for campaign activities or advocacy. This proves once again that Caltrans simply cannot be trusted to do what is right with our gas tax funds — they literally are using gas tax funds to support the distribution of campaign materials to raise the gas tax on working families.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom. (Emma McIntyre)

Ahead in the polls, California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom plans to hit the road after Labor Day with a statewide bus tour to help fellow Democratic congressional candidates who are trying to oust Republicans so their party can take control of the House.

Newsom highlighted the tour in a fundraising email sent out Tuesday morning, which is part of his “Blue California” campaign to help Democrats in both congressional and legislative races.

In a recent Pod Save America podcast, Newsom said he’s not taking his lead in the governor’s race for granted, but plans to spend “a lot of time and energy” helping down-ballot candidates.

  • Governor's race
Republican John Cox, left, and Democrat Gavin Newsom, right.
Republican John Cox, left, and Democrat Gavin Newsom, right. (Los Angeles Times)

An independent political committee backing Republican John Cox for California governor released a new campaign ad bashing Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom as a “child of privilege” with a far-left political agenda.

The independent expenditure committee, Restore Our Values, paid $250,000 to air the aid on Fox News, CNN and other outlets for the next week, said Jennifer Jacobs, spokesperson for the organization.

The one-minute ad attempts to contrast Cox and Newsom, casting Cox as a self-made man and Newsom as product of the well-connected, well-heeled San Francisco political class.

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A firefighter works to prevent flames from crossing Highway 29, north of Calistoga, Calif., on Oct. 12, 2017.
A firefighter works to prevent flames from crossing Highway 29, north of Calistoga, Calif., on Oct. 12, 2017. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)

A bipartisan group of California lawmakers proposed on Tuesday to spend $1 billion to clear fire-prone trees and brush from across the state over the next five years while providing new relief for utility companies that have said wildfire costs could lead them to bankruptcy.

But critics maintained provisions in the bill offer little protection to utility customers from footing the bill, even when the companies are found at fault for some amount of a fire’s origins.

“Make no mistake about it, it's not perfect,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), a co-chair of the committee. “Little that we do here ever is.”

  • California Legislature
Nikolas Cruz, accused of a mass shooting at a Florida high school, appears with his attorney in court in February.
Nikolas Cruz, accused of a mass shooting at a Florida high school, appears with his attorney in court in February. (Susan Stocker / Sun-Sentinel)

In response to a mass shooting six months ago at a Florida high school, California lawmakers on Tuesday sent the governor a bill that would allow teachers, employers and co-workers to ask judges to remove guns from people they see as a danger to the public.

The state Senate voted to expand the state’s gun-violence restraining order law, which currently allows family members and law enforcement to petition the court to temporarily remove guns from persons seen as a threat to the public.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said he introduced the bill in response to the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in which a 19-year-old former student allegedly killed 17 people.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a landmark bill to overhaul the state’s money-bail system, replacing it with one that grants judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial.

The two-year effort fulfills a pledge made by Brown last year when he stalled negotiations over the ambitious legislation, saying he would continue to work with lawmakers and the state’s top Supreme Court justice on the right approach to change the system. The new law puts California at the forefront of a national push to stop courts from imposing a heavy financial burden on defendants before they have faced a jury.

“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” he said in a statement. 

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  • California Legislature
A landscape is charred by a wildfire outside Redding in late July.
A landscape is charred by a wildfire outside Redding in late July. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers crafting state wildfire prevention policy clashed late Monday night over key details in a lengthy proposal, deep disagreements that threaten to stymie action in the Legislature for 2018.

Much of the discussion during the joint conference committee hearing focused on what has consistently been the sticking point for both lawmakers and stakeholders: how much to ease the financial impact to the state’s electric utilities for fires involving their equipment. Some continued to suggest that investor-owned utility companies could be at risk of bankruptcy if no action is taken.

“The conversation up here has to be focused on making sure that event doesn’t happen,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), a co-chairman of the committee.

Gov. Jerry Brown.
Gov. Jerry Brown. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday vetoed a bill that would have prevented politicians from paying family members an amount greater than fair-market value for goods and services.

The bill by Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) sought to ban politicians from making excessive payments to parents, children and siblings working on their campaigns.

"This proposed new authority for the Fair Political Practices Commission concerns me," Brown wrote in his veto message.