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489 posts
  • Ballot measures
  • California Legislature
Construction crews conduct repairs in San Francisco last year. A measure to repeal a gas tax increase is on the November ballot.
Construction crews conduct repairs in San Francisco last year. A measure to repeal a gas tax increase is on the November ballot. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

In the two weeks since an initiative qualified that would repeal an increase to the gas tax, construction companies, labor groups and civic organizations have poured $3.7 million into a campaign against Proposition 6, campaign records show.

Although the total raised by supporters of the gas tax is $11.8 million, backers of the repeal initiative on the November ballot say they have raised more than $1 million in recent months, bringing their total haul to $3.2 million.

“Unions and the highway construction industry have their own stake here, given the $50-plus billion in road building and repair costs, and they are not about to roll over,” said Larry Gerston, professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University. He said a reasonable expectation is that $50 million to $75 million will be raised for the Nov. 6 election “given the self-interest on both sides and the amount raised to date.”

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  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
A home is under construction in Irvine.
A home is under construction in Irvine. (Don Barletti / Los Angeles Times)

Last week, the deadline passed for proponents of California initiatives to pull their measures off the state’s November ballot. But that hasn’t stopped one powerful interest group from hoping it can still strike a deal with lawmakers.

The California Assn. of Realtors collected enough signatures from voters to qualify an initiative that would allow homeowners older than 55 to take a portion of their Proposition 13 property tax benefits with them if they move to a new home. The measure will be listed as Proposition 5 on this November’s ballot.

The Realtors are still interested in having state legislators put forward an alternative measure instead, one that might help clear some of the opposition to their plan. The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office has estimated the change, should voters approve Proposition 5, would cost local governments and schools a combined $300 million a year, with that figure rising over time to $2 billion annually. Labor groups, including the California Professional Firefighters, are opposed over fears it’s too much money.

  • State government
Marijuana on display at the Harborside dispensary in Oakland. Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday named members of a new cannabis appeals panel.
Marijuana on display at the Harborside dispensary in Oakland. Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday named members of a new cannabis appeals panel. (Mathew Sumner / AP Photo)

Six months after California began licensing growing and selling marijuana, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday appointed the first members of a new Cannabis Control Appeals Panel to consider objections from those denied permits or those facing penalties for violating regulations.

The governor gets to name three of the five members of the panel and on Tuesday appointed county prosecutor Sabrina D. Ashjian of Fresno, college lecturer Diandra Bremond of Los Angeles, and a staff attorney for the governor, Adrian Carpenter of Plumas Lake.

The other two appointments will be made by the Senate Rules Committee and the speaker of the Assembly.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Monday announced plans to improve disaster preparedness and develop policies to better deal with the wildfires that are plaguing California, citing the historic fires that hit the state last year.

For the first six months of this year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has battled wildfires on 53,000 acres, compared with an average of 23,000 acres over the same time in previous years, officials said. On Monday, firefighters were working to control a wildfire in Yolo County that had grown to 44,500 acres overnight.

Legislation to step up planning was sent to a conference committee for consideration, according to a statement from Brown and Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and Assembly.

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  • California Legislature
Ely Fernandez of Honduras is questioned after being detained for crossing the border illegally in March with his 5-year-old son, Bryan.
Ely Fernandez of Honduras is questioned after being detained for crossing the border illegally in March with his 5-year-old son, Bryan. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Members of the California Assembly on Monday urged an end to the Trump administration’s immigration efforts that separated children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the issue is one of humanity and not partisan politics.

“Generations down the line will remember those who allowed and advocated for the separation of children from their mothers,” Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace) said during debate on the Assembly floor.

The resolution, which carries no force of law, singles out President Trump and U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. It urges “compassion and decency” in the enforcement of immigration laws, and offers a reminder of procedures that exist for those declaring asylum.

  • Politics podcast

California’s fall ballot may be on the long side — a dozen propositions will be considered by voters — but it could have been longer, if not for blockbuster deals struck in Sacramento.

On this week’s episode of the California Politics Podcast, we take a look at the negotiations that pulled sweeping privacy and tax initiatives off the ballot and the decision by some of the nation’s largest paint companies to abandon their proposal too.

We also take a quick look at the proposals that voters will consider on Nov. 6. And we assess some of the key political impacts of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last week on public employee union fees.

The public face of the long-shot effort to pass House immigration legislation in recent weeks has been California’s Rep. Jeff Denham.

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Jerred Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary, stocks shelves with cannabis products in Los Angeles.
Jerred Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary, stocks shelves with cannabis products in Los Angeles. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

All marijuana sold in California by state licensed firms will be required starting Sunday to undergo new testing for quality and toxins, but retailers warn they face financial hardship because they will have to destroy tens of millions of dollars’ worth of untested product still on their shelves.

The United Cannabis Business Assn. led 128 cannabis businesses and advocacy groups in petitioning Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to indefinitely extend the period for selling marijuana products that do not meet the new testing standards to avoid forcing some licensed firms out of business.

“This really is the destruction of the whole supply chain,” said Jerred Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Assn., which represents 76 pot retailers in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
Renters facing eviction confront anti-rent-control advocates at the offices of Beachfront Property Management in Long Beach in June
Renters facing eviction confront anti-rent-control advocates at the offices of Beachfront Property Management in Long Beach in June (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

California voters will decide on four housing measures in the November election. No issue will be more contested than rent control.

Tenant advocacy groups qualified an initiative that would repeal Costa-Hawkins, the 1995 state law that bans most new rent-control policies across the state, and allow cities and counties to set more rules for limiting rent increases. Landlord organizations are strongly opposed and have indicated that they’ll spend $60 million to defeat the measure.

With a lot at stake, both sides had reasons to try to compromise. On this episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Pod, we talk about why tenants and landlords couldn’t strike a deal to keep the initiative off the ballot, and set up what the fall campaign will look like. Our guests are Debra Carlton, senior vice president at the California Apartment Assn., and Amy Schur, campaign director at Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.