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Natasha Alexenko of Natasha's Justice Project speaks in favor of more timely testing of rape kits in Sacramento on Tuesday.
Natasha Alexenko of Natasha's Justice Project speaks in favor of more timely testing of rape kits in Sacramento on Tuesday. (Jazmine Ulloa / Los Angeles Times)

Less than a month after police arrested a man suspected of being the Golden State Killer — one of California’s most prolific serial rapists — state lawmakers in Sacramento on Tuesday said they want to ensure all sexual assault kits are counted and swiftly tested.

Under a bill by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), law enforcement agencies would have to submit rape kits to crime labs within 20 days of their collection, and labs would have no more than 120 days to test them. Another bill by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would require a statewide audit of all untested exams.

Funding has been a major hurdle for similar proposals in the past. At least half a dozen bills that have died or been vetoed over the last decade would have required law enforcement to tackle backlogs and speed up the examination process for survivors. 

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Abortion rights supporters rally outside a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility.
Abortion rights supporters rally outside a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility. (Brennan Linsley / Associated Press)

A coalition of 19 states led by California filed papers Tuesday in support of efforts to block the Trump administration from reducing access to some family planning programs, according to California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.

The states filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia supporting a lawsuit filed by multiple Planned Parenthood branches asking for a preliminary injunction. The Planned Parenthood branches want to block a proposal by the federal government to change the requirements for Title X, which provides some 4 million uninsured and under-insured people, including a million Californians, with family planning services, Becerra said.

The Trump administration action threatens funding for birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatment, according to the legal challenge.

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It was an iconic image: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, longtime partners and lesbian activists, embracing after being wed in San Francisco City Hall. The first same-sex couple in the country to receive a marriage license was joined by city officials and advocates choked with emotion — but not the man who set their nuptials in motion, Gavin Newsom.

Weeks before the June 5 primary, the race for California attorney general has incumbent Xavier Becerra and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones trading jabs over campaign contributions as the Democrats prepare for a possible showdown in November.

  • Governor's race
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who lost the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor to Gavin Newsom in 2010, on Monday endorsed her formal political rival for governor.

“I’ve watched Gavin’s leadership as San Francisco Mayor and as California's Lieutenant Governor,” Hahn said in a statement released by the Newsom campaign. “I know that he will apply these experiences and skill-sets to ensure that California continues to lead the nation and the world on issues ranging from workers' rights and women's rights, to immigrants' rights, environmental rights, healthcare rights and educational rights.”

Hahn, who previously served in Congress and on the Los Angeles City Council, was a front-runner in the 2010 race for lieutenant governor when Newsom jumped into the race. Newsom had been running for governor but bowed out after it became clear that current Gov. Jerry Brown was jumping into the race.

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  • California Legislature

After a discussion of man-made waves at a site in the Central Valley, and fans of skateboarding and baseball lamenting the bill, the California Assembly voted 60-3 to make surfing the official sport of California. 

On to the state Senate.

California voters have seen a barrage of sunny television ads in recent weeks touting former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s record on finances, crime and education, aired by Families & Teachers for Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor 2018.

Gov. Jerry Brown is massaging the final state budget of his long career, and his No. 1 priority is simple: Don’t leave his successor the same mess he did the last time.

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  • California Legislature
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)

Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for states to legalize sports betting, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) on Monday said he would pursue a state constitutional amendment that, if approved by the voters, would allow the wagering in California.

“The decision by the Supreme Court affirms that the choice to legalize sports wagering is one for the states to make for themselves. The ball is in our court,” Gray said in a statement. 

The state Constitution currently prohibits sports wagering, but Gray last year introduced a placeholder bill, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 18, in anticipation of the Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The bill requires a two-thirds approval in the state Legislature to be placed on the ballot as early as November, where it would require a majority vote of approval.

  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
(Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Gov. Jerry Brown’s embrace last week of a $2-billion bond to fund homeless housing could make for an even busier ballot in November.

Should lawmakers agree to put the bond before voters, Californians could see as many as five housing measures on the November ballot.

In addition to the homeless housing plan, backers of initiatives to expand rent control, increase Proposition 13 benefits for homeowners and finance the cleanup of lead paint in homes all say they’ve collected enough signatures to ensure their proposals can make the ballot. Lawmakers have already agreed to put a $4-billion bond to subsidize new developments for low-income residents and provide home loans for veterans before voters in November.