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489 posts
  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
The statuary, "Columbus' Last Appeal to Queen Isabella," greets visitors to the rotunda at the Capitol building in Sacramento.
The statuary, "Columbus' Last Appeal to Queen Isabella," greets visitors to the rotunda at the Capitol building in Sacramento. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Employees of the California Legislature will have a new way to register workplace harassment complaints against lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists and the public under a revamped policy approved by a key panel on Monday.

The Joint Rules Committee, which governs both houses of the Legislature, approved recommendations that would significantly change how sexual harassment and other complaints are investigated and adjudicated. The overhaul was prompted by a string of sexual misconduct investigations that led to the resignation of several lawmakers.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), who chaired the committee that created the proposal, said the plan was a “radical departure” from how the Legislature had handled internal complaints in the past.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Courtesy of Harley Rouda for Congress)

Democrat Harley Rouda will challenge GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th Congressional District in November after his opponent Hans Keirstead conceded the second-place spot in the June 5 primary. 

Rouda and Keirstead, also a Democrat, had been locked in a nasty battle for the chance to take on 15-term incumbent Rohrabacher. Keirstead maintained a razor-thin lead as the votes were counted in the days after the election. But last week, Rouda, who is a real estate investor, overtook him and at last count was leading by 126 votes.

In a statement, Keirstead, a stem cell researcher, congratulated Rouda and pledged to “work in unison...to make sure Democrats and science prevail in November.”

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  • Politics podcast

After weeks of multi-candidate battles, California’s election season has moved to one-on-one matchups. And there’s some new polling in the state’s biggest races.

On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we take a closer look at the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll’s numbers in the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

We also discuss the week’s news on illegal immigration, from a closely watched lawsuit against California’s so-called sanctuary laws to how state lawmakers are reacting to the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Egg production is a $1-billion industry in California, with some 15.5 million egg-laying hens producing nearly 5 billion eggs annually, mostly on family-owned farms.

New Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Alice Germond
New Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Alice Germond (Via Gov. Brown's office)

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appointed longtime Democratic Party activist Alice T. Germond as the chairwoman of the state’s troubled campaign finance watchdog panel.

Germond, 75, joins the state Fair Political Practices Commission to serve the remaining seven months of the term of former chair Jodi Remke, who resigned last month after part-time members voted to curtail some of her powers.

The commission voted this month to create subcommittees to weigh in on future policy changes and hiring decisions, and has also been discussing whether to seek legislation to make the chair position part time like the rest of the commissioners.

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William Stephens may be best known — to the extent he’s remembered at all — for being California governor in 1917 when anarchists dynamited the governor’s mansion in Sacramento, blowing a small hole in a basement wall.

Former state Sen. Rod Wright resigned in September 2014 after he was convicted of lying about living in his senate district.
Former state Sen. Rod Wright resigned in September 2014 after he was convicted of lying about living in his senate district. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Nearly four years after resigning upon his conviction in a voting fraud case, former state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) has registered as a Capitol lobbyist.

Wright lists his only client as lobbyist and political consultant Richard Ross, who in turn advocates for clients including the California Applicants’ Attorneys Assn., Mercury Public Affairs, the California Business Roundtable and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299.

Ross said in an email Thursday that he retained Wright as part of an attempt to get language included in a state budget trailer bill “that would have held [the University of California] a little more accountable for its contracting out processes that result in widening gender and racial pay disparities for service workers.”

President Trump holds up the executive order he signed to end family separations at the border.
President Trump holds up the executive order he signed to end family separations at the border. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

California is joining nine other states in filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration, alleging its family separation policy for immigrants in the country illegally violates due process, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Thursday.

The action was proposed a day after Trump signed an executive order requiring families detained under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration be kept together.

“Children belong with their families, not alone and fearful in metal cages,” Becerra said in a statement. “We are filing this lawsuit because ripping children from their parents is unlawful, wrong and heartless.”

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The dome of the state Capitol glows in the early evening in Sacramento.
The dome of the state Capitol glows in the early evening in Sacramento. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A proposal to change leadership of California’s state campaign watchdog commission from a full-time position to a part-time job stalled Thursday when the panel deadlocked over the need for a new structure.

Two of the five members of the state Fair Political Practices Commission recently resigned amid a power struggle, and Commissioner Frank Cardenas said Thursday he is not willing to be one of the three votes needed to seek legislation to make the chairperson role part time.

Cardenas noted that the commission recently adopted a new committee structure to allow the four part-time commissioners normally on the panel to have more say in policy and personal decisions, and he wants to give that more time to work.

  • California Legislature
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California voters no longer would have to scramble to find stamps for their ballots under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday for postage-free voting.

If signed into law, Assembly Bill 216 would require county elections officials to send prepaid postage envelopes with ballots mailed to voters. Californians frequently fail to put enough stamps on an envelope, or simply send a ballot back without any postage. Some of those ballots are ultimately delivered by postal officials.

Supporters said the changing length of ballots — in some elections stretching to multiple pages — can leave voters unprepared for determining how many stamps to use. While some counties already provide postage-paid envelopes to return ballots, most do not.