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385 posts
  • State government
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers on Friday shelved a proposal to reduce pot tax rates in an effort to help licensed businesses compete with the black market.

The sidelining of the proposal came a week after a report found pot tax revenue is far below projections.

The bill, AB 3157, would have reduced the state excise tax on cannabis from 15% to 11% and suspended a cultivation tax that charges $148 per pound.

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  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose)
Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) (Jonathan J. Cooper / Associated Press)

A sweeping California proposal to curb healthcare costs by imposing price controls sputtered Friday, but backers vowed to continue the effort next year.

The measure, Assembly Bill 3087 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), would have created a state commission to determine prices for a large swath of healthcare services, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays and medical procedures. The bill would have applied to the commercial insurance market, including those who get healthcare coverage through their employers, but not those on public plans such as Medi-Cal.

The plan was sponsored by labor unions and consumer groups, and it faced fierce opposition from physicians and hospitals.

  • California Legislature
  • Governor's race
Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Democrats' state convention in San Diego on Feb. 24.
Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Democrats' state convention in San Diego on Feb. 24. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign filed a complaint Thursday against an independent political committee supporting Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the governor’s race, alleging that the committee failed to disclose its efforts to help the top Republican in the race.

The complaint, filed with the state Fair Politicial Practices Commission, accuses Citizens Supporting Gavin Newsom for Governor of assisting the campaign of GOP candidate John Cox with a television ad.

The complaint alleges that the effort is an attempt to help Cox finish in the top-two primary in June to advance the Rancho Santa Fe businessman to a general election face-off with Newsom, the front-runner in the race — instead of Villaraigosa or another Democrat. No Republican has won a statewide race in California since 2006, so facing Cox in the November election would be to Newsom’s advantage.

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Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary.
Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Last year, a Santa Cruz medical marijuana group headed by Valerie Leveroni Corral gave away $230,000 worth of cannabis to low-income residents with medical problems including HIV/AIDS and cancer.

However, California’s new pot legalization rules that took effect Jan. 1 now require her to pay taxes on such donations. If she made the same level of charitable contributions of cannabis this year, her tax would be up to $85,000. “It’s just too costly,” said Corral, director of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which has been shut down for the last five months.

On Thursday, state lawmakers announced a new bill to exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical pot to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) speaks during an Intelligence Committee meeting.
Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) speaks during an Intelligence Committee meeting. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is raising money in Los Angeles next week. Donors will gather at a private home Wednesday for Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The reception for Warner, a former Virginia governor, is being hosted by local influential couples. It will be held at the Brentwood home of attorney Barry Porter and real estate agent Lea Porter. The other hosts are ICM Partners co-founder Chris Silbermann and creative consultant Julia Franz, and Universal Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jeff Shell and Laura Shell.

Contributions will go to the Friends of Mark Warner PAC, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Times. An attendee ticket costs $500, and prices go up to $5,400 for someone to be called a host.

California’s elections officials have found themselves with an unexpected headache ahead of the June 5 primary: potentially thousands of cases where two voter registration forms were created for one person, errors caused by the state’s “motor voter” program that launched last month.

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California’s gubernatorial primary boils down to this: It will determine whether Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is a slam-dunk winner in November — or still must fight to be elected governor.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
  • U.S. Senate race
Top L-R: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang. Bottom L-R: Delaine Eastin, Assemblyman Travis Allen, John Cox.
Top L-R: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang. Bottom L-R: Delaine Eastin, Assemblyman Travis Allen, John Cox.

Republican John Cox and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa continue to battle it out for second place in the June primary, according to a new poll released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The findings come after a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released this week showed the two neck and neck in the race, which will send the top two finishers to the November ballot.

Democrat Gavin Newsom, long the front-runner in the race, won the support of 25% of likely voters, with Cox winning the support of 19% and Villaraigosa 15%, according to the PPIC poll. Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach won the support of 11% of likely voters, while Democrats John Chiang and Delaine Eastin were stuck in the single digits.