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California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra warned businesses Thursday that they cannot voluntarily give information on employees to immigration agents.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra warned businesses Thursday that they cannot voluntarily give information on employees to immigration agents. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Concerned about “rumors” of an imminent immigration enforcement sweep in California, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Thursday warned employers he is prepared to seek fines if they violate a new state law that prohibits them from giving information on employees to federal authorities.

Becerra said rumblings of possible sweeps compelled him to remind Californians that there are new laws restricting local law enforcement cooperation with federal agents and that bar businesses from voluntarily allowing immigration officers to access or obtain employee records without a court order or subpoena.

“It’s important, given these rumors out there, to let people and more specifically employers know that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws they subject themselves to actions by my office … enforcing AB 450,” he said at a news conference.

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
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  • California in Congress
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Thirty California Democrats joined colleagues Thursday in introducing a resolution to censure President Trump for using the term “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries.

“The president is the leader of the United States and he just made some remarks that are being perceived, I think accurately, as discriminatory against people who are of African American descent and people who are Latino, and we can’t just stand by and allow that to be what the country is for. It is not what we’re for,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose).

This centers around a recent White House meeting where Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. has to accept immigrants from “shithole” African countries. At least two Republican senators dispute that he used the term, and the blowback has roiled discussions about immigration reform for more than a week.

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  • California Legislature
Esperanza Hernandez, left, and Teagan Garcia use Chromebooks at Waggoner Elementary School in Winters, Calif.
Esperanza Hernandez, left, and Teagan Garcia use Chromebooks at Waggoner Elementary School in Winters, Calif. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Until a few years ago, most students in Winters — a farming community of 7,000 west of Sacramento — did not have computers at home. So the city’s then-mayor, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, pushed for a program that enabled the school district’s sixth-graders to check out laptops along with their textbooks.

Their parents were required to learn how to use the computers as well. For some, it was their first time surfing the web or sending an email.

“Now they could be a voice for their child,” said Aguiar-Curry, who grew up in Winters. She recalled that some parents were moved to tears. “Now they could work in the fields during the day, and at night they could come home and get on their child’s tablet and find out how they were doing in school.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

Candidate for California governor Antonio Villaraigosa slapped at front-runner Gavin Newsom’s education record on Wednesday by pointing to racial disparities in San Francisco’s schools.

“In the debate the other day, one of the candidates talked about how great his county had done on education, on test scores and the like,” the former Los Angeles mayor said during a campaign stop at Mexican restaurant in Bell. “And he goes on and on about his county, San Francisco County. When he was finished, I had to jump in and [say], ‘You know what he didn’t say? It’s the worst county for African-American students in the entire state.’ We’ve got to stand up for the notion that every kid deserves a fair shot. Every kid.”

Newsom, who was San Francisco’s mayor before becoming lieutenant governor, acknowledged an academic achievement gap among minorities in San Francisco schools during Saturday’s gubernatorial debate.

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) awaits floor session on Jan. 3, before agreeing to a leave of absence during an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) awaits floor session on Jan. 3, before agreeing to a leave of absence during an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

Under investigation for sexual harassment allegations, state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) is facing a political challenge from 20 delegates from his Senate district who petitioned Wednesday to make it harder for him to earn a state Democratic Party endorsement.

State party rules allow Democratic incumbents seeking reelection to be automatically placed on the consent calendar of the statewide convention being held Feb. 23-25, which expedites obtaining the party’s endorsement.

However, if the signatures of 20 delegates turned in Wednesday on a petition are validated, it would force Mendoza to go through the party’s more detailed endorsement process for challengers, which includes attending a pre-endorsement conference in the next few weeks and winning delegates’ votes then or at the convention.

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California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Wednesday blasted the Trump administration’s threats to arrest political leaders of so-called “sanctuary cities” and a looming federal immigration sweep expected in Northern California.

The planned raid, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, was said to be a response to a new “sanctuary state” law that went into effect this year.

Championed by De León, the law limits whom state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the request of federal immigration authorities. 

  • California Legislature
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Surfing could become the official state sport of California under a proposal from a Los Angeles-area lawmaker.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 1782, would declare surfing California’s official sport because the state is home to world-famous surf breaks, including Malibu, Trestles, Mavericks, Rincon, Steamer Lane and Huntington and has a long history of hosting major international surfing events.

“Nothing represents the California Dream better than surfing — riding the waves and living in harmony with the beautiful beaches and ocean of our Golden State,” said Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), the bill’s author, said in a statement.