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The California Public Employees' Retirement System building
The California Public Employees' Retirement System building (Max Whittaker / Getty Images)

As part of a shift toward less optimistic expectations for investment returns to pay for government worker pensions, board members of the California Public Employees Retirement System voted Tuesday to require an almost $6.3-billion payment from the state budget in the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

The action, which could receive final approval on Wednesday, reflects a gradually higher annual contribution to public employee pensions by the state and from local governments across California. In 2016, CalPERS approved a half-percentage point decrease in its official estimate of the long-term investment return on its $353.3-billion portfolio. That shift was designed to happen over several years, in hopes it would lessen the financial shock of shifting more of the costs onto government employers. The highest costs are also, in part, a reflection of increases in the size of the state’s payroll.

The state’s CalPERS payment will be about $450 million more than the total paid in the current fiscal year and more than double what it was only a decade ago.

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  • State government
Marijuana on display at a dispensary in Los Angeles.
Marijuana on display at a dispensary in Los Angeles. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

The state issued a warning Tuesday that businesses holding licenses to sell marijuana could face penalties if they participate in unlicensed temporary events away from their stores, including on Friday, April 20, which has become an annual celebration for counterculture groups.

The warning was issued ahead of 4/20 by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control. Since Jan. 1, the bureau has issued more than 700 state licenses to sell marijuana for medical or recreational use.

The bureau has issued 47 temporary event licenses to groups that are limited to holding the marijuana celebrations on county fairgrounds that have authorized such events with city approval.

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Los Angeles Police Department recruits at a graduation ceremony in April
Los Angeles Police Department recruits at a graduation ceremony in April (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Some major law enforcement groups signaled Tuesday they are willing to support making part of police officer disciplinary records public, a dramatic departure from their past positions.

Local and national attention on police shootings and misconduct has led law enforcement organizations to reconsider their blanket opposition to proposals that would give public access to some internal disciplinary investigations of officers.

“We're going to be open to supporting efforts that would allow for some records to be released,” said Ryan Sherman, a lobbyist with the Riverside Sheriff’s Assn.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove prepares for the oath of office from Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon with her husband, Austin Dove.
Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove prepares for the oath of office from Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon with her husband, Austin Dove. (California Assembly Democrats)

Two weeks after winning a Los Angeles special election, the newest member of the California Assembly says she hopes to focus on reforms to the state’s criminal justice system during her time in Sacramento.

Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) took the oath of office on Monday, filling one of three vacant seats representing Los Angeles County in the lower house. The Democrat, a former community college trustee and legislative staffer, thanked her mentors in remarks from the Assembly rostrum.

“So many women, and in my life so many black women, have paid in giving me the kind of morals and integrity and grit that is required to fight on behalf of people that you know, and people that you don’t know,” she said.

Aaliyah Smith marches with her cousins.
Aaliyah Smith marches with her cousins. (Jazmine Ulloa / Los Angeles Times)

Her father, uncle, a cousin and two older brothers. Those are some of the family members 16-year-old Aaliyah Smith has lost to gun violence. Then there are her friends.

Jermaine Jackson Jr., 27, was shot and killed in 2016 while he painted over graffiti in San Francisco. Toriano “Tito” Adger, 18, was shot there a year later at a bus stop. He called Smith, who was nearby, and warned her to run. She made it inside a library moments before the crack of gunfire.

Last week, Smith was among hundreds who gathered in Sacramento for annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week events, where calls were issued for a new approach to criminal justice and public safety in California, one that puts survivors at the center of policy. But a debate is brewing over what that entails.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Evan Albertson, left, and Joseph Joslin canvass in Tustin on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund for Rep. Mimi Walters.
Evan Albertson, left, and Joseph Joslin canvass in Tustin on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund for Rep. Mimi Walters. (Irfan Khan)

A group that’s aiming to help Republicans keep control of the House says it plans to spend millions of dollars in several vulnerable California districts.

The D.C.-based Congressional Leadership Fund, which has the blessing of House Republican leaders, says it has reserved TV ad time to support:

• Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock): $2.35 million

  • State government
State workers handle income tax returns at the California Franchise Tax Board offices.
State workers handle income tax returns at the California Franchise Tax Board offices. (Laura Morton / For The Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget is built on what taxpayers might find an audacious assumption: almost $14 billion in tax payments in the month of April, an average of $83 million collected per hour on every business day of the month.

Most of that money will come from the taxes Californians pay in advance of Tuesday night’s filing deadline for income tax returns. If history is any guide, the rate of payment could quadruple by week’s end.

While tax rules have shifted some of the payment schedules to other months, April remains a vitally important month to the fiscal health of state government. The state controller’s office reports more than 15% of all personal income tax revenues in 2017 were collected in April. In the recession years of a decade ago, tax revenue predictions were frequently off the mark by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein widened her already-massive fundraising advantage in the run-up to June’s primary, raising twice as much in the first quarter than her strongest Senate challenger has sitting in the bank.

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  • Governor's race
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in 2012.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in 2012. (Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images)

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in a new radio ad by GOP gubernatorial hopeful John Cox, calls the San Diego County businessman a “conservative champion” who is gaining momentum in California’s 2018 race for governor.

Gingrich notes that recent polls show Cox is second place in the race, behind Democratic front-runner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, calling it evidence that the Republican candidate is leading a conservative resurgence in California.

“Why? Because they agree with John Cox on the two most pressing issues facing Californians — repealing Jerry Brown’s “sanctuary state” and his $52-billion gas tax increase,” Gingrich says in the ad.

(Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown told a Canadian audience Monday that he believes President Trump’s efforts to reverse course on climate change policy are a “momentary deviation” as others in the United States seek limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

“That’s very temporary, I can assure you,” Brown said at a joint event in Toronto with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The governor’s quick international trip, announced only late last week, comes as Wynne’s Liberal Party faces a stiff challenge in June’s election from the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and its leader, Doug Ford. Critics of Wynne’s party have called for Ontario to pull out of the Western Climate Initiative, a cooperative agreement between three Canadian provinces and California on efforts to limit greenhouse gases.