This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- Legislators at the state Capitol will winnow down the hundreds of bills pending by Friday afternoon, quietly killing some of them which have been sitting in what's called the "suspense file."
- Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) said Friday that a Montana congressional candidate's alleged attack on a reporter was wrong "unless the reporter deserved it."
- African Americans in the California Democratic Party want an apology made to Rep. Maxine Water (D-Los Angeles) after her microphone was cut off at last weekend's convention.
California voters approved a $2-per-pack increase to the cigarette tax in November — the first time the tobacco tax had been raised in almost two decades.
The decision has vaulted California into the top 10 highest cigarette taxes in the country, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
California's previous $0.87 tax on a pack of cigarettes was 37th highest in the country. Now, the $2.87 tax ranks 9th.