• California in Congress
California Sens. Dianne Feinstein, left, and Kamala Harris.
California Sens. Dianne Feinstein, left, and Kamala Harris. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris voted no on an effort to end the government shutdown Monday, saying they don’t have the assurances they need that a legislative fix for the so-called Dreamers will happen.

The funding measure, which needed 60 votes and allows the Senate to move forward to reopen the government, passed Monday by a 81-18 vote, signaling the three-day government shutdown will end soon. The House already passed a stop-gap spending bill with nearly party-line support and is expected to quickly bring up the Senate measure and give it final approval.

An agreement to end the shut down came together with an assurance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate will vote on a legislative fix for Dreamers by Feb. 8, the day the stop-gap funding runs out.

Labor rights icon Dolores Huerta won't be on the ballot in California's 21st Congressional District, but she has influenced the Central Valley race Democrats view as one of their biggest pickup opportunities in the midterm elections.

Elected officials, local activists and other congressional sources said Huerta is having pointed conversations to try to make sure her son, Emilio Huerta, is the only Democrat challenging Republican Rep. David Valadao. A local lawyer, he lost badly to Valadao in 2016.

Candidates for statewide office in California.
Candidates for statewide office in California. (Associated Press / Getty Images / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands of California Democrats will gather this week in San Diego for their annual convention, featuring several potential presidential contenders as well as candidates battling for endorsements from the party faithful in advance of the June primary.

Potential 2020 candidates speaking at the convention include Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Kamala Harris and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer.

One notable California Democrat who repeatedly ran for president is not scheduled to appear: Gov. Jerry Brown, in his final year leading the state. He has previously faced protests and heckling from critics who did not agree with his stance on fracking.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A former staffer to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said the lawmaker discussed vulgar topics in the office and once encouraged her aides to play spin the bottle, according to a filing submitted to the state.

David Kernick alleged in a complaint to the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing that he was terminated from his position in Garcia’s district office in 2014, shortly after he raised concerns about Garcia urging staffers to play “spin the bottle” in her hotel room after a fundraiser. The complaint was first reported by Politico.

Kernick is one of four staffers who accused Garcia of fostering an improper work environment, including allegations that she discussed sex and used alcohol at work, in a letter to the Assembly last week. The remaining staffers remain anonymous.

  • Governor's race
  • California Democrats
State Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the incoming Senate leader.
State Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the incoming Senate leader. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Democrat Toni Atkins of San Diego, who in March will become the first woman to lead the California Senate, has endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor.

Atkins praised Newsom’s record on addressing homelessness and affordable housing during his two terms as San Francisco mayor, saying he has been a politician who has not hesitated to “take chances to do the right thing.”

“He shares my passion for ensuring that every California family can afford a safe roof over their head and can live in a community near where they work, play, attend school and pursue their dreams,” Atkins said in a statement released by the Newsom campaign.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Jeff Chiu / AP)
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom pushed back forcefully on Friday against a suggestion that his camp had anything to do with the surprise candidacy of Democrat Amanda Renteria for governor. An advisor to Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign speculated that Newsom’s team wants Renteria in the governor’s race in an effort to split the Latino vote.

“It’s absurd. And sad at the same time,” Newsom told reporters after receiving U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ endorsement at USC. “To somehow suggest we’re part of it — I read that with bemusement. It is factually unequivocally, absolutely untrue.”

Newsom, currently California’s lieutenant governor, was responding to Mike Madrid, a Villaraigosa advisor, telling KQED that “something just doesn’t smell right” with the hasty, last-minute rollout of Renteria’s campaign. Madrid said he believes “the dots are there” to connect Renteria, a former Hillary Clinton aide who also worked for California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, with Newsom’s campaign.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are released from lockdown after Wednesday's mass shooting.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are released from lockdown after Wednesday's mass shooting. (John McCall / South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Two days after a mass shooting in Florida, a California lawmaker is seeking to revive a measure that would allow school staffs and coworkers to seek a court order to remove guns from people they believe are a danger to the public.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) wants to expand the current law that allows family members and law enforcement officials to seek an emergency restraining order from judges based on rulings that the person owns guns and poses a public risk.

The current law, enacted after the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., allows judges to order the confiscation of guns for up to 21 days.

  • California Legislature
Medical marijuana vials are filled at a dispensary in Venice.
Medical marijuana vials are filled at a dispensary in Venice. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Californians have been able to use marijuana as medicine for two decades, and soon their sick pets may also be able to take advantage of cannabis’ health benefits.

State Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) has introduced a bill that would require the Veterinary Medical Board to establish guidelines for licensed veterinarians to discuss the use of cannabis for animals.

“It is critical for the protection of our beloved pets that knowledgeable veterinarians be allowed to discuss the safe use and medicinal value of cannabis products already available to California consumers,” Kalra said.

  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
Starte Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
Starte Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The state Senate Rules Committee on Friday received the results of an investigation by outside attorneys into sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia, setting the stage for the panel recommending next week whether discipline is warranted.

The panel spent two hours behind closed doors discussing the report, which is confidential. The review comes a day after Mendoza sued the Senate, seeking a court order to reinstate him from a forced leave of absence and declaring the investigation is biased and violated his rights to due process.

“The Committee will take the facts and findings under advisement and return on Tuesday ... to finalize recommendations to the body on the matter,” the panel said in a statement. In addition, if disciplinary action is recommended, the facts and findings of the investigation will be presented to Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans on Wednesday.