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268 posts
  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
State Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)
State Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) (Mark Boster)

California Senate Republican leader Patricia Bates is wading into the sexual harassment debate that has swept up the Capitol and is calling on her Democratic colleagues to allow whistleblowers to speak out by releasing them from non-disclosure agreements.

Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) wrote in a letter to the Democratic legislative leaders — Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) — that Senate Republicans are calling for the Legislature to allow victims or witnesses who may have signed such agreements to share their experiences publicly.

“This release from NDAs would empower victims of sexual harassment, create a new atmosphere for resolving sexual harassment or discrimination concerns, increase public awareness and transparency, and ensure that both the Senate and the Assembly fulfill their obligations to the public and their employees for providing a safe and welcoming workplace environment,” Bates wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 12.

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

California officials said Wednesday they plan to use email before the new year to send out some licenses to sell marijuana to speed up the transition to a regulated market. The licenses will not go into effect until Jan. 1.

Proposition 64, which legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use, required the state to begin issuing licenses by Jan. 1. Because that date is a state holiday, the bureau originally planned to begin sending them out on Jan. 2. That has changed.

“Much of the date discussion — Jan. 1 versus Jan. 2 — was based on whether or not we’d be able to be open on a state holiday,” said Alex Traverso, a bureau spokesman. “The solution to that issue was to issue licenses with an effective date of Jan. 1 since licenses will be issued electronically. That eliminates the need to have the office open on Jan. 1.”

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  • California in Congress
House Republicans hold a news conference after the House passed the GOP tax bill.
House Republicans hold a news conference after the House passed the GOP tax bill. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

As closed-door negotiations over the final tax bill come to an end, the head of the California Department of Finance is making a last-ditch effort to convince Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation to vote against the plan.

In a letter to the entire delegation Wednesday, Finance Department Director Michael Cohen detailed 10 issues in the current tax proposals about which the state is worried.

Some of Cohen’s concerns may be addressed in the deal that House and Senate leaders said they reached Wednesday morning. Details of the agreement are not yet public.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs an extension of California's cap-and-trade program in July.
Gov. Jerry Brown signs an extension of California's cap-and-trade program in July. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Although California’s cap-and-trade program was designed to combat climate change, a new analysis predicts it could also provide significant cash — as much as $8 billion in a decade’s time — for state and regional programs.

The report issued Tuesday by the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office projects a wide range of revenue generated by the sale of permits for companies to emit greenhouse gases beyond a state-ordered emissions cap. The most recent auction of those emission permits brought in more than $800 million.

The analysis warns that annual cap-and-trade revenue beyond 2020 is “highly uncertain,” and offers a possible range from $2 billion in 2018 to almost $7 billion in 2030 — the final year of the program under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed in July.

  • California in Congress

A handful of California representatives discussed the federal response to their state’s wildfires Tuesday with Vice President Mike Pence.

Attending the West Wing meeting were House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), Darrell Issa (R-Vista), Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara).

“It was a very bipartisan-spirited meeting. He clearly understood the significance of the fires and the impacts,” Brownley said after the meeting. She said Pence offered federal assistance and “recognized that recovery was going to be very important and that we want to work together to make sure that we can get the resources needed.”

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  • California in Congress
(Olamikan Gbemiga / Associated Press)

As the House and Senate work to reconcile their versions of the tax bill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Alpine) is urging negotiators to let Americans continue to deduct their state and local taxes on their federal income tax returns. He also is asking for a fix to continue a credit for post-disaster rebuilding costs.

In a letter Tuesday to House and Senate leadership and the members tasked with melding the two bills together, Issa emphasized that the final bill should not pick winners and losers.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real reprieve from years of heavy-handed, misguided tax policy that has left millions paying more to their government and getting less in return. We must not squander this moment by passing a bill that does not allow all hard-working taxpayers to see relief,” Issa said.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

He showed up at Paris City Hall on Monday on a green bicycle and wearing a green tie to talk climate change with the mayor.

But Arnold Schwarzenegger almost didn’t make the trip from Los Angeles. One of the wildfires scorching Southern California was threatening his home.

“Luckily we have extraordinary firefighters,” he told a group of officials and journalists.

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  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) faces a recall campaign
State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) faces a recall campaign (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State finance officials said Monday it would cost about $2.67 million for a special election on the recall of state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), but only $931,000 to put his potential recall on the regular June primary ballot, which will also feature races for governor and congressional seats.

The savings — and the time it took to complete the financial assessment — could give ammunition to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to put the recall measure on the primary ballot, possibly improving Newman’s chance of staying in office. The higher turnout expected in the primary might benefit Newman as he tries to fend off the Republican recall drive.

The financial analysis was a new requirement of a law approved this year by the Democrat-controlled Legislature that has slowed the Newman recall. Brown and legislators now have 30 days to review the election cost report.

  • 2018 election
Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) speaks in Sacramento in August 2014.
Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) speaks in Sacramento in August 2014. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The special election to replace Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) will be in spring 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday.

Brown said the primary election to replace Bocanegra would be April 3, with a potential runoff to follow June 5 — the same day as the state’s regularly scheduled primary election.

Bocanegra resigned last month amid a sexual misconduct investigation after multiple women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. His resignation, combined with that of Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills) under similar circumstances last week, put Democrats in the Assembly below the two-thirds supermajority threshold needed to pass tax increases and urgency legislation without GOP support. The soonest Democrats could regain that standing is after Bocanegra’s replacement is selected.