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(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California's teachers pension fund will consider canceling its investments in national retail companies selling guns and ammunition banned in the state after Treasurer John Chiang argued for action following last month's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

"Neither taxpayer funds, nor the pension contributions of any of the teachers we represent, including the three California teachers slain in Las Vegas, should be invested in the purveyors of banned military-style assault weapons," Chiang said during an investment committee meeting of the California State Teachers' Retirement System, or CalSTRS, on Wednesday.

Chiang, who sits on the board of both of California's major public pension funds, brought with him the brother of a woman killed during the Oct. 1 mass shooting at the outdoor concert in Las Vegas where 58 people were killed.

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  • 2018 election
(Los Angeles Times)

Today's Essential Politics newsletter takes a look at the dramatic developments in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election -- and where prosecutors might turn next.

We also highlight California's new, higher gas tax, which kicked in at midnight. Republicans are ready to pounce on it as a major issue in congressional and legislative campaigns across the state in 2018.

The newsletter comes out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Are you a subscriber? Sign up below.

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  • Ballot measures
  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A state gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon kicks in today, and while the immediate impact will mean less money in motorists’ wallets, the long-term political fallout could roll into next year, when the higher levies are expected to be an issue in elections across California.

The tax and a new vehicle fee are part of a transportation package approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in April. Republicans are rallying to try to attack the new law — two possible ballot initiatives aim to repeal the new tax. 

Here are five things you should know about the tax increases taking effect today:

  • California in Congress
President Trump has nominated McGregor W. Scott to return to the post of U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California
President Trump has nominated McGregor W. Scott to return to the post of U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

President Trump on Wednesday nominated McGregor W. Scott to be the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Scott is currently a partner in the Sacramento office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where his focus is white collar criminal defense and corporate investigations.

If confirmed by the Senate, it would be Scott's second stint in the position, which he previously held from 2003 to 2009.

  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Senate candidate Kevin de León mischaracterized Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s environmental record on Tuesday in a fundraising plea to supporters.

In the email, De León wrote that he was “so disappointed” that Feinstein was not among 19 senators who sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency last week opposing the repeal of a federal policy that sought to reduce power plant emissions.

"California needs two senators who will stand up to the Trump administration and protect our environment and values. Will you help make that happen?" he wrote.

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