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268 posts
  • Ballot measures
  • California Legislature
Eric Henry buys gas in Sacramento in March 2014.
Eric Henry buys gas in Sacramento in March 2014. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Most California voters would scrap the higher gas tax and vehicle fees recently approved by the Legislature to provide money to repair the state’s roads and bridges and improve mass transit, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

When asked their preference if the matter were put to a vote today, 54.2% of registered voters surveyed said they would cancel the tax and fee hikes, and 45.8% said they would vote to keep the increases in place. 

The question is timely because two groups are working to put initiatives on the November 2018 ballot that would allow voters to repeal the 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase that took effect this month and motor vehicle fee increases that start next year.

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  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
A panel discussion hosted by the Orange County Young Democrats about sexual harassment within politics.
A panel discussion hosted by the Orange County Young Democrats about sexual harassment within politics. (Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

As Orange County Democrats grapple with sexual harassment allegations that have hit several local leaders, young Democrats in the region gathered this week to discuss how to move forward.

The Orange County Young Democrats, which sponsored a discussion on Wednesday, ignited a firestorm last month after it amplified and commented on allegations local activists had made about Orange County politicos. 

The issue is coming into focus as Democrats are gearing up for big electoral fights in the midterm elections, and as scrutiny of alleged sexual misconduct in Hollywood and political circles intensifies. 

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State Sen. Tony Mendoza
State Sen. Tony Mendoza (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The state Senate Rules Committee said Thursday that an investigation is underway into complaints from former aides to state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) who have alleged that the lawmaker invited home a female legislative fellow who asked for a job.

In addition, Cal State Sacramento, which runs the legislative fellows program, said Thursday it is investigating whether one of its female fellows assigned to the Legislature was sexually harassed.

The Sacramento Bee cited multiple anonymous sources Thursday in reporting that Mendoza had invited the unidentified fellow from his office to review résumés at his home after she asked for a permanent job. The newspaper reported that two Mendoza aides met with Senate Rules Committee staff and detailed allegations that Mendoza engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with the fellow.

  • California Legislature
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) addresses the Senate in Sacramento last year.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) addresses the Senate in Sacramento last year. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and 18 other Democratic state senators are urging congressional leaders to preserve low-income housing funding in any attempt to overhaul the nation's tax system.

"While Californians struggle to make rent and cover basic necessities like food and medical care, we cannot afford to lose the largest program providing affordable housing," said the letter, dated Thursday, to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

The House GOP plan would effectively eliminate part of a tax credit program that reduces what companies owe in taxes in exchange for investing in low-income housing projects. In addition, it would do away with a federal bond program that also funds housing developments. The letter asks Congress to maintain those programs.

  • California in Congress
(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna has endorsed Senate leader Kevin de León's bid for Senate over Sen. Dianne Feinstein, according to De León's campaign.

His endorsement of the challenger isn't unexpected. Khanna had encouraged a challenge to Feinstien as she seeks a fifth full term in the Senate, but it hadn't been clear whether Khanna would support de León or Alison Hartson, who is backed by the progressive group Justice Democrats. Khanna is a member of the group. 

Khanna won his seat in 2016 by challenging an incumbent Democrat and has urged others to do the same, saying “I just think that renewal is good for democracy.”

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

Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer said Thursday that he planned to double his spending on his impeachment campaign against President Trump to $20 million.

“The American people have responded beyond our expectations to this message, and it’s clear we’re giving voice to the deep concerns about this president,” Steyer told reporters on a conference call.

He said that in addition to millions of viewers of the “Need to Impeach” group’s television ad, 1.3 million people have watched the spot on YouTube and 1.9 million have signed a petition calling for the president’s removal from office.

  • California in Congress
(Bill Clark / TNS)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that Democrats want legislation to address the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children before the end of the year, but stopped short of saying she'd block a spending bill to keep the government open if it doesn't happen.

“I’ll have to see what the spending bill is,” Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said. “But I fully intend that we will not leave here without the Dream Act passing, with a DACA fix, and I’ve made that very clear.”

President Trump announced in September he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and gave Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix for recipients. The Dream Act is the Democrats' preferred fix, and it has multiple Republican co-sponsors.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
The neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
The neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Californians could vote on a $1.5-billion bond measure to expand and renovate children's hospitals across the state under a proposed 2018 ballot measure submitted Thursday.

The measure, authored by the California Children's Hospital Assn., would create a fund for children's hospitals in the University of California system or nonprofit hospitals that specialize in children's services to receive grants.

If proponents collect enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, it would join a number of other bonds to be decided next year. Voters in June will decide on a $4-billion bond for water and parks improvements, and in November on a $4-billion bond to fund low-income housing construction. Other groups may consider sponsoring additional bond measures for improvements to water infrastructure.

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  • State government
  • California in Congress
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount)
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Calling out a series of provisions they argue will unfairly target Californians, Assembly Democrats asked the state's congressional leaders Thursday not to "rush to pass legislation" overhauling federal tax policy.

"Better to give Californians legislation they can be thankful for than to rush to pass legislation by Thanksgiving," said the letter signed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) and the entire Democratic caucus.

The letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Sacramento and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill consider moving the current proposal forward for a vote before the end of the month.

  • California in Congress

California's Republican members may have hoped the Senate tax bill unveiled Thursday would revive the popular deductions for all state income and property taxes, but it doesn't.

Getting rid of state and local tax deductions is a blow to residents of high tax states, including California, where 1 in 3 people claim the deduction.

California's 14 Republicans weren't part of a recent compromise between House leaders and New York and New Jersey lawmakers to preserve the property tax portion of the deduction, capped at $10,000 per household. That deal helped East Coast states with high property taxes, but didn't do much for Californians, where property taxes are lower.