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California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday to support mandatory union fees for public employees.

The brief was filed in opposition to the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees to a union that supports collective bargaining that affects him. His case is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Becerra’s brief asserts that collective bargaining serves important state interests and that cost-sharing among employees represented by the union is an integral part of the collective bargaining system.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
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  • Governor's race
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (Jenna Schoenefeld / For The Times)

The California Professional Firefighters on Friday endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor, praising Newsom’s support for firefighters while he served as mayor of San Francisco.

The union, which represents 30,000 first responders in California, also took a subtle shot at one of Newsom’s Democratic rivals in the governor’s race, Antonio Villaraigosa. While Villaraigosa served as mayor of Los Angeles, the city fire department underwent a period of steep budget cuts and staff reductions as the city struggled financially during the recession, drawing criticism from the city’s firefighters union.

“At a time when California faces a grave and growing threat from fire and other natural disaster, it’s essential that the next governor offer more than lip service to public safety,” Lou Paulson, president of California Professional Firefighters, said in a statement released Friday. “Throughout his public life, Gavin Newsom has built a record of standing up for public safety and the men and women on the front lines, even in tough times. He has earned our endorsement.”

  • State government
A customer test sniffs the cannabis at the MedMen dispensary in West Hollywood this month.
A customer test sniffs the cannabis at the MedMen dispensary in West Hollywood this month. (Eugene Garcia/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

A citizens panel that is helping to set rules for the marijuana industry in California has agreed to examine the impact of taxes that some growers and sellers have complained are too high.

The state Cannabis Advisory Committee, after lengthy debate, also decided Thursday to create a subcommittee to look into how legalized marijuana affects public health and young people.

Three weeks after the state began permitting medical and recreational marijuana firms, some 710 licenses have been issued by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control for distribution and sale, and 2,036 other applications are pending.

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(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave conflicting signals Thursday about how she will vote on a short-term spending bill to keep the government open.

The bill passed the house Thursday evening but will face a tighter margin in the Senate, where Republicans need at least some Democrats’ votes to get the 60 needed to pass the bill.

On Tuesday, Feinstein’s staff said she planned to vote “no” unless Congress reaches a deal to address the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children. And Thursday morning, Feinstein’s office released a statement affirming that position.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) “couldn’t be happier” with a comprehensive rewrite of the law governing how Capitol Hill handles sexual harassment complaints.

Under the bipartisan proposal unveiled Thursday, taxpayers would not pay to settle lawmakers’ sexual harassment complaints.

Responding to a series of high-profile accusations last fall, Congress is fast-tracking legislation to simplify the convoluted process Capitol Hill staffers are required to go through to report sexual harassment.

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  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) speaks at the Capitol in 2017.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) speaks at the Capitol in 2017. (Rich Pedroncelli)

Two Democratic state assemblymen want to raise the state’s business taxes in response to President Trump’s federal tax overhaul.

Assemblymen Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Phil Ting of San Francisco introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 22 Thursday that would raise corporate taxes on California companies with revenues higher than $1 million. The state tax hike would be for an amount equivalent to half what they received from the federal tax cut.

“I’ve seen enough billionaire justice in the first 11 months of this presidency to last my lifetime,” McCarty said in a statement. “At a time when reckless federal tax policy favors billionaires over middle-class workers, ACA 22 will help ensure that California can continue to grow and support middle-class families throughout the state.”

  • California in Congress

With less than 36 hours to go before the federal government could shut down, seven Californians who were brought to the country illegally as children sat down in a U.S. Capitol hallway and began to scream.

“McCarthy! Where is your heart?” they yelled as they waved red banners. Capitol police officers quickly swarmed outside the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and escorted the still-shouting “Dreamers” out of the building.

Time is ticking down to when the government’s legal authority to spend money runs out at midnight Friday. And there is less and less of a chance that Congress will include a legislative fix for the so-called Dreamers in whatever stopgap measure lawmakers try to pass to stave off a shutdown.