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Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

On the eve of President Trump’s first visit to California since he took office, a state lawmaker says he wants to deny state tax breaks to companies that contract or subcontract to build the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who wields substantial influence in the creation of state tax policy as Assembly budget committee chairman, has been among the vocal opponents to the border wall, calling it counterproductive to the state’s economic growth and “a symbol of weakness and hate to the world.”

He plans to present his proposal to an Assembly committee on Monday, and the bill is expected in print next week. It would prevent companies that profit from the wall’s construction from receiving some tax credits, such as those given for hiring new employees, buying or using certain manufacturing and research equipment or for promoting alternative energy and advanced transportation.

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  • California Legislature
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) has agreed to pay fines for campaign finance reporting violations.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) has agreed to pay fines for campaign finance reporting violations. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) has agreed to pay $4,000 in fines to the state’s campaign watchdog agency for failing to properly disclose contributions made and received by her 2014 campaign for the Legislature, according to documents released Monday.

Weber didn’t immediately report an $8,200 contribution to her campaign from the United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund and did not report, within 24 hours as required, five other contributions that happened close to the election, including $34,000 her campaign gave to the California Democratic Party, according to an investigative report by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.

“The public harm inherent in the failure to file 24-hour reports is that the public is deprived of important, time-sensitive information regarding political contributions and expenditures,” said the FPPC report. “In the case of 24-hour reports, the reportable activity is meant to be disclosed to the public before the election.”

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra
Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Associated Press)

The official title for Proposition 70, a ballot measure laying out rules for future climate change revenues collected by the state, must be rewritten after a Sacramento judge agreed with a Republican lawmaker that voters in June would otherwise be misled.

Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) filed the lawsuit last week calling the ballot title “both wrong and highly prejudicial” for the proposed amendment to the California Constitution. Mayes was the GOP leader of the Assembly during last year’s negotiation over extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, which passed the Legislature with support from eight Republican lawmakers.

Proposition 70 would require the Legislature to take a one-time vote in 2024 on how revenues collected from cap-and-trade are spent. Those dollars come from companies that pay money for any emissions beyond the "cap" imposed by state regulators. Revenues collected from those emission allowances have added up to almost $5 billion to date. The spending plan would require a supermajority vote in both the state Senate and Assembly.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
(Cristobal Herrera / Associated Press)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed John Cox’s California gubernatorial campaign on Monday.

"As a lifelong conservative and taxpayer advocate, John Cox will put California on the road back to lower taxes, fiscal accountability and individual liberty,” Gingrich said in a statement. “He is the person we need to rescue California from decades of radical, left-wing policies."

Gingrich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012 and is an ally of President Trump, is the most prominent Republican to endorse a GOP candidate in the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown.

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The use of bots to meddle in political elections. Algorithms that learn who people are and keep them coming back to social media platforms. The rise of autonomous vehicles and drones that could displace hundreds of thousands of workers.

Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his final State of the State address.
Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his final State of the State address. (Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee)

Seeking to capitalize on President Trump’s pledges to focus on the nation’s infrastructure, Gov. Jerry Brown is urging the president to consider California’s high-speed rail efforts as part of his first official visit to the Golden State.

“You have lamented that ‘we don’t have one fast train’ in our country,” Brown wrote in a Monday letter to Trump. “Well, Mr. Trump, in California we are trying to fix that. We have a world-class train system under construction. We invite you to come aboard and truly ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Trump’s visit on Tuesday is scheduled to focus on a review near San Diego of prototypes for his promised border wall, followed by a Beverly Hills fundraiser for the Republican National Committee. A spokesman for Brown said the governor is not planning to greet the president on his arrival or accompany him on the border wall inspection.

Antonio Villaraigosa thinks he has a solid weapon to hammer Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom with as they run for governor. And he probably does.

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  • U.S. Senate race
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

The deadline came and went, and no prominent Republicans filed to run against Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, meaning for the second election in a row there will be two Democrats facing each other in a race at the top of the ballot in California. 

Feinstein, 84, is seeking her fifth full term. She will have 31 opponents on the June 5 primary, with one serious contender, a Democrat, taking most of her attention and showing up in polls.

California has a top-two primary system, which means the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party. In 2016, a handful of Republican candidates in the top of the pack split the GOP vote, and sent then-Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat, to the general election with Democrat Kamala Harris, who won the race. It was the first time two Democrats ran against each other statewide.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) talks with voters at a tea party group. Four Democrats and one Republican have filed to run against him.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) talks with voters at a tea party group. Four Democrats and one Republican have filed to run against him. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Democrats may have added both the 4th and 22nd congressional districts to their California target list, but they face an uphill battle where Republicans hold a large voter registration advantage and where President Trump won by a large margin. Still, several candidates are banking on a wave election to attempt to oust sitting Republicans.

Rep. Tom McClintock’s 4th Congressional District wasn’t initially on the radar, but unexpectedly strong fundraising by two Democrats prompted Times editors to recently add the race as No. 10 on the ranking of the most competitive House races.

Local Democrats have been particularly enthusiastic about their chances, and five people have filed to run against McClintock, 61, a conservative fifth-term congressman who lives in Elk Grove.