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  • 2018 governor's race
Treasurer John Chiang, left, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Treasurer John Chiang, left, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Los Angeles Times)

Home to a quarter of California’s 5.2 million registered voters, Los Angeles County is the biggest prize in California’s 2018 race for governor. 

For two hometown Democratic candidates especially — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang of Torrance — doing well in L.A. County is essential if they hope to best the front-runner, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Yet this overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold continually bedevils even the most adept campaigns.

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  • 2018 governor's race
Treasurer John Chiang, left, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Treasurer John Chiang, left, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Los Angeles Times)

Home to a quarter of California’s 5.2 million registered voters, Los Angeles County is the biggest prize in California’s 2018 race for governor. 

For two hometown Democratic candidates especially — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang of Torrance — doing well in L.A. County is essential if they hope to best the front-runner, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Yet this overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold continually bedevils even the most adept campaigns.

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  • California Legislature
Carolyn Angela Chen, a registered nurse, gives a free hepatitis A vaccination to Glenn Gardner, 52, at Joshua House Clinic
Carolyn Angela Chen, a registered nurse, gives a free hepatitis A vaccination to Glenn Gardner, 52, at Joshua House Clinic (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

California officials are bracing for healthcare battles in Washington to have a major impact on the state’s budget and programs. Activists and politicians are planning a showdown over whether or not to establish a single-payer healthcare system in the state. And prescription drug manufacturers are the target of a number of bills meant to target the rising costs of medication.

Sound familiar? Turns out the brewing healthcare battles in California in 2018 aren’t all that different from those from 2017.

Here’s a primer on the upcoming healthcare agenda in California:

  • Congressional races
  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
Activists with several California groups rally outside Rep. Mimi Walters' Irvine office.
Activists with several California groups rally outside Rep. Mimi Walters' Irvine office. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Now that the year of the midterm election has arrived, the battles will start to pick up speed as Democrats try to reclaim control of the House.

The path to the 24 seats Democrats need passes through California — and that means they need to win at least a handful of the Republican seats they hope to flip.

As the contests take shape, we’re watching a few things to get a sense of what the 2018 election might bring.

  • California Legislature
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

With federal regulation rollbacks and a rise in data breaches, California lawmakers this year are looking for ways to protect consumers and their personal information. 

Some legislation under consideration could give people more notice and control over what data is collected, without having to pay for privacy or better services. Other bills could provide free credit freezes for consumers and require new privacy features for products that connect to the internet.

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  • California Legislature
The Main Street offramp from the Southbound 5 in L.A. in June 2015.
The Main Street offramp from the Southbound 5 in L.A. in June 2015. (Los Angeles Times)

The new year brings with it new vehicle fees in California ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of your car, but Republican lawmakers are hoping to qualify a ballot measure in November to repeal the higher charges.

The fees and a 12-cent increase in California’s gas tax last year are part of a plan by Democrats to raise more than $5.2 billion annually to deal with a backlog of road and bridge repairs.

Petitions to qualify a repeal initiative are circulating now.

  • California Legislature
The Main Street offramp from the Southbound 5 in L.A. in June 2015.
The Main Street offramp from the Southbound 5 in L.A. in June 2015. (Los Angeles Times)

The new year brings with it new vehicle fees in California ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of your car, but Republican lawmakers are hoping to qualify a ballot measure in November to repeal the higher charges.

The fees and a 12-cent increase in California’s gas tax last year are part of a plan by Democrats to raise more than $5.2 billion annually to deal with a backlog of road and bridge repairs.

Petitions to qualify a repeal initiative are circulating now.

  • California Legislature
A new-home community in Anaheim in 2016
A new-home community in Anaheim in 2016 (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers aren’t wasting any time in tackling one of the most contentious issues in state housing politics this year.

On Jan. 11, the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee is set to hold a hearing on legislation that could lead to a dramatic expansion of rent control policies across the state. 

The debate over rent control could spill over onto the 2018 ballot, where Californians also could see proposals to expand or curtail the property tax restrictions ushered in 40 years ago by Proposition 13.

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Members of Congress, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), front center, leave the Capitol following passage of tax reform.
Members of Congress, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), front center, leave the Capitol following passage of tax reform. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

California’s 55 members of Congress make up the largest and most diverse delegation in the country.

From favorite movies to military commendations, check out our list of six things you may not know about them:

Members of Congress, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), front center, leave the Capitol following passage of tax reform.
Members of Congress, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), front center, leave the Capitol following passage of tax reform. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

California’s 55 members of Congress make up the largest and most diverse delegation in the country.

From favorite movies to military commendations, check out our list of six things you may not know about them: