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State Treasurer John Chiang
State Treasurer John Chiang (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The tax plan authored by House GOP leaders would wipe out billions of dollars in funding for low-income housing in California, according to a Friday letter to Congress authored by State Treasurer John Chiang and lawmakers.

Under the GOP's tax proposal unveiled yesterday, part of a tax credit program that reduces what companies owe in taxes in exchange for investing in low-income housing projects would effectively be eliminated, and so would a federal bond program that also funds housing developments. 

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  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 governor's race
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday that California must take substantive action to address the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the state. 

“My grandpa came from Mexico, a country of rich and poor, 100 years ago. That’s what we’re becoming today, a country of rich and poor,” the former Los Angeles mayor told a gathering of civic and business leaders at the California Economic Summit.

“If California is going to resist, as I hear so many people talk about, the best way to resist is to do a better job addressing the housing needs of the state, the healthcare needs of the state and the fact so many people don’t have good jobs to live a better life.”

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  • California in Congress
Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris walk together toward the Senate chamber.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris walk together toward the Senate chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California's senators announced support Friday for a bill to change a decades-old internet freedom law in order to give states more power to go after online sex traffickers.

In a joint statement, Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein of California and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada said:
 
“Sex trafficking is a despicable crime that is too often facilitated by nefarious websites like Backpage. These companies knowingly profit off the pain of others and must be held accountable. This legislation ensures victims receive their day in court and empowers state attorneys general to seek justice. We applaud the hard work of the bill’s authors and are proud to join in support.”

Feinstein and Harris were not among the original co-sponsors of the bill, and in September indicated they were awaiting tweaks to the measure's wording before supporting it. After some relatively minor changes, the Internet Assn., which represents Facebook, Google, Amazon and other major tech companies, also announced its support for the bill Friday.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Pope Francis might support the fight against global warming, but he hasn’t been a fan of cap-and-trade programs like the one in California, which was extended in July by state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown. 

“It may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors,” he wrote in 2015.

So while attending a forum on climate change at the Vatican on Friday, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León explained why he thinks the policy has worked. In particular, he highlighted how California has been funneling cap-and-trade revenue into low-income, polluted communities. 

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  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 governor's race
(Christina House / For The Times)

Gubernatorial candidate John Chiang on Friday defended a website he launched attacking opponent Gavin Newson’s record, saying it was important for voters to learn the facts about the candidates in the race.

“I think it’s important that people have a good, strong perspective about everybody’s work and activities, so we thought we wanted to make sure people understood my background, my claims and what other candidates are also offering,” Chiang, who is state treasurer, told reporters.

The website, www.gavinfacts.com, features a San Francisco Weekly article critical of Newsom’s tenure as mayor of San Francisco and a link to Chiang’s campaign website page about his accomplishments.

  • California in Congress
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier)
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

One California congresswoman and three former members of the California congressional delegation have recounted stories of sexual harassment by other members of Congress.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) told the Associated Press about being propositioned by a male congressman. Former Sen. Barbara Boxer and former Reps. Mary Bono and Hilda Solis told similar stories. None named the members of Congress, though two are reportedly still serving.

Stories of sexual harassment have popped up in several industries in the weeks since a New York Times story detailed sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

  • State government
Spencer Blackwell, left, and Danielle Tate stand outside Tate's father's Santa Rosa home.
Spencer Blackwell, left, and Danielle Tate stand outside Tate's father's Santa Rosa home. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

State law provides plenty of property tax protections for people who lose their home in a wildfire.

Under Proposition 13, tearing down your old house and building a new one would normally result in a full reassessment of your property and therefore a higher tax bill.

But after a disaster, those rules don't apply. Instead, affected homeowners are able to delay paying their taxes, receive temporary lower tax rates while they rebuild and maintain their previous tax rate even if they move to a new home.

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  • State government
An aerial view shows the remains of the Coffey Park neighborhood destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa.
An aerial view shows the remains of the Coffey Park neighborhood destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the federal government to provide $7.4 billion to help Northern California recover from recent devastating wildfires.

The fires, which ripped through the state's wine country last month, killed 43 people and demolished 8,800 homes and commercial structures.

"The fires directly impacted eight counties and three Tribal Nations," Brown wrote in a letter Friday to President Trump. "The full economic impact to the agricultural, tourism, hospitality and wine industries is still not known. Nine California wineries were destroyed and 21 were damaged in the nation's most prominent winemaking region."