Continuing his tradition of giving pre-Christmas reprieves, Gov. Jerry Brown granted 112 pardons and commuted one sentence on Friday.
The pardons were granted mostly to individuals convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes who have since completed their sentences.
Since 2011, Brown has granted 854 pardons and two commutations, according to the governor's office. That far exceeds recent predecessors such as former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who granted 15 pardons; Gov. Gray Davis, who granted zero pardons; and Gov. Pete Wilson, who granted 13.
California lawmakers say they are trying to address an unintended consequence of making theft and drug crimes misdemeanors: a drop in the collection of DNA evidence they say is hurting cold-case investigations.
A bill reintroduced by Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) would order investigators to gather swab samples, blood specimens and fingerprints from people convicted of certain misdemeanors. Current law requires law enforcement to gather such evidence only from felons.
Supporters of Assembly Bill 16 point out that many of the crimes listed were considered felonies before Proposition 47 downgraded drug possession and some theft charges. But civil rights advocates say the proposal could have serious privacy implications.
Going forward, I intend to remain very involved in the issues we face, and like all your readers, I will rely on the work you do every single day. As we march into uncharted territory with a new president-elect who has never held elected office — and who at times has threatened the media — the role of the free press is more important than ever.
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson is once more seeking to extend family leave laws to some of the smallest businesses in California — and this time she hopes to give families more protected time off.
Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has reintroduced the New Parents Leave Act, which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed last legislative session, citing concern over the proposal's effect on small businesses and the liability issues it could raise.
Senate Bill 63, which is substantially similar to its predecessor, would allow parents at companies with 20 to 49 employees to take time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child without fear of losing their jobs. But the new version of the act would grant parents a period of 12 weeks protected job leave instead of six.
Winning a seat representing a California congressional district is not a cheap endeavor.
In the last two years, more than $150 million was spent trying to help or hurt the candidates running for one of California’s 53 seats in the House of Representatives.
Most of that money — about $117 million — was spent by the candidates’ own committees, while an additional $35 million poured in from outside groups looking to influence the outcome of a few key races.
Former White House staffer Alejandra Campoverdi has entered the race to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).
Campoverdi, a former employee of the Los Angeles Times, said in an interview that her California upbringing and experience in Washington make her well-suited to represent the 34th Congressional District.
"I have a personal connection to the struggles of the people in this district, and I know how Washington works," said Campoverdi, 37, who grew up in Santa Monica. "I was raised by a single mother who emigrated from Mexico and by my grandmother. Every day I saw the sacrifices they made for our family and for the community."
The number of candidates fighting to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra is now at nine, with L.A. County prosecutor Steven Mac the latest to jump in.
Mac, 35, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. He previously lived in Glendale, but moved to Eagle Rock this week due to rising rent, he said.
In an interview, Mac said that he was running to "hold the [Trump] administration accountable for the truth" and that his past experience as an active-duty Army intelligence officer and Judge Advocate General's Corps officer has helped him prepare for that.
Los Angeles County had more cases of politicians and others successfully prosecuted for violating campaign finance and ethics rules than any other county in California this year, the state Fair Political Practices Commission reported Tuesday.
The agency prosecuted 72 cases this year from Los Angeles County, many more than the 23 in Santa Clara County, the second-highest number of violations among the 58 counties. The FPPC prosecuted 13 cases each in Orange and Ventura counties, 12 in Kern County, seven in Riverside County and six in San Bernardino County, according to an interactive map posted by the state ethics watchdog agency.
“We are always striving to improve our technology to increase transparency,” said FPPC Chair Jodi Remke. “The heat map will help inform voters and strengthen accountability.”
The investment committee of California's largest pension fund took action Tuesday to lower long-term investment projections beginning next summer, a decision requiring larger annual contributions from taxpayers.
The proposal will be considered by the full board of directors of the California Public Employees Retirement Fund, CalPERS, on Wednesday. The proposal would take three years to fully implement, lowering the official rate of return on pension investments from the current 7.5% to 7%.
Ted Eliopoulos, the chief investment officer of CalPERS, told directors that the pension fund needs "additional cash to close the growing gap between benefits going out, and contributions coming in."