Gov. Jerry Brown, state legislators and other state elected officials received a 4% pay raise Monday, months after a citizens panel approved the increase citing California’s improved economy and healthy state budget.
Brown’s salary jumped from $182,789 to $190,100, making him the highest-paid governor in the country. The governor's salary in Pennsylvania is $723 higher than Brown's new paycheck, but Gov. Tom Wolf does not accept the salary.
California legislators already received the highest base salary in the country, but on Monday saw their pay increase from $100,111 to $104,115.
California lawmakers are gearing up to tackle what will be one of the most significant and challenging battles in the 2017 legislative session: reforming the system through which judges award bail to criminal defendants.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Sen. Bob Hertzberg plan to set the stage Monday, when they file bills stating the Legislature’s intent to enact laws that will reduce the jail population and address racial and economic disparities in the process.
Bail reform legislation has failed in California in the past, largely due to heavy opposition from bondsman and insurance companies. But debate over the issue has brewed nationwide in the past two years, and Bonta and Hertzberg said they have energy and a broad, bipartisan coalition of organizations and lawmakers on their side.
After saying Friday he would consider it, Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar has ruled out a bid for the 34th Congressional District seat Rep. Xavier Becerra will vacate if confirmed as the state's next attorney general.
Huizar said in a statement Monday that after discussions with his wife, Richelle, and family he will stay put as a Los Angeles City Council member.
"There is a considerable amount of work for me to complete here locally in the great City of Los Angeles and California. I am grateful for the immense outpouring of support and would like to particularly thank the residents of the 14th District for the incredible work we have accomplished together. The growth and positive change we have seen in our 14th District neighborhoods is the direct result of the strength that comes from our community focused approach," he said.
In a challenge to President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the Mexico border, a California lawmaker said Monday he is introducing a bill that would require the project to first be approved by the state’s voters.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said the legislation is one of three proposals he is introducing as a package called Fight For California. Another bill wouldprohibit state agencies from providing federal entities with information for purposes of compiling a so-called Muslim registry, another Trump proposal.
“We’re not going to allow a wall that harms our environment and our economy,” Lara said in a statement. “We’re not going to allow personal data on individual Californians' religious beliefs to be used to compile an unconstitutional database.”
Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, is jumping into the fray to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra in Congress, he told The Times on Monday.
"After talking it over with my family and supporters, I have decided to run for the 34th Congressional seat," Gomez said in a statement. "I have worked for the people of the 34th District as their State Assemblymember for the past four years. I have fought to ensure everyone – no matter where they live – has access to clean air and water, every worker has a fair and livable wage, and every child can go to college."
"Now more than ever, we need strong valued-based leadership in Washington that will protect our families, friends and neighbors from divisive rhetoric and policies," he said. "I’m ready to stand up and do just that."
California's five incoming House freshmen got their first taste of the frantic pace of life as a member of Congress last month. They just wrapped up two weeks of daylong classes on Capitol Hill learning about cybersecurity, ethics, protocol, how to write legislation and how to manage the budgets for their offices in Washington and back home.
With President-elect Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric on illegal immigration still fresh on their minds, legislative Democrats have readied a pair of proposals they believe will offer some immigrants additional legal help.
The bills, set to be introduced on the first day of the new legislative session Monday, primarily aim to bolster the legal representation of immigrants who are in the country illegally and threatened with deportation. California has no formal role in national immigration policy, but the bills could supercharge the state's role in pushing back against a Trump administration's effort to deport as many as 3 million people living in the United States.
Most sweeping is a bill that would authorize state government grants to nonprofit organizations that provide legal help for immigrants facing deportation. Dubbed "due process for all" in a summary document obtained by The Times, Democrats believe the money could help a significant number of immigrants to successfully challenge deportations.
A union representing some 95,000 state workers has called off plans for a one-day strike, saying that it has "found a pathway forward" in contract negotiations with the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.
The announcement on Friday afternoon by SEIU Local 1000 averted what was shaping up to be a test of wills between state officials — who warned that its members are subject to a no-strike clause — and the politically powerful union.
A spokesman for the union declined to offer any additional details beyond a brief statement from Yvonne Walker, the union's president.
Ahead of next month’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, more than two dozen returning and new Democratic members of the California Senate on Friday asked President Obama to enact a ban on new oil drilling off the state’s coast.
The letter signed by 26 of the 27 members of the new Senate Democratic Caucus that will be in place Monday cites the presidential authority to block new oil and gas drilling under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Last month, the Obama administration said it was banning offshore oil drilling in the Arctic through 2022.