Author Isabel Allende, film star Harrison Ford and actor/activist George Takei are among eight inductees to the California Hall of Fame who will be honored Wednesday in a state ceremony at the California Museum.
Gov. Jerry Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown will present each with a Spirit of California medal. Among the other inductees is journalist and former California first lady Maria Shriver, who founded the Hall of Fame in 2006 when Arnold Schwarzenegger, her husband from whom she is separated, was governor.
Since then, 96 people have been honored for making a mark on California history.
The last day of November in an even-numbered year is almost always quiet in the Capitol, but it's a big day according to state law: The end of a two-year legislative session.
Midnight marks what the California Constitution calls sine die, the final official day of the session that began on Dec. 1, 2014. For all 80 members of the Assembly and half of the 40-member Senate, this is the last day of their term in office.
Twenty members are leaving due to term limits. Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) tweeted a goodbye to his constituents.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came to the Senate floor Wednesday to praise his longtime friend and fellow retiring senator, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
The House and Senate are expected to recess for the year next week, and the farewell speeches are beginning for members such as Boxer and Reid, who have worked together in Washington for 34 years.
In a nearly 15-minute speech, Reid praised the California delegation for taking him into its fold when he came to Congress and was the only Democrat representing Nevada. He spoke about Boxer's efforts in preserving the wilderness and protecting Planned Parenthood and their work together with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to protect Lake Tahoe.
Former state Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, the first openly gay person to hold the post and a forceful former labor organizer, said he is considering a run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Politico first reported the news Wednesday.
Perez, who served as speaker from 2010-14 and ran unsuccessfully for state controller two years ago, on Wednesday said party leaders from across the nation have contacted him over the past several weeks to encourage him to run.
With President-elect Donald Trump about to enter the White House and Republicans in control of the Senate and House of Representatives, he said the national Democratic Party could learn from the methods used by California Democrats to win political dominance in the nation’s largest state.
In a 98-96 vote, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) was elected the next vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday, making her the first Latina to ever serve in House leadership.
"We always knew it takes a lot of hard work to get a majority of your colleagues on board with something, I've been working at this for more than a year, worked diligently, and I knew today whatever the outcome, I left it all out on the field," Sanchez said after the vote.
Earlier in the day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco fended off a challenge for her post from a group of younger members, some of whom had grumbled about how long some of the senior members have been in power, and whether newer members of the caucus had a voice.
Several congressional Democrats urged President-elect Donald Trump to protect so-called Dreamers, students and youth who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children, when he takes office next month.
In tweets and Facebook posts, elected officials urged Trump not to reverse President Obama's Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals plan, which put off deportations for Dreamers, as he had promised to do on the campaign trail.
The online campaign uses an image that reads "We are a nation of immigrants" and the hashtag "SaveDACA" in reference to the program.
Senator-elect Kamala Harris is making her first hiring move, announcing Wednesday that her chief deputy in the attorney general's office, Nathan Barankin, will be her chief of staff when she replaces Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in November.
"Nathan has been my trusted advisor and right hand for many years in the Attorney General’s office. He is an exceptional lawyer, legislative expert, and career public servant. He has served three different Attorneys General of California in executive roles and has worked as a constitutional litigator and an advisor to the California Senate leadership for many years. I look forward to continuing to work with Nathan in the United States Senate,” Harris said in a statement.
New senators are sworn in Jan. 3. Harris also announced half a dozen people to help set up her new office, including advisors Debbie Mesloh, Michael Troncoso and Tony West.