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Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The director of a program that assigns fellows to work in the state Senate has been placed on indefinite leave just days after allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a young woman in the program were leveled against state Sen. Tony Mendoza by Capitol staffers. 

“David Pacheco, director of Sacramento State’s Senior Fellows Progam, has been placed on indefinite leave,” the university said in a statement. “Because this is a personnel issue, the university has no further comment.”

Former employees of Mendoza's office complained to Senate officials that Mendoza inappropriately invited a young woman in the program to his house after hours with an offer to help her work on her résumé. Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia, said he offered to help the fellow find a job, but did not do anything inappropriate.

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) stood up at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans this week and urged colleagues to “leave no taxpayer behind” as they weigh the tax bill scheduled to come before them Thursday.

His concerns drew the attention of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who later spoke privately with him. McClintock remains unconvinced.

“I’m still awaiting a satisfactory assurance that the end product will not do harm to American families,” he said.

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  • California in Congress
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine)
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

California's 14 House Republicans are under intense pressure: Failure or success of the GOP tax bill in Thursday's scheduled vote may depend on them.

The bill tightens the mortgage interest and the state and local tax deductions, both of which are used widely in California and other high tax states. So far, eight of the California Republicans are solid yes votes. Only Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has said he will oppose the bill, while four are still undecided and one is leaning toward voting yes.

Rep. Mimi Walters, whose Irvine district is considered vulnerable to flipping in next year's midterm election, said Wednesday that House leaders have assured her they will address concerns about the mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions when a final bill is negotiated between the House and Senate.

  • State government
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and other large law enforcement agencies across California will soon begin collecting racial and other demographic data when they stop drivers and pedestrians. The new program will begin in July, as outlined by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra's final regulations released Wednesday.

The data collection is an effort to identify and prevent police racial profiling, and Becerra said it would improve relations between peace officers and the people they serve.

"Trust is the glue that makes the relationship between law enforcement and the community work,” Becerra said in a statement. “This new data collection and reporting process is meant to strengthen, and in some cases repair, that trust."

  • State government
The California Capitol in Sacramento.
The California Capitol in Sacramento. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

California's tax collection agency is plagued by widespread nepotism, with 835 employees, or 17.5% of the office’s workforce, related by blood, adoption, marriage or cohabitation, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.

The investigation by the state Personnel Board found that before its recent reorganization, the state Board of Equalization had 4,767 employees, several of whom were related and working in the same departments or divisions.

“There was no process for identifying and tracking employees who were related to each other by blood, adoption, marriage, and/or cohabitation,” personnel officials concluded.

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  • California in Congress
(Olamikan Gbemiga / Associated Press)

Rep. Darrell Issa encouraged female members of Congress to “name names” of members who have sexually harassed Capitol Hill staff.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) this week testified that staffers have told her of two sitting members of Congress who sexually harassed them. Speier has refused to name the members, saying she is protecting the victims.

“If she has an ethics complaint, then she has an obligation to take that ethics complaint to the appropriate committee of Congress, and if it’s ... necessary to go public, she should go fully public. And I don’t know why she hasn’t as of this moment. Perhaps she’s hoping they will become public on their own; I don’t know,” Issa (R-Vista) said.

  • California in Congress
Rep. Leo J. Ryan, right, consultant James Schollart, left, and aide Jackie Speier on a fact finding mission to Guyana on Nov. 18, 1978.
Rep. Leo J. Ryan, right, consultant James Schollart, left, and aide Jackie Speier on a fact finding mission to Guyana on Nov. 18, 1978. (AP Photo)

The private space that House Democrats use during votes to have conversations, do interviews or relax is now the Gabrielle Giffords-Leo J. Ryan Cloakroom. It was renamed Wednesday for two Democrats shot while serving constituents.

Ryan, a Democrat who represented a San Francisco-area district, was shot to death by members of the Rev. Jim Jones' People's Temple cult in 1978 while on a fact-finding mission to investigate the cult in Guyana. Later the same day, hundreds of People's Temple members committed mass suicide in what is known as the Jonestown Massacre.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), an intern and staffer for Ryan, was also shot and left for dead when Ryan was killed.

  • California Republicans
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Misha Japaridze / Associated Press)

Orange County Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce aren't ready to take a position on the House GOP tax bill they are scheduled to vote on Thursday.

Both Republicans represent constituents who could take big financial hits under the House tax bill. They also represent districts the Democrats are attempting to flip in the 2018 midterm. 

Rohrabacher, of Costa Mesa, said Tuesday he's still weighing the decision.

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