Three weeks after ride-hailing company Uber illegally debuted self-driving cars on San Francisco’s streets, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation to boost penalties on companies that defy the law.
The bill from Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would fine any company that illegally operates such cars up to $25,000 per vehicle per day and prohibit the company from applying for a Department of Motor Vehicles permit to test the technology for two years.
“I applaud our innovation economy and all the companies developing autonomous vehicle technology, but no community should face what we did in San Francisco,” Ting said in a release. “The pursuit of innovation does not include a license to put innocent lives at risk.”
Former L.A. city planning commissioner and longtime Boyle Heights leader Maria Cabildo has announced she's running for Rep. Xavier Becerra's congressional seat.
Cabildo is the 12th person to officially announce a run to succeed Becerra, who is expected to give up the 34th Congressional District seat if confirmed as state attorney general.
"There are definitely a lot of candidates in the field, and I feel the district is really tired of career politicians and candidates that have really carefully crafted their careers around eventually running," Cabildo said. "That hasn't been me; my focus has been on doing work in the community."
In another challenge to the immigration crackdown proposed by President-elect Donald Trump, a California lawmaker proposed Thursday to greatly expand the number of students in the country illegally who can get discounted, in-state resident tuition at state universities.
“Despite national rhetoric, California remains resolute in integrating the most vulnerable into our society,” said state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the bill’s author.
A 2001 law provides in-state tuition if immigrants in the country illegally attend three years of school and get a high school diploma. Otherwise, they face more costly tuition charged to students from out of the country.
State officials have failed to remedy problems that have contributed to a two-year delay for a new computer system and cost increases that are pushing its cost toward $1 billion, State Auditor Elaine Howle warned Thursday.
The system is being built to improve the state’s handling of its finances. The completion date has been pushed back from July 2017 to July 2019 and the total estimated cost has increased $237 million to $910 million, Howle said in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Howle wrote that the project team “has not remedied the project’s significant scheduling slippage,” and the project is “failing to promptly respond to its oversight entities’ concerns and recommendations, many of which have been outstanding for more than a year.”
The outgoing Obama administration on Wednesday tried to nudge forward Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to build two giant north-south water tunnels for California.
In an executive order, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell directed federal wildlife officials on Wednesday to release by Jan. 17 a preliminary environmental opinion that directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to assist as the $15.7-billion project seeks state and federal permits and other approvals.
Brown welcomed Jewell's move, saying in a statement that “it commits the federal government to a timely review” of the proposed tunnels.
California's presidential primary could find itself squarely in the middle of the Super Tuesday political sweepstakes in 2020 under a proposal being introduced this week at the state Capitol.
And while earlier efforts have failed to either influence the outcome of the Democratic or Republican contests or draw high voter turnout, the plan's author thinks times have changed.
"I think there's a yearning and a hunger for actual engagement," said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), the bill's author. "There's not enough discussion of substantive issues that are crucial to Californians."
The race to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra is well underway, with a crowded field still forming and candidates scrambling to campaign and fundraise.
But one candidate vying for the seat won't be campaigning for the rest of the month.
Steven Mac, who entered the race two weeks ago, is leaving Thursday for military training at Fort Benning in Georgia. Mac, an L.A. County prosecutor and Army reservist, has been ordered to attend Airborne School there through Jan. 27.
President Obama told congressional Democrats during a closed-door meeting Wednesday that he's told President-elect Donald Trump about the importance of the program that defers deportation of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The Democrats who persuaded Obama to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and pleaded with him over the last month to find a way to protect the hundreds of thousands of young people in the program from being threatened with deportation, say they're concerned and waiting anxiously to see what the new president will do.
"I still wish that there was an executive order that could guarantee that the private information of the DACA student remains private," said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park). "Just expressing your opinion to Donald Trump doesn't convince me that he would not do something punitive to the Dreamers, especially because he made deporting the mainstay of his election campaign."
Vanessa Aramayo, a former executive director for the California Partnership, a statewide group focused on economic justice, will run for Congress to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) in the 34th Congressional District.
Looks like we have Candidate #11 in CA34: Vanessa Aramayo registered last week with the FEC as a Dem candidate. pic.twitter.com/jzNkBeGpgp
Aramayo, 39, also previously worked for the Council of Mexican Federations, a nonprofit focused on Latino immigrants, and as a staffer in the Assembly and U.S. Congress. She was born and raised in Glendale and lives in Eagle Rock with her husband and twin daughters.
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) wants companies that recruit highly skilled foreign workers to follow new standards aimed at making it more difficult to exploit the visa program that allows them to work in the U.S.
Issa on Wednesday introduced legislation backed by multiple Democrats and Republicans that changes the requirements for the visa program known as H-1B, which was designed so foreign workers with specialty skills can fill jobs in the U.S. when qualified Americans aren't available.
The program is heavily used by technology companies, particularly in Silicon Valley, but Issa said the spirit of the program has been ignored by companies that replace Americans with workers from other countries whom they can pay less.