Two years ago, Holly J. Mitchell stood on the state Senate floor and, in a crisp, deliberate voice, laced into the budget that her fellow Democrats were poised to approve.
The plan “picks winners and losers,” the state senator from Los Angeles said. “It appears to me that poor people in California and their children continue to be on the losing end of that equation.”
Mitchell had never been shy in urging her colleagues to do more for the poor. But this time, she went even further — withholding her support when the bill came to a vote, a flagrant violation of an unwritten legislative rule among the Capitol’s ruling Democrats that could best be described as “thou shalt not defect on a budget vote.”
A Los Angeles artist has proposed a new ballot initiative to add protections for gender identity to the California Constitution.
Illma Gore submitted paperwork to the state attorney general on Monday proposing a ballot initiative to add a new section to the state Constitution declaring "free exercise and enjoyment of gender identity without discrimination or preference are guaranteed."
The initiative is dubbed the Gender Identity Liberty and Freedom Act.
Tens of thousands of rape kits are sitting untested in evidence locker rooms across the country. But no one knows exactly how many, and police and sheriff's departments rarely track the reasons why the exams go unanalyzed.
A bill authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would require local law enforcement agencies in California to report information on their rape kit evidence to the state Department of Justice through a database within 120 days of the collection of a sample.
Chiu said the improved recording would help policymakers assess which departments need resources to tackle their backlogs, and provide greater transparency around an intrusive procedure that lasts hours.
The California Highway Patrol would form a task force to develop methods for identifying when drivers are impaired by marijuana or prescription drugs, under legislation that moved forward on Tuesday.
The study would also look at technology for measuring impairment by the chemical THC, under legislation proposed by the California Police Chiefs Assn. and introduced by Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale).
“The bill, AB 6, is a reasonable approach forward to address our fight against drugged driving,” said Lackey, a retired CHP sergeant. “The urgency of this should be very clear to all of us.”
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Monday pledged a nonpartisan review into actions taken last week by Democratic leaders to remove Sen. Janet Nguyen from the house floor, saying he was troubled and unsettled by the tense events that unfolded.
"Members, last Thursday was not one of the finest moments of the Senate," he said. "As the leader of this body, I take full responsibility for what transpired and in making sure that it never happens again."
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday against the state for continuing to demand the removal of a blog post that listed the home addresses of legislators who voted for California's newest gun control measures.
Last year, the blog published the names, home addresses and home phone numbers of 40 legislators who voted for a package of gun control measures in June, saying the lawmakers “decided to make you a criminal if you don’t abide by their dictates. So below is the current tyrant registry.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said on Monday he had seen no evidence from the intelligence community that there was contact between Russia and the Trump campaign.
"I want to be very careful; we can't just go on a witch hunt against Americans because they appear in a news story," said Nunes (R-Tulare). "We still don't have any evidence of them talking to Russia."
He said the committee had been briefed on the "highlights" of what the intelligence community had found but was still collecting evidence.