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(Bill Clark / TNS)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that Democrats want legislation to address the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children before the end of the year, but stopped short of saying she'd block a spending bill to keep the government open if it doesn't happen.

“I’ll have to see what the spending bill is,” Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said. “But I fully intend that we will not leave here without the Dream Act passing, with a DACA fix, and I’ve made that very clear.”

President Trump announced in September he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and gave Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix for recipients. The Dream Act is the Democrats' preferred fix, and it has multiple Republican co-sponsors.

  • California Legislature
A motorist prepares to gas up her vehicle in San Rafael, Calif., in 2015.
A motorist prepares to gas up her vehicle in San Rafael, Calif., in 2015. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Paid signature-gatherers for a ballot measure that would repeal gas tax increases may be hard to find on the streets of California this week.

Organizers say it's not a money issue, adding that they needed to briefly halt paid signature-gathering to catch up on collecting petitions from volunteers.

The petition drive has so far collected more than 327,800 verified signatures of the 587,407 needed to qualify the measure for the November ballot, according to Dave Gilliard, the political strategist behind the drive.

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Workers at Torrey Holistics, a San Diego marijuana dispensary.
Workers at Torrey Holistics, a San Diego marijuana dispensary.

The state has issued 104 licenses for retail stores to sell marijuana for recreational use in California and 239 other applications for those permits are pending, officials said Tuesday.

An official with the state Bureau of Cannabis Control added that the agency is prepared to begin taking enforcement action against pot shops that are not properly licensed.

“The bureau’s enforcement team is ready to respond to any complaints it receives and start doing compliance checks and site visits at any time,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the  bureau.

The front of the AB 60 license.
The front of the AB 60 license. (Courtesy: California Department of Motor Vehicles)

The California Research Bureau on Tuesday released its first report on incidents of discrimination under a 2015 state law that has provided driver’s licenses for hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally. 

Researchers found no complaints have been made against government agencies tasked with enforcing anti-discrimination laws. But two possible instances of discrimination were reported in focus group interviews conducted by Drive California, a coalition of advocates studying the impact of the new law.

In one case, a woman in Fresno was told her license was not a valid form of identification at a retail store, though it was unclear “whether the incident reflected intentional discrimination or simple ignorance of the license marking,” the report states.

More than half of hotel workers surveyed report being sexually harassed at some point.
More than half of hotel workers surveyed report being sexually harassed at some point. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Alarmed by a survey indicating sexual harassment of hotel housekeepers is widespread, a California state lawmaker on Tuesday proposed requiring employers to provide “panic button” devices to their employees so they can summon help if abused by a guest.

The bill to be introduced Wednesday by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) would also require individual hotels to impose a three-year ban on guests who engage in harassment on the property.

“We want to protect our most vulnerable women  workers, hotel maids who are going into rooms alone, from sexual harassment,” said Muratsuchi, who co-authored the bill with Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward).

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  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 governor's race
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race

Get ready, California. What had been a behind-the-scenes dash for cash closely watched by few other than political observers is about to burst into public view.

Voters this year will decide who will succeed Democrat Jerry Brown as the next governor and whether they will send Sen. Dianne Feinstein back to Washington.

Before the June 5 primary, candidates will ramp up their campaigns with messages on television and stuffed into mailboxes. Here’s a primer on the state’s two marquee races.

  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 governor's race
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Clockwise from upper left: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang. Kevin de León, Dianne Feinstein and Delaine Eastin.
Clockwise from upper left: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang. Kevin de León, Dianne Feinstein and Delaine Eastin. (Los Angeles Times)

It’s up to a few thousand California Democratic Party delegates to decide whether the state party endorses candidates at its February convention in San Diego — a nod that could come with millions of dollars of support.

But this month, California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman sent a letter to statewide candidates urging them not to seek the state party endorsement in February, prompting allegations that he was trying to silence dissenting voices. Bauman said his letter was simply meant to stave off disunity at the convention.

The dispute over endorsements is the latest battle between Bauman and those who backed his rival, Kimberly Ellis, in a bitter leadership contest in the spring that was decided by a handful of votes and resulted in a recount. Party delegates split into establishment and grass-roots factions, aligning themselves with Bauman and Ellis respectively, mirroring the divide among Democrats in deciding between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary.

  • 2018 governor's race
Treasurer John Chiang, left, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Treasurer John Chiang, left, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, center, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Los Angeles Times)

Home to a quarter of California’s 5.2 million registered voters, Los Angeles County is the biggest prize in California’s 2018 race for governor. 

For two hometown Democratic candidates especially — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang of Torrance — doing well in L.A. County is essential if they hope to best the front-runner, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Yet this overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold continually bedevils even the most adept campaigns.

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  • California Legislature
Carolyn Angela Chen, a registered nurse, gives a free hepatitis A vaccination to Glenn Gardner, 52, at Joshua House Clinic
Carolyn Angela Chen, a registered nurse, gives a free hepatitis A vaccination to Glenn Gardner, 52, at Joshua House Clinic (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

California officials are bracing for healthcare battles in Washington to have a major impact on the state’s budget and programs. Activists and politicians are planning a showdown over whether or not to establish a single-payer healthcare system in the state. And prescription drug manufacturers are the target of a number of bills meant to target the rising costs of medication.

Sound familiar? Turns out the brewing healthcare battles in California in 2018 aren’t all that different from those from 2017.

Here’s a primer on the upcoming healthcare agenda in California:

  • California Legislature
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

With federal regulation rollbacks and a rise in data breaches, California lawmakers this year are looking for ways to protect consumers and their personal information. 

Some legislation under consideration could give people more notice and control over what data is collected, without having to pay for privacy or better services. Other bills could provide free credit freezes for consumers and require new privacy features for products that connect to the internet.

  • California Legislature
A new-home community in Anaheim in 2016
A new-home community in Anaheim in 2016 (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers aren’t wasting any time in tackling one of the most contentious issues in state housing politics this year.

On Jan. 11, the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee is set to hold a hearing on legislation that could lead to a dramatic expansion of rent control policies across the state. 

The debate over rent control could spill over onto the 2018 ballot, where Californians also could see proposals to expand or curtail the property tax restrictions ushered in 40 years ago by Proposition 13.

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