A coalition including police officers and prosecutors on Monday proposed a California state initiative that would end early release of rapists and child traffickers and expand the number of crimes for which authorities could collect DNA samples from those convicted.
The ballot measure is sponsored by the California Public Safety Partnership, and would reverse some elements of Proposition 47, which was approved by voters in 2014 and reduced some crimes deemed nonviolent from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The proposed initiative would add 15 crimes to the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option, including child abuse, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.
It started with a dinner invitation from a former assemblyman more than twice her age. He had offered his services as a mentor, but his hand reaching for her knee under the table revealed other intentions. Then came the late-night phone calls and unexpected appearances at events she had to attend for her job in the Capitol.
Fresh out of college, Amy Brown did what she thought women were supposed to do in these situations — she reported him. The former assemblyman accused her of slander, an experience that left her so humiliated that she left Sacramento for a new job in San Jose.
“I immediately got the hell out of town,” Brown said. “I felt like the people — the person — I was relying on for advancement in my career was preying on me.”
So far this year, 80 challengers have reported raising money across California for the 2018 midterm elections, more than triple the number who had done so at this point in the 2016 election. Collectively, they've raised more than $14.9 million, and 70% of that has gone to the four Republican-held districts in Orange County that Democrats consider key to their chances.
In 2014, reeling from scandals that led to the suspension of three Democratic senators, California’s state Senate changed its policies to make it easier for employees, members and the public to sound the alarm about misconduct.
A Times analysis of those rule changes shows a lack of follow-through to make reporting complaints more accessible. And the lawmaker who worked on changes in the Senate’s operations after that scandal says more could have been done.
Then-Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) suggested at the time that the move would lead to “positive cultural change and strengthen the integrity of this great institution."
State and local taxes on marijuana could surpass 45% in some parts of California, jeopardizing efforts to bring all growers and sellers into a state-licensed market in January, according to the global credit ratings firm Fitch Ratings.
“High tax rates raise prices in legal markets, reinforcing the price advantage of black markets,” the firm said in a report Monday. “California’s black markets for cannabis were well established long before its voters legalized cannabis in November 2016 and are expected to dominate post-legalization production.”
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said Friday that the experience of a staffer who filed a complaint eight years ago against now-Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra illustrates why the Capitol culture must change.
Elise Flynn Gyore told The Times about her experience filing a complaint against Bocanegra, who was then a legislative staffer, after she said he groped her and followed her in a manner she found threatening at a 2009 after-work event in a Sacramento bar.
The Friday morning story in The Times was the first time she had spoken publicly of the incident and the complaint, which resulted in Bocanegra being disciplined.
As the debate over tax reform rages in Washington, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) is blaming Gov. Jerry Brown's policies for creating a situation where Californians pay high local and state taxes and claim them as a deduction of their federal taxes.
An estimated one in three Californians claim the State and Local Tax, or SALT, deduction, that would end under a tax plan proposed by the GOP.
"I recognize the role of the state and local tax deduction to reduce the tax burden on many Californians, but let's be clear: It has only become of such importance as a direct result of the tremendous weight that your misguided policies have put on California taxpayers," Issa wrote in a letter to Brown on Friday.