• California Legislature
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg works at his Senate Chambers desk. He faces an investigation into unwanted hugging
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg works at his Senate Chambers desk. He faces an investigation into unwanted hugging (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday he will cooperate with a state investigation into complaints from a former legislator that she was uncomfortable with his repeated hugs after she asked him not to touch her.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Thursday that a team of outside attorneys will investigate a complaint by former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman that Hertzberg has made her uncomfortable with hugs that were too close and lasted too long.

Hertzberg, well-known for hugging other lawmakers, said he supports having any allegations investigated by the two outside law firms.

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Maxine Waters is asking the Justice Department to look into a fake letter posted to Twitter by her Republican challenger that falsely indicated the congresswoman wants to resettle tens of thousand of refugees in her Los Angeles district.

The GOP candidate, Omar Navarro, posted the letter on what looks like official House of Representatives letterhead to Twitter on Monday. The letter, which purports to be from the congresswoman, says the congresswoman wants to bring refugees to her congressional district after the 2018 election “and perhaps even once I have secured the Speaker of the House position.”

Navarro accompanied the tweeted letter with a message: “According to this document, Maxine Waters wants more terrorists, like the one who bombed NYC, in California’s 43rd District. As Congressman of CA’s 43rd District, I will oppose such policies.”

  • State government
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California climate regulators on Thursday approved a detailed plan for the state to meet its 2030 carbon reduction goals.

The effort, known formally as the “scoping plan,” details the state’s strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels over the next 13 years as a way to fight climate change.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, called the plan “a visionary look at the longer term and deeper kinds of transformations that we’ll need to stabilize our climate.”

Handguns are displayed at the Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2016.
Handguns are displayed at the Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2016. (John Locher / Associated Press)

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has repeatedly failed to follow its own rules for issuing concealed weapon permits, the state auditor concluded in a report released Thursday.

L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell disputed some of the key findings of the audit, saying state officials misinterpreted the policy.

The department policy requires applicants to provide “convincing evidence” of a “clear and present danger to life or of great bodily harm” to get a license, but the audit found the department issued 24 licenses during the last few years without sufficient evidence. 

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Senate leader Kevin de León said Thursday he has “strongly suggested” that Sen. Tony Mendoza take a leave of absence until the completion of an investigation by outside attorneys into allegations that Mendoza sexually harassed three former aides.

“Given the severity of the allegations against Senator Mendoza I do not believe he can perform the duties in Sacramento right now while the investigation is being conducted,” De León told a packed news conference in his Capitol office. “I believe It’s the right thing to do, it’s the fair thing to do,” to take a leave, he said.

The Senate leader also said the outside attorneys have been asked to investigate complaints by former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman that Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) inappropriately hugged her on multiple occasions in a way that made her uncomfortable, even after she asked him to stop.

  • California Legislature
Demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store in New York on Dec. 7.
Demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store in New York on Dec. 7. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Moments after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to roll back net neutrality regulations, a state senator pledged to introduce legislation that would preserve open internet protections for consumers in California.

“Net neutrality is essential to our 21st century democracy, and we need to be sure that people can access websites and information freely and fairly,” Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said in a statement. “If the FCC is going to destroy net neutrality and create a system that favors certain websites just because they can pay more money, California must step in and ensure open internet access.”

The announcement of the proposal came shortly after the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality in an expected 3-2 party-line vote, with Republicans calling for an end to the utility-like oversight of internet service providers.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León discusses sexual misconduct issues at state Capitol. Dec. 14, 2017.

Posted by California Politics: John Myers on Thursday, December 14, 2017
  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment

Over the past decade, California lawmakers have worked to help curb sexual violence in the workplace and other spheres of public life. They have pushed college campuses to keep better track of incident reports, created whistleblower protections for military officers who file claims and established sexual harassment training for farmworkers and janitors.

Now, as more than 140 women have come forward in an open letter to denounce a "pervasive" culture of sexual harassment in the California Legislature, activists and employment lawyers say lawmakers have not held colleagues and staffers to the same standards demanded of those in other fields.

A political group that has brought professional political organizers into the campaign against Rep. Darrell Issa has received its most significant contributions to date — from actress Jane Fonda and other celebrities.

Fonda gave $100,000 to Flip the 49th! Neighbors in Action, which recently registered as a political committee to get Issa, R-Vista, out of office. Comedian Bill Maher gave $15,000 to the group, a rebuke of a politician who has twice appeared on his talk show. Former California Sen. Barbara Boxer gave $2,500, as did Academy Award recipient Leonardo DiCaprio. Actor Ted Danson gave $1,500.