After a week of fierce debate between opposing interests, the state Senate on Thursday approved a proposal to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion per year to pay for the repair of California’s pothole-ridden, decaying system of roads, highways and bridges.
The plan was forcefully pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a necessary response to 23 years without a gas tax increase, which has resulted in a backlog of $130 billion in repair and replacement projects throughout the state.
The governor and legislative leaders ended up giving nearly $1 billion to specific transportation projects in the districts of legislators who had been on the fence before voting for Senate Bill 1.
Amid all the self-reflection and infighting among Democrats about how they find their way out of the wilderness in Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris is emerging as a more nuanced political character than many on either side of the political line expected.
California’s freshman senator has embraced an approach somewhat at odds with her liberal image as she talked about the path back for Democrats and why she won’t unconditionally slam the door on working with Republican President Donald Trump.
Devin Nunes’ departure from his role as leader of the House investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election put a blot on the Tulare congressman’s record that the preceding drip-drip-drip of controversy had not.
For weeks, Nunes has been beset by criticism, especially after his startling trip to the White House to receive what he described as classified evidence indicating possible surveillance of some members of Donald Trump’s transition team. And for weeks, Nunes steadfastly denied he’d done anything wrong and pledged to remain at the helm of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation.
But Thursday, a new investigation — this time by the House Ethics Committee into whether Nunes had inappropriately released classified information — marked a more serious turn for the Republican congressman.
Two judges on the appeals court panel sided with state officials who argued that the program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, fell within their authority to regulate industry.
A third judge on the panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento agreed with the business groups who claimed that cap and trade functioned as an unconstitutional tax.
Ahead of a vote on legislation to raise taxes and fees to repair California's roads, state Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Gov. Brown on Thursday supported a new bill that would provide $500 million for pet projects in the district of state Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), including the extension of a Bay Area commuter rail line to Ceres and Merced.
Cannella’s vote is seen as crucial because at least one of the 27 Senate Democrats is expected to vote against Senate Bill 1, which would deprive the transportation proposal of the two-thirds vote needed for approval. The GOP lawmaker did not comment Thursday on whether he will vote for the plan, but had previously said he might if his requests, including the rail extension, were included.
Another $427 million was put in the budget for Riverside County transportation projects in districts of legislators including Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside) who had also been a holdout
California has joined 15 other state attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio challenging a law in that state that excludes healthcare providers that offer abortion services from participating in other publicly funded health programs, officials said Thursday.
The lawsuit challenges the exclusion of such providers from breast and cervical cancer prevention programs, according to California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.
“A woman, not politicians, should decide what is in her best interest when it comes to her health,” Becerra said in a statement a day after the brief was filed. “There is no rational basis for a state to deny women the right to choose among qualified healthcare providers.”
Democrat Kia Hamadanchy announced he'll run for the 45th Congressional District Thursday, becoming the third Democrat this week to announce plans to challenge Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) for the seat.
Hamadanchy said he decided to run the night the Trump administration's ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, was first announced. His Iranian-born mother asked him if they should sell their Orange County home and move to Canada.
Hamadanchy, 31, was a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) until about a month ago, and he enters the race with Brown's endorsement.