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268 posts
  • California Legislature
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), left, talks earlier this year about a pending bill with Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills).
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), left, talks earlier this year about a pending bill with Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Defying pressure from legislative leadership, state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) refused Thursday to take a leave of absence until an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him is concluded early next year.

Mendoza has denied allegations by former employees that he treated three female aides inappropriately, inviting them to hotel stays and asking one to visit his home to work on her resume.

“I am very disappointed that certain Senate Rules Committee members are apparently asking me to take a leave of absence or resign before any investigation has even begun and without giving me an opportunity to defend myself,” Mendoza said in a statement. “This is contrary to the very concept of due process, which is a pillar of our American system of fairness and judicial prudence. These actions bypass any process in a rush to judgment.”

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(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.

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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
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.

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. 

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  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
State Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)
State Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) (Mark Boster)

California Senate Republican leader Patricia Bates is wading into the sexual harassment debate that has swept up the Capitol and is calling on her Democratic colleagues to allow whistleblowers to speak out by releasing them from non-disclosure agreements.

Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) wrote in a letter to the Democratic legislative leaders — Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) — that Senate Republicans are calling for the Legislature to allow victims or witnesses who may have signed such agreements to share their experiences publicly.

“This release from NDAs would empower victims of sexual harassment, create a new atmosphere for resolving sexual harassment or discrimination concerns, increase public awareness and transparency, and ensure that both the Senate and the Assembly fulfill their obligations to the public and their employees for providing a safe and welcoming workplace environment,” Bates wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 12.

Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary, last year.
Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary, last year. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California officials said Wednesday they plan to use email before the new year to send out some licenses to sell marijuana to speed up the transition to a regulated market. The licenses will not go into effect until Jan. 1.

Proposition 64, which legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use, required the state to begin issuing licenses by Jan. 1. Because that date is a state holiday, the bureau originally planned to begin sending them out on Jan. 2. That has changed.

“Much of the date discussion — Jan. 1 versus Jan. 2 — was based on whether or not we’d be able to be open on a state holiday,” said Alex Traverso, a bureau spokesman. “The solution to that issue was to issue licenses with an effective date of Jan. 1 since licenses will be issued electronically. That eliminates the need to have the office open on Jan. 1.”

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  • California in Congress
House Republicans hold a news conference after the House passed the GOP tax bill.
House Republicans hold a news conference after the House passed the GOP tax bill. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

As closed-door negotiations over the final tax bill come to an end, the head of the California Department of Finance is making a last-ditch effort to convince Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation to vote against the plan.

In a letter to the entire delegation Wednesday, Finance Department Director Michael Cohen detailed 10 issues in the current tax proposals about which the state is worried.

Some of Cohen’s concerns may be addressed in the deal that House and Senate leaders said they reached Wednesday morning. Details of the agreement are not yet public.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs an extension of California's cap-and-trade program in July.
Gov. Jerry Brown signs an extension of California's cap-and-trade program in July. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Although California’s cap-and-trade program was designed to combat climate change, a new analysis predicts it could also provide significant cash — as much as $8 billion in a decade’s time — for state and regional programs.

The report issued Tuesday by the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office projects a wide range of revenue generated by the sale of permits for companies to emit greenhouse gases beyond a state-ordered emissions cap. The most recent auction of those emission permits brought in more than $800 million.

The analysis warns that annual cap-and-trade revenue beyond 2020 is “highly uncertain,” and offers a possible range from $2 billion in 2018 to almost $7 billion in 2030 — the final year of the program under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed in July.