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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Is it too difficult for victims of sexual harassment to make their case in court? California legislators wrestled with that question Thursday at a hearing examining the legal threshold for harassment cases under state and federal law.

Prompted by the high rate of sexual harassment cases dismissed by judges, lawmakers focused on the standard that victims must prove harassment was “severe or pervasive” in cases alleging a hostile workplace.

“It's important because all efforts to enforce emanate from the legal standard that exists,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who chaired the panel.

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A BP logo at a gasoline station in Buckinghamshire, England.
A BP logo at a gasoline station in Buckinghamshire, England. (Matt Dunham / Associated Press)

BP Energy Co. has agreed to pay $102 million to California to settle claims that it overcharged the state for natural gas purchased over a decade ending in August 2012, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced Thursday.

The settlement of a lawsuit against the firm includes substantial penalties, but Becerra would not say how much the state was actually overcharged on natural gas used by the state and local governments to heat classrooms and public offices.

“Cheating the state of California is not a good business strategy,” Becerra told reporters at his Sacramento office. “The last thing that any of us needs is to be ripped off by a company that does business with your great state and your government.”

A BP logo at a gasoline station in Buckinghamshire, England.
A BP logo at a gasoline station in Buckinghamshire, England. (Matt Dunham / Associated Press)

BP Energy Co. has agreed to pay $102 million to California to settle claims that it overcharged the state for natural gas purchased over a decade ending in August 2012, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced Thursday.

The settlement of a lawsuit against the firm includes substantial penalties, but Becerra would not say how much the state was actually overcharged on natural gas used by the state and local governments to heat classrooms and public offices.

“Cheating the state of California is not a good business strategy,” Becerra told reporters at his Sacramento office. “The last thing that any of us needs is to be ripped off by a company that does business with your great state and your government.”

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Before taking the stage with Patt Morrison, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke about California.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is, not surprisingly, a supporter of the Golden State.

“I think California sets the future. California is the future in almost everything we’ve ever done,” he said backstage Wednesday night at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

Before sitting down with Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison as part of the paper’s Ideas Exchange series, Biden spoke briefly about the resilience of Californians in the aftermath of wildfires and mudslides, calling it a “a heavy price to pay in such a beautiful place.”