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675 posts
  • State government
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

The awkward dance between Gov. Jerry Brown and the federal government over the National Guard jerked back toward discord on Thursday, when Trump said he would refuse to pay for a new deployment of troops — just hours after his administration said otherwise.

And a few hours later, California officials said they had received written confirmation from the Pentagon that the mission would indeed be funded.

Trump had earlier called Brown’s decision to approve 400 troops for a mission focused on combating transnational crime and drug smuggling a “charade” in a tweet. “We need border security and action, not words!” the president wrote.

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  • California Legislature
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The California Assembly voted Thursday to add gay “conversion therapy” to the state’s list of deceptive business practices, following a debate that focused on the personal experiences of several lawmakers and hinted at potential lawsuits to come.

“It is harmful and it is unnecessary,” Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), the bill’s author and one of the Legislature’s most vocal LGBTQ members, said of the practice.

Low, who told Assembly members that he explored conversion therapy as a teenager and suffered depression over his sexual orientation, insisted that the bill would be limited to efforts that involve the exchange of money.

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Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Democrats State Convention in San Diego on Feb. 24.
Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Democrats State Convention in San Diego on Feb. 24. (Kent Nishimura)

California’s doctors are siding with Gavin Newsom in the governor’s race, even though they don’t see eye-to-eye on a defining issue of the campaign: single-payer healthcare.

The California Medical Assn., the state doctors lobby and a political heavyweight, announced its endorsement of the lieutenant governor on Thursday.

“Gavin is a lifelong champion for health care in California, and we know he will continue to fight for pragmatic solutions to our most crucial health care challenges, including working to achieve universal access and tackling our state’s physician shortage,” CMA President Theodore M. Mazer said in a statement.

Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at the 2018 California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego in February..
Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at the 2018 California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego in February.. (Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

A well-financed independent committee backing Antonio Villaraigosa’s bid to be California’s next governor released its first television ad Thursday, praising his record for working with Republicans and as a candidate for “all of California.”

The ad, which is to air statewide on broadcast and cable stations, is focused on Villaraigosa’s record as Assembly speaker and mayor of Los Angeles, including on education and a drop in crime while he was at City Hall.

“To move California forward, we need to help more Californians get ahead,” the ad says. “That’s why Antonio Villaraigosa brought both parties together to balance the state budget with record investments in public schools and new career training programs.”

(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown formally mobilized 400 California National Guard members Wednesday for transnational crime-fighting duties, thus preventing any effort by President Trump to have the troops focus on immigration enforcement on the Mexican border.

The governor announced that federal officials have agreed to fund the plan he announced last week — a mission to “combat criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers” in locations around California, including near the border. The order Brown signed makes clear that the troops will not be allowed to perform a broader set of duties as envisioned by Trump’s recent comments.

“California National Guard service members shall not engage in any direct law enforcement role nor enforce immigration laws, arrest people for immigration law violations, guard people taken into custody for alleged immigration violations, or support immigration law enforcement activities,” the order read.

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment

A California bill would prohibit employers from requiring workers to use private arbitration to settle disputes, a practice that critics say shields improper workplace conduct from public view.

The bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) would bar businesses from making employees, when they are hired, waive their future rights to take any harassment, discrimination or other claims to court.

“Arbitration can be a highly effective dispute resolution method when both parties can choose it freely, when both parties are equal,” Gonzalez Fletcher said at a news conference on Wednesday. “It is far less successful when the more powerful party forces the other to accept those terms, especially as a condition of employment.”

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), flanked by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) speak about DACA legislation
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), flanked by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) speak about DACA legislation (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jeff Denham says at least 240 of the 430 current House members have signed onto his resolution to hold votes on four immigration bills, and he hopes House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and President Trump are paying attention to the show of support.

But, the Republican from Turlock and his allies said Wednesday that they are not yet willing to commit to forcing Ryan’s hand through a little-used procedural move called a discharge petition; they acknowledged there’s no guarantee that all of 47 Republicans and 193 Democrats House co-signers will back them up if they try to force the issue.

“I’m sure that it is something that will be discussed in the coming weeks. You should not need a discharge petition. When you can show the overwhelming majority of the House, the support of it, you should not need a discharge petition, but it is something we would talk about in the future,” Denham said. “It is far too early to talk about next steps.”

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Gil Cisneros speaks during a forum at Fullerton College in January. In all, six Democrats are running to replace Rep. Ed Royce.
Gil Cisneros speaks during a forum at Fullerton College in January. In all, six Democrats are running to replace Rep. Ed Royce. (Kent Nishimura)

National Democrats are inching closer to weighing in on the race to replace retiring Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Wednesday added Gil Cisneros, a Democrat running for the Orange County seat, to its national “Red to Blue” program, which highlights particularly strong campaigns in crucial districts.

The only other California Democrat on the Red to Blue list is T.J. Cox, running against Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford).

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  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • U.S. Senate race
Tom Steyer, left, and California state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
Tom Steyer, left, and California state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). (Getty Images; Los Angeles Times)

Billionaire Democratic activist Tom Steyer is endorsing state Sen. Kevin de León in his insurgent challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and did not rule out funding an outside effort to boost De León’s chances.

“I think he’s the kind of young progressive that reflects California and would be a very strong advocate for our state nationally,” Steyer said in an interview on Tuesday, pointing to De León’s efforts on issues such as immigration, climate change and gun control while he was the state Senate leader. “I know him well and he’s a friend. We share a lot of values.”

Steyer, who flirted with running for the Senate seat, did not criticize Feinstein as he has in the past.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System building
The California Public Employees' Retirement System building (Max Whittaker / Getty Images)

As part of a shift toward less optimistic expectations for investment returns to pay for government worker pensions, board members of the California Public Employees Retirement System voted Tuesday to require an almost $6.3-billion payment from the state budget in the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

The action, which could receive final approval on Wednesday, reflects a gradually higher annual contribution to public employee pensions by the state and from local governments across California. In 2016, CalPERS approved a half-percentage point decrease in its official estimate of the long-term investment return on its $353.3-billion portfolio. That shift was designed to happen over several years, in hopes it would lessen the financial shock of shifting more of the costs onto government employers. The highest costs are also, in part, a reflection of increases in the size of the state’s payroll.

The state’s CalPERS payment will be about $450 million more than the total paid in the current fiscal year and more than double what it was only a decade ago.