A casino operator has hired former Rep. Gary Condit's firm to lobby the state Legislature at a time when the legislative panel overseeing gambling issues is chaired by Condit’s son-in-law.
Condit is a founder of BBC Public Affairs, which a state filing shows was hired Aug. 2 by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Temecula to lobby in Sacramento on “utility/energy” issues. The hire came just before Condit's son-in-law, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), proposed changes to his bill legalizing Internet poker in California in a way that specifically addressed concerns by Pechanga.
A Pechanga representative, Jacob Mejia, said there is no relationship between the hiring of BBC and the tribe’s efforts to get Gray to change his bill. He said the tribe hired one of Condit's partners -- Kelly Boyd -- before she joined the former congressman in starting a new lobbying firm.
Under fire over domestic violence allegations and questions about taking a medical leave of absence from the Legislature, Assemblyman Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) indicated Friday that he was no longer actively campaigning for a U.S. House seat against Democratic Rep. Grace Napolitano.
"Because of the damage, I don't have the fight in me to continue forward in a congressional run," Hernández told reporters after returning to work Friday in Sacramento following more than two weeks on leave.
The assemblyman, who was stripped of his committee assignments after a judge issued a domestic violence restraining order against him, said he has been suffering from blood pressure issues but is back for the rest of the session. He went on medical leave on Aug. 1, providing a physician’s note that did not explain any conditions, and continued to take his pay.
California's motorcyclists could soon have clear rules on lane splitting after the state on Friday became the first in the nation to formally legalize the practice.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) that defines the practice and authorizes the California Highway Patrol to establish rules for motorcyclists on how to do it safely.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a retired state highway patrol sergeant who co-wrote the bill, called the new law a "groundbreaking step."
An effort led by Gov. Jerry Brown to streamline housing production for developments that include units for low-income residents appears to be finished for the year, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said.
"Currently, there are no further negotiations on housing," spokesman Kevin Liao said Thursday.
Rendon's comments, which were first reported by the Sacramento Bee, likely provide the death knell to the governor's effort to tackle the state's spiraling housing costs by making it easier to build. Brown's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A controversial bill that would decriminalize prostitution for minors squeezed out of the California Assembly on Thursday and is now headed back to the Senate for a final vote.
SB 1322, authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would make the crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution misdemeanors inapplicable to children younger than 18. It also would allow law enforcement to take sexually exploited children into temporary custody if leaving them unattended would pose an immediate threat to their health or safety.
Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday visited the Salton Sea and tried to put pressure on state and federal agencies to use more of their resources on saving it.
"This is a crisis waiting to happen, and it is the time for firm leadership by every single stakeholder," she told reporters after touring a restoration project at Red Hill Marina, according to a transcript.
The Salton Sea was created in 1905 when the Colorado River broke through a silt-laden canal and poured into a basin near Brawley known as the Salton Sink. It grew into a 360-square-mile lake straddling Riverside and Imperial counties, but it has been shrinking, causing record-high salinity levels and animal die-offs.
Cigarette smoking would be banned within 250 feet of all youth sports events in California under legislation approved Thursday by the state Assembly.
Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who is a pediatrician, cited the health risk of secondhand smoke to young people when he introduced the bill. It was proposed by an eighth-grade class at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Elementary School in Elk Grove.
“Youth sports is about developing good and healthy habits and smoking is the exact opposite of that,” Pan said after the vote on the bill, which is going back to the Senate for a final vote on amendments. The ban, which includes the use of electronic cigarettes, would go into effect next year.