The final budget deal slated for a vote on Wednesday includes some of the top priorities for the California Legislative Women's Caucus, which successfully advocated for more child care funding and the removal of a controversial limit on welfare benefits.
"I'm very pleased," said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), the caucus chairwoman, after a news conference outside the Capitol. "Focusing on the needs of our families and our children in particular is so important in this state."
Once the budget is finalized, Jackson said lawmakers would continue to push to expand maternity and paternity leave for Californians.
A favorite bragging right of California politicians is how the state would fare were it to be its own country. On Tuesday, a new report concluded that it would be the sixth largest on the planet -- depending, though, on how one looks at it.
Data from the International Monetary Fund shows California's gross domestic product (GDP) at more than $2.4 trillion in 2015, the only state of its kind in a list that's reserved for nations.
California's spot on the list has fluctuated over the past decade, generally somewhere between the fifth and eighth largest world economies.
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) want to more than double the size of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area under legislation filed in both the House and Senate today.
The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act would add 193,000 acres stretching from the Simi Hills and Santa Susannas, the Verdugos and on to the San Gabriel Mountains.
"Back in the 70s, Congress had the foresight to know that L.A. was going to grow and preserved a lot of the open space that drew people to the region," Schiff said. "L.A. grew exponentially, and that park is one of the most heavily utilized in the nation. Now, we're at another crossroads."
The state’s new government accounting system, which has fallen years behind schedule and cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than originally anticipated, may not be as transparent as previously planned.
Legislation for the system, known as FI$Cal, originally specified several pieces of detailed data about state spending that would be available on a public website once the project was up and running.
The data included the dollar amount of any government expenditure, its purpose and which agency was handling the money.
“Today we begin to remove the dark cloud that has been over the capitol and my district,” Garcia said in an emailed statement. “I hope the judge does not use leniency in sentencing the Calderons. The constituents and elected officials in my community will continue to [bear] the burden of their wrongdoing and the loss of trust will be felt for generations to come, definitely longer than the maximum prison sentence either will receive under this deal.”
The surprise decision Monday by former state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) to plead guilty to mail fraud ended a "sad chapter" in the history of the Legislature in which four lawmakers were charged with criminal wrongdoing, the leader of the Senate said.
The plea agreement allows Calderon to skip a trial at which state lawmakers were expected to testify, including Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
“This closes a sad chapter in the Senate's history,” De León said in a statement Monday. “We move on."
From reading the names of those killed to the symbolic positioning of a rainbow flag, the symbol of gay pride, California state legislators added somber words in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting to their regular work sessions on Monday.
“Today I rise brokenhearted, angry and utterly disgusted,” said state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) in his remarks on the Senate floor.
Amid the intense debate over the sentence handed down to a former Stanford student after a campus sexual assault, two members of the California Legislature say the state's definition is out of date.
“We found a loophole in California’s criminal code and need to fix the law to send a strong message that we do not accept rape in California," said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens).
Garcia and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) introduced Monday a last-minute bill to broaden the state's definition of rape as beyond "an act of sexual intercourse." That would include "penetration" of any kind without consent.