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(Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images)

As more divorcing couples fight over who gets to keep their pets, a new law will allow judges to treat those conflicts more like child custody battles.

In the past, courts have generally assigned pets to spouses based on who paid for or adopted them. Under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown, courts would be allowed to make custody decisions based on who walks a dog, takes a cat to the vet or grooms a horse. Courts will also be authorized to order one spouse to provide food, shelter and medical care for a pet before a final ruling.

“There is nothing in statute that states a pet must be treated any differently than any other type of property we own,” said Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), the bill’s author. “However, as a proud parent of a rescued dog, I know that owners view their pets as more than just property. They become a part of our family, and their well-being should be a consideration during divorce proceedings.”

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  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
Supporters of rent control demonstrate at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting Sept. 11.
Supporters of rent control demonstrate at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting Sept. 11. (Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles-area landlord is telling tenants that the company will cancel a new rent increase if a California rent control ballot measure fails in November, according to a letter obtained by a tenants activist.

The letter informs tenants of an apartment complex that their rents are increasing and cites Proposition 10, an initiative that would allow cities and counties to expand rent control, as the cause.

“What this means is that although your don’t want higher rent and we did not plan on charging you higher rent, we may lose our ability to raise rents in the future as this becomes another government control on rents,” the Aug. 24 letter said. “Therefore, in preparation for the passage of this ballot initiative we must pass along a rent increase today.”

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A new campaign ad by Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox attacks Democratic rival Gavin Newsom for a litany of California’s ills, including higher rents, gas prices and the rising cost of other day-to-day basic expenses.

“Politicians like Gavin Newsom talk about change, but they’ve done nothing. Sky-high gas and food prices, homelessness,” the narrator of the 30-second ad says. “Gavin Newsom, it happened on your watch.”

The ad begins airing statewide Friday on cable and digital platforms at a cost of $2 million for the first week, Cox campaign spokesman Matt Shupe said.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the bill.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the bill. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday vetoed legislation that would allow all Californians to serve on state and local boards and commissions regardless of immigration status. 

In a short veto message, Brown said he believed “existing law — which requires citizenship for these forms of public service — is the better path.”

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) said they introduced the legislation to address the state’s discriminatory history amid a broader legal battle between California Democrats and the Trump administration over immigration policy.

ICE agents detain a suspect inside Fresno County Superior Court in July.
ICE agents detain a suspect inside Fresno County Superior Court in July. (Pablo Lopez / Fresno Bee)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday vetoed legislation that would have barred any civil arrests at state courthouses, as judges have raised concerns over the presence of federal immigration agents in courtrooms across the country.

In his veto message, Brown said he supported the underlying intent of the measure, which was introduced to protect immigrants, but expressed concerns it could have unintended consequences. He also pointed to the state’s so-called sanctuary law, which tasks the California attorney general with developing policies by October to help curb immigration enforcement at courthouses and other public institutions. 

“I believe the prudent path is to allow for that guidance to be released before enacting new laws in this area,” Brown said. 

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Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter’s legal woes don’t seem to be having the devastating effect on his reelection chances that Democrats had hoped.

Andrew Grant had just finished an afternoon of door-knocking in his uphill bid for Congress when he decided to drop by the Muslim community center in Folsom.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

With less than six weeks to go before election day, a ballot initiative to expand rent control in California is falling far short of passage, according to a new poll.

Proposition 10, which would allow cities and counties across the state to implement robust new rent stabilization efforts, has support from 36% of likely voters, with 48% opposed and 16% undecided, a poll released Wednesday from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California said.

Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president and pollster, said proponents of the initiative have significant ground to make up.

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  • Governor's race
Gubernatorial candidates John Cox, left, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom before a debate at UCLA in January.
Gubernatorial candidates John Cox, left, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom before a debate at UCLA in January. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Voter support for Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox rose enough over the summer to cut front-runner Democrat Gavin Newsom’s lead in half, according to a new poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Newsom, California’s two-term lieutenant governor, still remains solidly ahead in the race, but Cox managed to pick up more support from independents and a smidgen of Democrats since July, the survey showed.

Those gains for Cox were enough to cut Newsom’s lead to 12 percentage points, compared with 24 percentage points in July.

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A slight majority of California voters oppose Proposition 6, the November ballot measure that would repeal increases to the state gas tax and vehicle registration fees to pay for improvements to roads, bridges and mass transit, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The statewide survey found that 52% of likely voters who were read the ballot title and label said they would vote against the initiative, 39% would vote in favor of the measure and 8% are undecided, said the nonpartisan research group headquartered in San Francisco.

Half of Republican voters said they would vote for the measure, while it garnered support from 42% of independents and 33% of Democrats, the survey said.