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535 posts
  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), left, says paint companies need to offer more dollars to clean up lead paint.
Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), left, says paint companies need to offer more dollars to clean up lead paint. (Rich Pedroncelli)

Less than 72 hours before the deadline for voter initiatives to get on the ballot in November, major national paint companies and the California Legislature remain far apart on a deal that could jettison an initiative sponsored by the companies.

The initiative, which is expected to have gained enough signatures to go before voters in the fall, would overturn a recent state appeals court ruling that puts the companies, Sherwin-Williams and ConAgra, on the hook for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in lead paint cleanup in homes. In its place, the initiative would authorize a $2-billion loan so that taxpayers, not the companies, would pay to clean up lead and other environmental hazards.

The companies have long said they would prefer lawmakers pass legislation that would address their concerns about the court ruling. On Monday, the two companies released a proposed bill that would overturn the court ruling, require paint manufacturers to pay $500 million for lead cleanup over the next decade and shield the companies from liability. They said Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord) would write the bill.

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  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
Ling Ling Chang is sworn in to the California Senate by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, as Chang's husband, Andrew Wong, looks on.
Ling Ling Chang is sworn in to the California Senate by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, as Chang's husband, Andrew Wong, looks on. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The final chapter in the removal of an incumbent California state senator — the first since 1914 — played out in Sacramento on Monday, as Sen. Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) filled the sudden vacancy by taking the oath of office.

Chang was selected by voters in the state’s 29th Senate District to replace Josh Newman, a Fullerton Democrat who was recalled from office in the same election. Newman had narrowly defeated Chang in 2016 and was only two years into his four-year term when voters removed him on June 5.

Newman became the face of GOP anger over California’s new gas tax increase, passed by the Legislature last year to fund transportation projects. He was a key vote for the plan, and lost the recall election by 58% to 42%.

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
The statuary, "Columbus' Last Appeal to Queen Isabella," greets visitors to the rotunda at the Capitol building in Sacramento.
The statuary, "Columbus' Last Appeal to Queen Isabella," greets visitors to the rotunda at the Capitol building in Sacramento. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Employees of the California Legislature will have a new way to register workplace harassment complaints against lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists and the public under a revamped policy approved by a key panel on Monday.

The Joint Rules Committee, which governs both houses of the Legislature, approved recommendations that would significantly change how sexual harassment and other complaints are investigated and adjudicated. The overhaul was prompted by a string of sexual misconduct investigations that led to the resignation of several lawmakers.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), who chaired the committee that created the proposal, said the plan was a “radical departure” from how the Legislature had handled internal complaints in the past.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Courtesy of Harley Rouda for Congress)

Democrat Harley Rouda will challenge GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th Congressional District in November after his opponent Hans Keirstead conceded the second-place spot in the June 5 primary. 

Rouda and Keirstead, also a Democrat, had been locked in a nasty battle for the chance to take on 15-term incumbent Rohrabacher. Keirstead maintained a razor-thin lead as the votes were counted in the days after the election. But last week, Rouda, who is a real estate investor, overtook him and at last count was leading by 126 votes.

In a statement, Keirstead, a stem cell researcher, congratulated Rouda and pledged to “work in unison...to make sure Democrats and science prevail in November.”

  • Politics podcast

After weeks of multi-candidate battles, California’s election season has moved to one-on-one matchups. And there’s some new polling in the state’s biggest races.

On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we take a closer look at the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll’s numbers in the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

We also discuss the week’s news on illegal immigration, from a closely watched lawsuit against California’s so-called sanctuary laws to how state lawmakers are reacting to the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Egg production is a $1-billion industry in California, with some 15.5 million egg-laying hens producing nearly 5 billion eggs annually, mostly on family-owned farms.

New Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Alice Germond
New Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Alice Germond (Via Gov. Brown's office)

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appointed longtime Democratic Party activist Alice T. Germond as the chairwoman of the state’s troubled campaign finance watchdog panel.

Germond, 75, joins the state Fair Political Practices Commission to serve the remaining seven months of the term of former chair Jodi Remke, who resigned last month after part-time members voted to curtail some of her powers.

The commission voted this month to create subcommittees to weigh in on future policy changes and hiring decisions, and has also been discussing whether to seek legislation to make the chair position part time like the rest of the commissioners.

William Stephens may be best known — to the extent he’s remembered at all — for being California governor in 1917 when anarchists dynamited the governor’s mansion in Sacramento, blowing a small hole in a basement wall.

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Former state Sen. Rod Wright resigned in September 2014 after he was convicted of lying about living in his senate district.
Former state Sen. Rod Wright resigned in September 2014 after he was convicted of lying about living in his senate district. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Nearly four years after resigning upon his conviction in a voting fraud case, former state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) has registered as a Capitol lobbyist.

Wright lists his only client as lobbyist and political consultant Richard Ross, who in turn advocates for clients including the California Applicants’ Attorneys Assn., Mercury Public Affairs, the California Business Roundtable and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299.

Ross said in an email Thursday that he retained Wright as part of an attempt to get language included in a state budget trailer bill “that would have held [the University of California] a little more accountable for its contracting out processes that result in widening gender and racial pay disparities for service workers.”

President Trump holds up the executive order he signed to end family separations at the border.
President Trump holds up the executive order he signed to end family separations at the border. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

California is joining nine other states in filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration, alleging its family separation policy for immigrants in the country illegally violates due process, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Thursday.

The action was proposed a day after Trump signed an executive order requiring families detained under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration be kept together.

“Children belong with their families, not alone and fearful in metal cages,” Becerra said in a statement. “We are filing this lawsuit because ripping children from their parents is unlawful, wrong and heartless.”