535 posts
Migrant families wait for immigration processing at a bus station in McAllen, Texas.
Migrant families wait for immigration processing at a bus station in McAllen, Texas. (Larry W. Smith / EPA/Shutterstock)

California officials asked the Trump administration on Wednesday to release documents indicating whether officials considered the potential psychological impact of the federal “zero tolerance” policy on children separated from their immigrant parents after crossing the border.

State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Justice, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security departments requesting all records involving the agencies’ consideration of the separation policy’s effects on the mental and physical state of children.

Becerra said he took the action in response to information, detailed at a congressional hearing last week, indicating administration officials were made aware that the separation policy could traumatize children.

  • California Legislature
(Los Angeles County)

Six months after Tony Mendoza resigned his state Senate seat following allegations of sexual harassment, it looks likely that the seat will be filled by another Democrat – for the next three months.

In a special election held Tuesday for Senate District 32, Democratic Montebello Mayor Vanessa Delgado is leading with 52% over Republican attorney Rita Topalian, who has close to 48% with 100% of precincts reporting.

The term goes through the end of November, but Delgado would have only three weeks to make her voice heard, as the Legislature adjourns on Aug. 31.

Jennifer Newsom, Jane Fonda, and Juana Melara discuss workers' rights.
Jennifer Newsom, Jane Fonda, and Juana Melara discuss workers' rights. (Mini Racker / Los Angeles Times)

Actress Jane Fonda joined  Time Magazine “Silence Breakers” Juana Melara and Sandra Pezqueda for a panel discussion on Tuesday in Sacramento to support AB 3080, a bill intended to help victims of on-the-job harassment and discrimination.

The proposal would forbid employers from forcing employees to sign arbitration contracts to get or keep a job. Such contracts require workers to settle disputes out of court, which the bill’s supporters say disadvantages workers and hides wrongdoing.

“You don’t get a sense of pattern,” Fonda said, pointing out that arbitration could prevent the public from learning about serial offenders.

  • State government
California Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom poses with Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU Local 2015, at Greater Zion Church in Compton on June 3.
California Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom poses with Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU Local 2015, at Greater Zion Church in Compton on June 3. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

California Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a public employee union leader and his state budget director on Monday to serve as University of California regents, while also adding the state’s community colleges board president and a longtime education advocate to round out vacancies on the panel.

Laphonza Butler, who was president of the Service Employees International Union’s state council when Brown agreed to a union-backed effort to raise California’s minimum wage in 2016, was appointed to fill one of four vacancies on the Board of Regents. Butler has led the SEIU chapter for long-term care workers since 2010, and remains one of organized labor’s most visible leaders in California.

The governor also appointed Michael Cohen, director of the California Department of Finance and his top budget advisor, as a regent. Two others were chosen to serve on the panel for 12-year terms: Cecilia Estolano, the president of the California Community College Board of Governors, and Rich Leib, a member of the Solana Beach School District Board of Education.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election

Republican candidate for governor John Cox launched his first campaign ad for the general election Monday, blaming Democratic rival Gavin Newsom and California’s “political class” for a series of problems including water restrictions and the state’s high poverty rates.

In the two-minute digital ad, which will run on social media, Cox looks into the camera and tells viewers he’s the political outsider who can fix California’s ills. That’s been the theme of the Cox campaign since he announced his bid for governor in early 2017.

“This election is about the status quo versus change,” Cox says in the ad. “Gavin Newsom stands with the lobbyists and the corrupt insiders. It’s about time someone stands with the Californians he’s forgotten.”

  • State government
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced Thursday that the state will join a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration to block the release of blueprints for 3-D-printed guns.

The announcement came weeks after Cody Wilson, known as the inventor of the 3-D-printed gun and founder of digital firearm blueprint developer Defense Distributed, reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department allowing him to publish the files online.

The suit, led by Washington state, was filed early this week. In addition to California, seven other states and the District of Columbia have signed on. On Tuesday, a Seattle federal judge issued an order temporarily preventing the public from accessing the blueprints. 

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox with Carl DeMaio, left, of Reform California and Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.
GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox with Carl DeMaio, left, of Reform California and Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Supporters of an effort to repeal California’s fuel tax increase are looking for someone to fill the tank of their campaign bank account as new reports show the effort to pass Proposition 6 has spent most of the money it has raised.

State campaign reports filed on Tuesday show most of the $2.9 million that Proposition 6 supporters have collected this year has already been spent, leaving little for the fall campaign season. Opponents of the repeal, a coalition of transportation advocates, have raised more and spent much less.

Proposition 6 seeks to repeal the $52-billion transportation law enacted last year that finances a variety of road and highway repair projects. The law created additional taxes on gas and diesel sales as well as a new annual vehicle registration fee. Critics of the law quickly drafted a ballot measure to abolish the law and raised money from state Republican leaders to gather the signatures necessary for the proposition to qualify for the November ballot.

  • State government
  • California Legislature
State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento)
State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A pair of anti-vaccine activists recently filed a lawsuit against a state senator who authored a controversial vaccine law for blocking the activists on Twitter, arguing that it limited their 1st Amendment rights.

The suit pointed to a recent court decision that deemed President Trump’s Twitter page a public forum and ruled that he must unblock users he had previously blocked. Although Trump unblocked the plaintiffs in that case, he is appealing the decision.

Along with forcing state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) to unblock them, the activists are seeking attorney’s fees and financial relief as “deemed appropriate.”

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown offered a high-stakes assessment on Wednesday of fears that California’s utilities might buckle under the weight of billions of dollars in fire-related payments. And he urged lawmakers to take action to revamp liability law when they return to work next week.

“There is concern that we could lose our utilities,” Brown said of possible investor-owned utility company bankruptcies during a news conference at an emergency operations headquarters in Sacramento. “And if we do that, our whole program, of trying to deal with renewable energy and mitigate climate change, would be adversely affected.”

The governor offered a draft proposal to lawmakers last week that would loosen the strict liability that utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric Co. now bear following fires like the deadly blazes that swept through Napa and Sonoma counties last year.

  • California Legislature
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Legislative officials said Wednesday that they had closed the case on sexual harassment complaints against a former high-ranking Assembly staff member, six months after disclosing earlier allegations against him and other top staffers.

The investigation into the conduct of Pedro Reyes, who left his job last December as chief consultant to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, concluded he had violated sexual harassment policy. The documents, which were redacted to keep his accuser’s identity private, outlined allegations that Reyes had “forcibly kissed her on the lips” and had given her unwelcome hugs over a period of time spanning more than a year.

“Although you are no longer an Assembly employee, you were subject to the provisions of the Assembly’s policy when you were working for the Assembly,” said the July 12 letter signed by Debra Gravert, the Assembly’s chief administrative officer.